The City of Wadena is looking to levy $1.23 million for 2022.

This preliminary property tax levy shows an increase of about $30,000 to the general fund to a $425,000 total. This levy also includes $35,970 for the library bond to improve the new library building. Other debts to be paid include the SE sewer, storm water and water projects, which remain consistent with 2021 amounts. These add up to a 5.1% increase over the 2020 levy.

Overall, the city budget is increasing by 3.8%. Thanks to an increase in the taxable market value of Wadena, the budget increase will actually appear as a 2% decrease to the city portion of your property tax. New construction and a higher valuation on property help offset the increase.

Some of the large capital purchases currently on the budget include leasing to own a new road grader. The replacement of a bridge on the bike path heading out of Wadena could come at a cost of $300,000. Interim city administrator David Evans said the city has a DNR grant to cover $90,000 of the cost. The city is looking at other options for replacing the bridge, possibly ways that may lower that cost. Or the city may determine the cost is too great at this time.

The adoption of the preliminary levy means the council can lower it but cannot increase it further before they finalize it in December. The council had no discussion concerning the levy and passed it with all in favor.

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Along with the city property tax levy, the council approved the following other levies:

  • 2022 Wadena Housing and Redevelopment Authority Tax Levy: at 0.0144% of taxable market value of property.

  • Wadena Development Authority mandatory levy at 0.01813%.

  • Wadena Development Authority discretionary levy at 0.00282%

In other actions, the council approved:

  • Closing a portion of Aldrich Ave. for Drastic Measures Oktoberfest and use of Burlington Northern Park on Sept. 25. The event will be going from 4 - 11 p.m.
  • Changing stop sign locations at Kingsley Ave. SW and Eighth Street SW. Chief of Police Naomi Plautz and Public Works Director Dan Kovar have received comments from residents in this area about the locations of the stop signs at this intersection and the effects on traffic flow.

The new plan removed two stop signs at Kingsley and 11th Street, the two that were stopping those on 11th Street. It also adds four stop signs, stopping flow on 10th and Eighth streets before crossing Kingsley.

These changes remove a four-way stop on 11th Street and Kingsley and create a four-way stop at Eighth Street and Kingsley. Essentially, it adds two stops signs in this portion of southwest Wadena.

“This would allow Lincoln Circle apartment residents to use 11th St. for a more "through" driving experience, rather than driving through the residential neighborhood to get to their destination; unless they chose to, they will just have a few stop signs. This also allows for more controlled intersections in that residential area for a safer driving experience as well, since there isn't much direction at this time in that neighborhood,” Plautz wrote in her recommendation.

The council also heard from local resident Bill Schafer (sic) who said he is a former police officer and has been watching traffic patterns in the area. He asked that the city replace the stop signs with yield signs. He noted that this would put the responsibility on the drivers to take better care of their driving.