Chippewa Falls City Hall sign - Summer

This sign outside of Chippewa Falls City Hall is seen in this August 2017 photo.

ROD STETZER, The Herald

Chippewa Falls residents can expect to see their tax bills shrink this year.

The Chippewa Falls City Council quickly and smoothly passed a $12.5 million budget for 2017-2018 on a 6-0 vote Tuesday, then confirmed the vote at a meeting later in the night.

That’s a bump up from last year’s $12.3 million budget. The extra money will accommodate a fire battalion chief position, health insurance increases, wage increases and a debt payment increase of $60,000, said city finance manager Lynne Bauer.

The council also passed a tax rate of $9.18 per $1,000 of equalized property value, an increase of 1.6 percent over last year’s rate of $9.04 – but with the state forestry tax eliminated this year, many Chippewa Falls residents can expect their bills to be slightly smaller than last years’.

“We’re fortunate the overall taxing impact is (small),” said Chippewa Falls mayor Greg Hoffman.

Combined with the county, school district and technical college levies passed earlier this year, Chippewa Falls property owners will know what to expect on their property tax bills.

The owner of a Chippewa Falls house appraised at $100,000 will pay approximately $2,138.68 in total property taxes, according to city figures; that same homeowner would have paid $22.15 more last year if the house’s value stayed the same.

The tax levy for the city of Chippewa Falls comes to $6.7 million, a 2.4 percent increase over last year’s levy of $6.5 million.

Requests from Lake Wissota Improvement and Protection Association and the Chippewa Area History Center – both of which had approached the city in 2017 to ask for funding – were not included in the budget, Bauer said. The city may review those requests after the end of the year.

Hoffman thanked Bauer, the committees involved and the city’s department heads for their work drawing up the budget.

In other news, the council voted to transfer a liquor license from Glen Loch Saloon’s owners to an Eau Claire restaurant owner who is currently leasing the Chippewa Falls tavern.

Jordan Hedrington, owner of Bug-Eyed Betty’s restaurant on South Hastings Way in Eau Claire, appeared before the council Tuesday to request a liquor license transfer from the owners.

He plans to clean and “turn around” the tavern, Hedrington said, and may consider buying the building if his business does well during his lease.

Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matt Kelm brought up concerns, saying Hedrington has several past offenses that are alcohol-related: “There’s a number of these offenses that show a predication to not obey the rules.”

Hedrington told the council he regrets his past offenses, and that his bartenders will be licensed and certified in food safety.

The council ultimately voted 4-3 to grant Hedrington the license transfer, with Robert Hoekstra, C.W. King and Chuck Hull voting to deny the transfer.

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Chippewa Herald reporter

Sarah Seifert covers the city and community of Chippewa Falls. Contact her with tips or story ideas at 715-738-1608 or at sarah.seifert@lee.net.

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