NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WZMQ) – Thursday night at the Negaunee City Council meeting, a motion was passed for the city to hire an attorney to litigate and seek three years of ore taxes for the Negaunee portion of the Empire Mine.
The decision was unanimous among city council members. Funds are being sought for tax years 2018 through 2020. The hope is that it will become one case where litigation costs will be shared between three municipalities. The city’s treasurer, Brian Downing, said the ore would have a taxable value of $25 million, and if the filing is approved, it could bring in about $1.6 million in total revenue for the 2020-2022 tax season across all city millages.
The 2023 city budget is also being discussed. Revenue estimates are $5,091,000 and expenses are an estimated $5,041,000. A new position is being discussed in the budget which would work closely with the city manager and help oversee economic development, downtown events, as well as plan downtown events and execute branding and marketing for the city. The position being hired is projected to account for approximately $40,000 of the budget.
Other projects being discussed for 2023 are sewer projects for Buffalo Rd. and Gold St. bypass. Those projects are estimated to cost $590,000 at Buffalo Rd and $480,000 for Gold St.
Bulletproof vests and carriers for the police department, as well as an upgraded secure server are proposed in the budget. A safety study was also conducted on the water tower and safety upgrades are being recommended for the water tower.
Some wages are expected to increase in the budget for election workers, ice arena employees, and city grounds employees. Street repairs and increases to the fire department were listed as priorities for the city budget. Electric, water, and sewer rates are projected to increase by approximately 4%, the first increase in five years.
There is also ongoing discussion about bringing in a D.A.R.E Program and splitting the costs of training a D.A.R.E. Officer between the city and the school which would get added to the budget as well.
Budget numbers are all approximations as the budget is still under review until a decision is made at the meeting in early November.