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Minocqua sees drops in overall levy, tax rate, budget

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Town of Minocqua
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Minocqua property owners will be getting their tax bill in a couple of weeks, highlighted by a lower tax rate for town operations as approved by the town electorate and town board recently

The real estate tax bill includes levies from these taxing jurisdictions: town, county, schools and the State of Wisconsin and, if applicable, a sanitary district.

Included is Minocqua’s tax rate of $2.13 per $1,000 local assessed valuation, down from $2.62 of the prior year. To pay for the town’ operations, including fire, police and public works departments, the town will levy $3,891,890, some $67,000 below the prior year’s $3,958,854 levy.

On a home valued at $100,000 the levy for town purposes would be $213.

Also approved at the Nov. 19 annual meeting were levies of $163,118 for the Lakeland Sanitary District (LSD) and $6,130 for the Bear Lake Sanitary District.

The town board tapped the surplus fund for $108,658 to balance the proposed 2021 budget of $5,598,749. That’s also down from the 2020 budget of $5,748,480.

The town underwent reassessment this year after dropping last year to 88 percent of full valuation. The town’s valuation is leapfrogging toward the $2 billion mark. It now stands at $1,824,796,820, up from $1,508,101,250 the year prior.

With some minor variations along the way, the 2021 projected department outlays are comparable to 2020 line items. Under general administration (town office employees, etc.) the 2021 budget is for $193,049 compared with $189,870 the current year. The town budgeted $1.85 million for public safety purposes (fire and police departments and dispatch center). That’s up about $100,000 from the 2020 budget.

There’s a new pickup truck fire department at a cost of about $40,000, as well as a new squad car for the police department. Additional boat patrol hours next summer will require $20,000, up from the current outlay of about $13,000.

The public works department is budgeted at about $1.59 million for 2021, up about $40,000 from this year. That department includes roads and streets, parks, and shop. The board added $30,000 for a future truck for public works.

The library’s 2021 budget of $495,750 is down about $5,000 from the 2020 budget. The town is also allocating $15,000 for a broadband project. Contributions for Winter Park, snowmobile trails, Aqua Bowl, Ice Arena, senior center, lake protection entities and public boat landings remain flat at $211,000.

With the exception of the state, all local property-taxing entities have set their tax levies. They include (2019 levies in parentheses) Oneida County -- $4,019,850 ($3,929,336); Lakeland Union High School -- $3,376,360 ($3,125,023); Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk Elementary School -- $5,132,285 ($4,981,146) and Nicolet VTAE District -- $516,682 ($649,708).

Currently, without the state tax levy or state tax credits factored in, the tax rate is $9.28 per $1,000 of local assessed valuation for Minocqua residents without a sanitary district levy. For Minocqua residents within the LSD it’s $9.70; for Bear Lake it’s $9.55. Last year’s net tax rate (without sanitary district) was $10.05.

The annual meeting lasted just 12 minutes, mainly taken up by Jocelyn Seeliger of Peterson Metz, the town accounting firm, reviewing the department’s expenditures and other data.

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