Property owners in the city of Ogilvie should expect a property tax increase this year as the city council prepares to re-pave all of its city streets. The condition of the streets have long been the subject of public criticism for their poor condition and numerous potholes. 

A five-year capital improvement plan proposed by City Administrator Tammy Pfaff includes seal coating portions of the city streets each year from 2020-2023 then completely milling and re-paving all the streets in 2024. 

“At some point those will all have to be reconstructed. We just need some millionaires to give us some donations,” she joked during the city’s special budget meeting on Sept. 18. Pfaff roughly estimated that milling and re-paving the city streets could cost $500,000. 

For a city as small as Ogilvie, half a million dollars is going to be difficult to come by. Money is tight with the city. In 2018, the city received approximately $105,500 in revenue from property taxes and $120,100 in funds distributed by the state called “Local Government Aid.” 

Bringing in revenue to pay for street improvements will largely rely on a property tax increase. Council member Dave Johnson said investments in the city streets is overdue. Johnson said repairing the city infrastructure is no longer a choice, and that it would be best to start increasing the local property tax levy now in preparation for those projects. 

“Whether people like it or not we have to pay to live here,” he said. 

City Clerk Dionne Haberman concurred,  “If we don’t take in the money and start doing some of this (road repair) we end up falling further and further behind.”

The 2020 budget and beyond

The city of Ogilvie’s five-year capital improvement plan includes:

$15,000 each year from 2020-2023 to seal coat the city streets, address a quarter of the streets each year

$500,000 to mill and repave all the city streets in 2024

A $4.3 million project to repair two water mains and renovate the waste water treatment facility in order to meet state standards. It is estimated 95% of the project could be covered by grants or other state funds. The city’s share would be approximately $190,000. 

The Ogilvie City Council voted on Sept. 18 to keep the total levy increase for 2020 at or under 10%.


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