City of New Richmond, Wis., the City Beautilful

NEW RICHMOND -- City Council members met virtually and in person, in open and closed sessions, for their work meeting Monday night, June 28.

Here is what you need to know:


1. First revaluation in 12 years brings hikes

Delayed a year by the COVID-19 pandemic, the citywide property revaluation scheduled for 2020 took place in 2021.

The purpose is to comply with state statute and to bring the value of all property types up to market rate. The intention is to ensure that all property owners pay their fair share of taxes.

The city was divided into four sections and beginning in April, a team of assessors from Accurate Appraisal began assessments of residential and commercial properties using one of three methods: physical walk throughs; virtual walkthroughs; or phone calls.

An overview of the process to date is available at 2021 Property Revaluation Update

Accurate completed the last of its assessments in June and is in the process of evaluating the data and revaluing the properties.

Notices with the new values are expected to be mailed by the end of July. Based on preliminary data, residents can expect an increase on average of 53%.Some properties will increase more and some will increase less. The large increase is due primarily to the last revaluation having taken place 12 years ago in 2009 and the near historic climb in real estate values since 2014. Next steps

The city will be including educational and informational materials with the revaluation notices. The information will also be published in the city newsletter, posted on the city website and on its Facebook page.

Open Book is scheduled for Aug. 10-12. The Board of Review is scheduled for Sept. 15.

Going forward, the city will conduct a full value assessment program, which calls for revaluation of all property every year from 2022-2025. Assessing property annually assures a more gradual rate of increase and more accurate taxing.

Citizens are encouraged to call Accurate Appraisal directly with any questions pertaining to the revaluation process at 1-800-770-3927.


2. Resolutions OK $3,625,000 in borrowing

Council members approved seven resolutions clearing the way to borrow, not to exceed, $3,625,000 in General Purpose Corporate Purpose Bonds. The loan term is 15 years with an option to prepay beginning in 2029.

The resolutions include authorization of General Obligation Bonds to pay for:

$1,035,000 for street improvement projects

$785,000 for the construction of police facilities

$185,000 for water system projects

$390,000 sewerage projects

$1,230,000 General Obligation Refunding Bonds (refinance of existing debt)

Approval of the initial resolution for street and capital equipment projects begins a 30-day period during which residents have the opportunity to file a petition requiring a referendum before issuance of the Bonds.

The city estimates an interest rate of 1.6%. which would save $45,650 in interest over the life of the loan.

The city is expected to close on the bond sale Aug. 30, 2021.


3. Quick hits

Following the closed session involving the allegations against the fire chief, New Richmond City Council announced it had a potential settlement. No details were available at press time.

Council members approved Police Chief Yehlik’s recommendation to institute a parking ban on the 200 block of South Knowles Avenue from 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday, July 9-11). The ban is intended to keep pedestrians safe during the hours of Fun Fest through the parade on Sunday.

In keeping with the process to begin reopening access to city facilities, the council voted to reopen the Civic Center for use by the Senior Center during regular business hours. Council members asked city staff to further research fees and reservation terms under which the center can be reopened to other outside organizations and bring the report to the July council meeting.

Tom Lindfors is a western Wisconsin freelance journalist and former Star-Observer reporter. Contact him at tom@lindforsphoto.com

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