By Teri Knight, News Director
In a 4-to-2 vote, the Northfield City Council approved a 9.4% tax levy, 2.5% above last year. Mayor Rhonda Pownell, citing the need for more dollars for parks and streets, voted no. Councilor David DeLong voted it down as he thinks it should have been lower. Pownell commented on KYMN, “For this public hearing on the budget there were no community members there in the audience, no one there to speak to us. We did hear from somebody early that expressed some concern.” That resident said his taxes overall have gone up 15.2%. He told the council they use residents “like a credit card” and added, “how about if we put some of these pet projects on hold for a while. This is absolutely ridiculous. How can anybody living on a fixed income afford
this?” While that increase includes the county, the school district, and his home valuation, there was plenty of murmuring agreement in the crowd there for the Mill & Overlay project. Another man spoke at the open mic [portion of the meeting], saying his dad told him, “Eventually they tax you off of your homestead and that’s kind of creeping up on us guys with fixed income.” Council had set the preliminary levy at 11.2%, the highest in years. City Administrator Ben Martig pointed out, “Certainly we’ve got some investments we’re making. We did add some new staff in some key areas, the new sergeant position is partly included in that for our police department.” This year they hired in the Streets and Parks department and Communications. Some council members have also sought to give employees 12 weeks paid parental leave. That has not happened yet. Martig added that, on average, the 9.4% is about $11 a month, unless the value of your home stayed the same, it would be closer to $3 a month. Pownell gave the breakdown of your property tax statement, “34% goes to the City, 24% goes to the County and 42% to the School District.” Public Safety and Streets and Parks make up about half the $10.2 million city budget. 2020 Budget Update 12.3.19 Nov FINAL
TZD stats for 1st night of Enhanced DWI wave
Northfield Police Sgt. Kevin Tussing gave numbers for the first night of the Enhanced DUI enforcement for the five local agencies covering Rice County. There were just DUIs in Rice County, none in Northfield or Dundas. One person, however, had nearly three times the legal limit at .23 blood alcohol content; this person also had an open bottle. Tussing noted that five officers traveled a total of 627 miles, made 59 traffic stops, 5 physical arrests, 163 citations and 54 warnings. There were also two marijuana citations.
Utility company hits a service line
Around 3:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon, NAFRS Capt. Sean Simonson said firefighters responded to a home on Nelson Court where a private utility company working on underground powerline replacement hit a service line. Xcel Energy was on-site when responders arrived. Simonson said firefighters assisted and stayed until the area was secure. Only one resident was affected.
Ring the Bell or drop some cash
It’s a perfect time to sign up to Ring the Bell! The Rice County Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign is underway and there are still plenty of slots to fill. This is near and dear to Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn’s heart. He is on the Board of Directors. He said last year they were short of money and were unable to help anyone out for the last two months of the fiscal year. Dunn said they need about $50,000 a year to help folks out. He asked folks to be generous. They’ll take your change, your loose cash, “we’ll take a $20, we’ll take a $50 or a check, whatever you can.” 82% of the money raised stays in Rice County. Get your family, friends, church groups together and have fun ringing the bell. All the details and a link are HERE.