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Minocqua referendum question asks voters if the town should raise levy limits

Erin Gottsacker

On April 2nd, Minocqua is going to referendum to increase their levy.

Local elections are quickly approaching and voters in the town of Minocqua will see areferendum question on their ballot on April 2nd.

The town wants to raise their levy, something that hasn’t happened since 2006 when the state froze levies with the exception of net new growth.

This is Billy Fried, Minocqua Town Board Supervisor.

“Yet the cost of goods and labor has skyrocketed since 2006. The built-in increase that the state does allow like net new construction is never more than about a percent. Just the cost of the quad axle trucks to maintain the roads, police cars, fire trucks, you can do the research and just see how the cost of those things have gone up much more,” said Fried.

As a town with many roads to maintain, inflation has posed a particular issue for Minocqua.

“It has over 200 miles of roads. And 170 to 180 of those are paved. Paving the one mile of road in 2006 was under $100,000. Currently, we're getting bids on road projects that exceed $300,000 per mile,” he said.

The Minocqua Town Board of Supervisors unanimously support raising the levy limits by $950,000 for each fiscal year going forward.

“Before the town of Minocqua came to the taxpayers, the town chairman and the town board exhausted opportunities for other revenue sources, such as PRAT tax, Premier Resort Area Tax that you see other communities or cities using,” said Fried.

“It will allow the town to maintain its services, fire, police, as it's been able to do throughout the years. It also allow us to reinstate some money into areas we have pulled from to stay away from the referendum over years. For example, crack sealing and potholes,” he said.

Fried addressed misconceptions common in listening sessions.

One was that each year, the town’s levy limit would increase by another $950,000, increasing their budget dramatically.

“That is not the case. So one time increase in our spending limit, and then refreezes our spending limit at that number moving forward,” he explained.

Minocqua is simultaneously considering purchasing properties for future infrastructure, but that’s separate to the upcoming referendum.

“The timing is not good. And it has added to some confusion in relationship to the referendum. We felt that we could not ignore those opportunities and had to at least bring those forward to see if there was an interest by the townspeople to take advantage of these opportunities as well,” he said.

Referendum money would not be used to purchase these properties.

Hannah Davis-Reid is a WXPR Reporter.
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