Waconia sets 2014 Preliminary Levy

As it does every September, the Waconia City Council adopted the city’s preliminary levy for next year during its meeting on Monday, Sept. 3. The total 2014 Preliminary Levy is $5,466,821, which is the maximum amount that can be levied once it is approved by the city council. The figure may decrease but it cannot increase before it is finalized in December.
The total 2014 Preliminary Levy represents an 8 percent increase from the total 2013 levy of $5,045,555.
As noted by Mayor Jim Nash, this doesn’t necessarily mean that taxes are going up by 8 percent. A series of council work sessions will be held regarding the budget and levy this fall to establish the final numbers for 2014 and it’s possible that the council will find ways to lower the 2014 budget and levy during those sessions.
As explained by Finance Director Nicole Lueck, last month city officials reviewed with the city council the property market value and tax capacity information for Waconia as supplied by the county.
From last year, the overall taxable market value has increased approximately $66,634,100 or 7.12 percent and subsequent tax capacity increased approximately $635,080, or 7.01 percent. Lueck explained that this means the amount of market value available to spread the tax obligations has increased. According to Carver County, the average home in Waconia is seeing an approximate increase in market value of 3 to 4 percent.
If the final 2014 levy were to stay the same as the preliminary levy, the average home in Waconia (valued at $217,861) would see a 4.6 percent increase in its annual city share of taxes or approximately $48.
City officials will communicate budget progress through the city website and newsletter. An informational meeting on the budget will be held for taxpayers in December before it and the levy are finalized.
Also during the meeting, the council approved a bid for the TH 284 and 10th Street Intersection Improvement Project in the amount of $1,943,088 from Eureka Construction, Inc. out of Lakeville. Officials were pleased to note that the bid was 1 percent lower than the engineering construction estimate. Only one other bid was received, from GMH Asphalt out of Chaska, in the amount of $2,533,225.55.
The project, which includes the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Highway 284 and 10th Street and improvements along Airport Road, includes the full closure of Highway 284 and 10th Street expected to start on Sept. 16, with the roadway being reopened to traffic in November. Drivers and pedestrians should plan on using alternate routes during this time. For updates, visit the city website (www.waconia.org).
In other matters:
• Missy Goff, the Fitness Program Manager at Safari Island, gave a brief update on Fitness Programming at Safari Island. Goff talked about a variety of programs, such as Hatha Yoga classes and a beginners line dance class, and noted that pickleball will continue to be offered. She also mentioned a seminar called “Sugar Blues” that focuses on sugar addiction that will be run by a nutritionist on Oct. 6. To learn more about any of these programs, visit Safari Island, check out the latest city newsletter, contact (952) 442-0695 or visit www.waconia.org and click on the Safari Island link.
• The next compost site dates at Public Services are from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 14 and 28.
• Several city streets will be closed or have parking restrictions from 5 a.m. to noon due to the Nickle Dickle Day Fun Runs on Saturday, Sept. 14. Road closures affect First Street from Redwood Street east to Walnut Street. No parking will be allowed on Cherry Street from 1st to 2nd, 2nd Street from Cherry to Redwood, and Redwood from 2nd to 1st. Affected residents were contacted about the restrictions via mail.
• An off-sale 3.2 percent Malt Liquor License was approved for the Super America store in Waconia, contingent on the store completing all forms, fees, BCA background check, etc.
• A three-year agreement between Safari Island and the Arthritis Foundation was renewed.
The agreement allows the Arthritis Foundation to provide assistance in training and recertification with staff, contribute marketing materials, assist in the promotion of related programs, and provide information to instructors and Safari Island. The renewal also allows Safari Island to continue to provide its well-attended, three-day per week aquatic Arthritis Foundation program and expand other offerings in this area.
• Council business related to the purchase of tax forfeited parcels in Waconia and the acquisition of two parcels in the Interlaken Development in an effort to recover as much of the outstanding special assessments as possible where tabled for a future meeting.
• The council will meet again at 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 16.

Contact Todd Moen at todd.moen@ecm-inc.com

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