By Craig Moorhead
The Caledonia Argus
On December 23, the Caledonia City Council certified their 2020 property tax levy, raising the total amount 8.0 percent higher than dollars collected in 2019. The total payable levy will be $926,931, which is $68,662 higher than in 2019. It’s the largest increase in recent years, matching the proposed 2020 levy set in September, 2019.
Since 2015, the levy has increased by 3, 2, 0, 3 and 5.5 percent. Those relatively minor amounts (compared to other local municipalities) have helped to maintain some of the lowest rates per capita seen regionally for Caledonia property owners. City of Caledonia taxpayers are expected to be charged a total amount equivalent to $328 per resident in 2020.
Here’s a comparison: Based on 2018 population figures, the certified levy which was placed on municipal tax rolls within Houston County (in 2019) ranged from a low of $259 per capita in Brownsville, to a high of $561 in La Crescent. Taking a somewhat wider view, only Brownsville and St. Charles levied for less per person than Caledonia, while the City of Lanesboro taxed at $844 per capita.
The council also performed a yearly review of the city’s Capital Improvement Plan, which now covers 2020 – 2024. According to the document, the largest projects that the city will need to fund in the next couple of years are upgrades to - or the replacement of - Caledonia’s wastewater treatment plant, plus an additional production well.
The council accepted a list of 2020 committee assignments for members to oversee general government, personnel, public safety, fire and ambulance, culture/recreation, economic development and enterprise funds. Council members also approved continued City of Caledonia positions for the coming year (such as the EDA Board and Library Board), as well. On a related note, the consent agenda included the appointment of Sue Berg, Lorrie Schieber, and councilman Paul Fisch to the Library Board, and Matt Schuldt to the EDA Board. The consent vote also accepted the resignation of Kayla Connor as part-time liquor store clerk.
Separate attorneys were assigned to represent the City of Caledonia in criminal, civil, and personnel matters. Bolton & Menk, Inc. will serve as official city engineer. Clerk/administrator Adam Swann will serve as EDA director. The official depository for the City of Caledonia will be Merchants Bank. The official newspaper will be the Caledonia Argus.