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A Response to Rising Property Taxes in Owen

A Response to Rising Property Taxes in Owen

Opinion
3 min.
December 16, 2020

An Open Letter from the City of Owen

To the citizens and taxpayers of Owen:

We would like you to know that raising property taxes is not something that anyone on the council or employees of the city take lightly. When projects are put off for too long, they only get more expensive and become a larger problem. In this case it is a combination of matters that were long overdue and in need of correcting that caused the increase in taxes across the community. On the positive side, Owen has seen a growth in its tax base which means that more people and businesses are sharing in the costs of these improvements. In other words, it could have been worse. Since 2014 the City of Owen Aggregate Equalized Value has grown by more than $22 million to a 2020 total of $56.5 million. We intend to build upon this growth but it will require some growing pains from all of us.

The renovation and reconstruction of 5th Street was much needed for a long time. The issue of the aging water and sewer laterals combined with the inadequate and aging storm sewer along Grease Creek which flows under Colman St. to Crowley Park. When the project was discussed the council decided that it would be better to complete the project all the way to Central Ave. which has turned out very nice and should last for many years. The total cost was $1.5 million but the Community Development Block Grant through the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration paid $1 million. The City of Owen council voted to approve the project as it would be unreasonable to turn down the grant money to complete such a large project. 

In 2019 the aptly titled 2019 Street Project was approved and mostly completed in 2019. The city had paid the initial pay request without borrowing the funds that had been approved. In 2020 the project was completed and many streets were rebuilt that were crumbling due to age. This project was approved as it was much needed and there were no grants available for this project and the final bill was $450,000 which was approved in July of 2019 but the loan was completed in late Spring of 2020 upon completion of the project.

Looking forward to 2021 there are some projects and purchases that were approved to make things more cost effective. The new Municipal Building was purchased from WE Energies in February of 2020 for $20,000. The renovation of the building to accommodate the Owen-Withee Police Department and the City of Owen City Hall is going to be really nice and should serve our needs well into the future. The 2021 Budget includes the borrowing of $250,000 for the renovation costs, purchase price and other expenses related to the move. The budget also includes the borrowing, split three ways through water, sewer and streets budgets, for a crane truck with a hoist for $40,000. 

We understand that progress takes money and we are committed to being watchdogs for the money of the taxpayers of the City of Owen. Although it is not getting any cheaper to do projects it is important to still do them and unfortunately it takes the whole community to fund these improvements.

At this time there are no major projects like those discussed on the schedule. Clark County will be doing a lot of work on County Road D on both sides of County X in 2021 and it was decided by budget constraints not to tackle our portion at this time. There will be some minor work that needs to be done on our part but nothing of the size and scope of 5th St.

The City of Owen


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