By Craig Moorhead
The Caledonia Argus
The Caledonia City Council approved a 6.5% increase in their 2022 proposed levy on Monday, Sept. 27. The preliminary levy basically puts a cap on the final (certified) levy, which must be set before the end of the year. That (payable) amount can be set lower, but not higher than the preliminary levy.
Last year, council members set their proposed levy 9.5% higher than the year before, then trimmed the increase to 7.5% before certifying taxes payable in 2021. A 6.5% bump would raise the levy to approximately $1,061,220, adding $64,769 more to city coffers than the amount collected this year.
If the 6.5% levy increase is certified, Caledonia’s per capita amount would increase to $374, which is still one of the lowest in the region. Per capita figures for 2021 were $413 for the City of Eitzen, $539 for the City of Houston, $539 for the City of Hokah, and $600 for the City of La Crescent.
Looking farther out, the City of Preston levied $782 per capita, and the City of Lanesboro taxed at a per capita rate of $933. Locally, only the City of Brownsville levied less than Caledonia in 2021, averaging $242 per resident.
The council also reviewed the city’s Capital Improvement Plan for 2022-2026. That document lists a wide variety of potential projects, but is used for planning purposes only. Simply listing a project does not authorize it’s completion.
Some projects which could take place relatively soon include new front windows for the city auditorium, new front doors for that building, and the construction of a new tennis court/pickleball court at Veterans Park. But those projects would still require council approval.
Council members voted to place unpaid utility charges for two properties on tax assessment rolls (payable in 2022). A property at 505 N. Badger Street owes $7,416 in utility charges, the resolution states, while another at 425 N. Badger Street owes $22,845.
The council also discussed the Caledonia library levy and operations during the session, but noted that by statute, the library board is responsible for that facility.
Budgetary concerns were a part of those talks, and councilman Bob Klug (who represents the council on the library board) said he would discuss the concerns that council members discussed with other library board members and bring back a report to a future council meeting.
In other news, the City of Caledonia is planning a ribbon cutting ceremony for the nearly-finished pocket park at 119 South Kingston Street on Oct. 16, 2021, at 2 p.m.