Mike Wilson, the Red Wing mayor 'is in'

Mike Wilson writes a monthly column about Red Wing issues and in response to residents' questions.

There’s an old saying in business and government: Show me your budget, and I’ll show you your priorities.

The proposed budget is not aligned with our priorities.

As of today, I am strongly considering a veto of the 2022 budget and the big tax increase it involves.

There isn’t a reason in the world for Red Wing business and property owners to pay one more dollar in taxes in 2022. We just have to live within our means.

As reported to the Republican Eagle and verified on the city’s website, the City Council has already approved a preliminary property tax levy of $24,060,307 for 2022. In other words, under their plan, Red Wing property owners would be paying an additional $1,196,719 over what they paid in 2021.

The actual budget – real spending – would increase by $678,216 over last year. The increase would pay for additional public works employees, a boost in insurance cost for city employees, and various and sundry other items.

Of course costs go up with inflation. But here’s what no one is telling you. The city of Red Wing has approximately $23 million in reserve.

The simple fact is that $23 million is enough to run our city for an entire year, if no one paid a dime in taxes. For a city the size of Red Wing, the Minnesota League of Cities recommends roughly half that amount in reserve – about $11.2 million.

In truth, we can trim a little off that reserve every year if we need to, and still have plenty.

And still – we’re talking about a tax increase? With $23 million in the bank?

It’s great to have money in reserve. In these tough economic times, working families need to keep as much as possible in their reserves and keep circulating it into the economy – not sending it to government.

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Email questions to darkin@orourkemediagroup.com.

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