The Randall City Council approved a 2% increase to the city’s 2022 property tax levy, Wednesday.
City Manager Matt Pantzke said the increase will equal $3,289 more than what the city levied in 2021. Randall’s total levy amount in 2022 will be $167,760, up from $164,471. In September, the Council approved a preliminary increase of 5%, which would have been $4,934 more than what was eventually approved.
The preliminary levy sets a ceiling for how high the Council can go on what it eventually passes as a final amount.
“We can go up to 5%, but during the budget process we felt that a 2% increase would maintain the city for the next year,” said Mayor Danny Noss. “I think that’s what we’re going to look at approving tonight, a 2% increase.”
Included in that is a raise in benefit pay to full-time city employees. On a separate vote, the Council approved a raise from $3.46 to $3.75 per hour in 2022. Pantzke said the city does not offer health insurance for full-time employees, so they instead receive an hourly benefit pay.
During a truth in taxation hearing prior to the regular meeting, Harry Miller spoke to the Council about the raise in valuation on his property.
“I’m not here to tear the system apart or your budget apart or anything like that,” Miller said. “I know this is not the Assessor’s Office. I’m just going to point out to the city, for what it’s worth, my valuation went from $6,000 to $86,000.”
During the past year, Miller split what was a 10-acre parcel into two five-acre parcels. He also included a 600-square-foot improvement — specifically, a structure.
He said, per square foot, that’s about $15 a square foot higher than the valuation placed on new construction. The structure is 90 years old, Miller said.
A representative from the Morrison County Assessor’s Office had visited his property, but Miller said he wasn’t home at the time and didn’t know what all they looked at while they were there.
“I just want to make the city is aware of what happened there,” Miller said.
Miller said, when the same structure was on Lake Alec, it was valued at $40,000.
Pantzke looked up Miller’s property on Beacon during the meeting. He said the land was valued at $36,200, with the improvement set at $50,100. The year before the vacant lot was valued at $6,500.
Pantzke and Noss both urged Miller to come to the city’s Board of Equalization meeting in April, at which time he would be able to question his valuation with representatives from the Morrison County Land Services Office. In the meantime, Pantzke said he could speak with the county.
“We don’t really have any control over anything other than asking you to come back in April when they’re here,” Noss said.
He thanked Miller for coming forward and ensuring the city was aware of the issue. He said it is important for citizens to keep the Council informed on such issues.
“It’s nice to know this in case somebody else would show up with something like that happening, too,” Noss said. “Then we know it could be a bigger issue.”
Randall City Council Briefs:
In other business Wednesday, the Randall City Council:
• Accepted a $250 donation from the Flensburg American Legion Post 136 for the Randall Food Pantry;
• Approved the annual $750 donation the city makes to the Initiative Foundation;
• Designated Bingo Park as the official polling place for the city of Randall;
• Approved a resolution to accept $2,162.30 in federal American Recovery Plan funding. That is half of what the city will receive, with the other half coming in 2022;
• Agreed to contract with Bayerl Water Resources of Alexandria to draft a wellhead protection plan at a cost of $8,450;
• Approved a recommendation from the city’s insurance agent to not waive tort liability limits;
• Voted to change the regular City Council meetings to the second Wednesday of each month, effective January 2022; and
• Heard a report from City Manager Matt Pantzke informing them that the Randall Municipal Liquor Store’s revenue in 2021 was $98,000 “in the black” through November.
“I just want to say, ‘Thank you,’ to the City Council, ‘Thank you’ to the city staff for everything you’ve done this year to represent the city of Randall and keep us going at a good rate like we are,” said Mayor Danny Noss. “It takes everybody. It takes the Council; it takes the city staff, but I think we’ve come through this year doing very well. Hopefully we continue to maintain that.”
The next meeting of the Randall City Council is at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, at Randall City Hall.