Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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Chippewa Falls levy climbs 2.4 percent

» Overall tax rate will drop for ‘18 » Most city employees to get raises

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CHIPPEWA FALLS — The Chippewa Falls levy will increase by $157,776 in 2018, climbing by 2.41 percent. The city’s overall budget also will increase by about 1.84 percent.

The Chippewa Falls City Council unanimously approved its 2018 budget Tuesday.

City finance manager Lynne Bauer said that state-required levy limits kept the budget increase to less than 3 percent.

The city added a firefighter position — a battalion chief — at a cost of $129,000, Bauer said. However, increased ambulance service rates will cover the bulk of that cost. The position was eliminated in 2007 when it was combined with the fire chief position. The city agreed this summer to separate the two positions again.

Bauer noted that the overall tax rate for city residents will actually drop in 2018 when combining city, state, county, school and technical college taxes. The 2017 overall tax rate was $21.61 per $1,000 valuation, but preliminary numbers show that declines to $21.39 next year.

Council President Rob Kiefer praised Bauer for her work in pulling the budget together.

“I thank you for your many, many hours this fall,” Kiefer said to Bauer.

Most city employees also got about a 1 percent increase in pay. The city’s debt went up by about $60,000, she said.

Among funding requests that were denied in the 2018 budget were for donations to the Chippewa Falls Historical Society and the Little Lake Wissota Stewardship Project.

Also not funded was police Chief Matt Kelm’s request for additional officers. The department has 23 full-time officers, but 15 years ago, they had 27. The department lost positions through attrition.

In other news

» The council held a public hearing to allow outdoor personal storage units at the U-Haul facility, which has filled the former Kmart store.

» The council approved transferring a liquor license to Jordan Hedrington to operate Glen Loch Saloon, 1300 Jefferson Ave. Hedrington, 36, currently operates Bug Eyed Betty’s in Eau Claire.

However, the Police Department recommended rejecting the liquor license. Kelm said that Hedrington’s record caused him some concern because he failed to install an ignition interlock, operated while suspended and had two drunken-driving convictions. Kelm said he was concerned about Hedrington’s inability to follow rules that pertained to alcohol.

The council approved the transfer on a 4-3 vote, with Bob Hoekstra, CW King and Chuck Hull voting against it.

Contact: 715-723-0303, chris.vetter@ecpc.com

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