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City approves levy increase

Most Osakis residents will likely see a small increase in their property taxes next year.

The Osakis City Council approved an overall levy increase of 11 percent at its meeting last Monday night, Dec. 5. The 2017 levy will increase from $589,000 to $654,000, but this amount includes $16,500 to pay off bonds issued in 2008 and $25,000 for the 2016 bond for the downtown project.

The levy increase in the general budget, which more directly impacts property taxes, amounts to $23,500 — a 4 percent increase from this year.

The 2017 budget was set at $1,177,195 — a slight increase of less than half of a percent from 2016's actual budget of $1,171,723.

There were no public comments about the levy increase at Monday's meeting.

Downtown project

A public hearing on the downtown project took place Wednesday, Nov. 30. Sheila Krohse from Bolton and Menk explained the final outcome and costs of the 2016 downtown project.

The total cost ended up being a little more than $3.1 million with Douglas County paying roughly $1.3 million and the city of Osakis paying roughly $1.2 million. A donation was received in the amount of $128,898 and the assessable amount was $456,188.

According to the minutes of the meeting, public comments were taken and included the following:

Howard Swenstad questioned the 4.5 percent interest rate, which is 2 percent over the bonding rate. It was explained that the city bond rate is 3.25 percent and the PFA loan is 1 percent.

Swenstad also asked about water/sewer service for a particular property. The cost would be $1,800 for sewer and $1,100 for water, which are not currently hooked up. He should not have to pay until service is hooked up and used.

Councilman Kyle Kostrzewski said that each property owner pays for their service lines even if they were not using them at the time.

Jeanne Wolbeck from AJ's Restaurant said her service lines come from the back of the building, but service was put in the front also.

The council made no changes to the requests.

Excellence in Service

Osakis Mayor Kip Emerson recognized several individuals and organizations for their excellence in service to the city of Osakis. The names will appear on the city of Osakis Recognition Board, which is presented by the Osakis Economic Development Board.

The inductees, in no particular order, included: Lil Ortendahl, Ralph Laven, Osakis First Responders, Stan Schultz, Jan Moore, Newman Olson, Ed Pollard, Osakis Fire Department, LeRoy Mackove and Neil Gillis.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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