Two funds will be reimbursed by property taxes paid on Barrette Estates properties

    A resolution passed by the Crookston City Council in 2014 relating to property tax abatements on new homes built in Barrette Estates Subdivision is coming back into play now that some of the first houses constructed along the street are reaching their full value.

    In the end, the council is holding true to the 2014 resolution, but not after some discussion and mild dissent. Ward 1 Council Member Jake Fee, in the recent debate, said he felt the City’s Water and Wastewater funds have ample enough balances to not require that they be reimbursed, and that the money – $4,682.59 for each fund to be exact, the amount from property taxes received on the full-valued properties – should go into the general fund to be used for other purposes.

    Public Works Director Pat Kelly countered that the two funds are often tapped for pay up-front for new infrastructure projects that are assessed. The funds also come especially in handy for other big-ticket projects, such as repainting and refinishing a water tower, which costs well into six figures, he added.

    Kelly also questioned why the council even had to revisit the 2014 resolution, given that it was passed then, and wondered why the two separate reimbursements into the two funds wouldn’t automatically take place without further council action. To that question, Finance Director Angel Weasner said she needed an additional resolution to officially authorize the actual transfer of funds.

    “We talked back then about replenishing those funds. …We told ourselves we were going to do it, and this puts it out there when we’re doing it and how much we’re putting back,” said Mayor Wayne Melbye, who was a council member in 2014. “This money goes back into funds that we use for infrastructure.”

    Fee, in his first term on the council, said he understood the rationale behind the 2014 resolution, and that he had “no problem” honoring it. “It just seems a little weird to me,” he added.

    Ward 6 Council Member Tom Vedbraaten, on the council in 2014, said, “If we said we’re going to put it back in there, it should go back in there.”

    Kelly acknowledged the funds aren’t exactly hurting for cash. “They’re healthy, I’ll agree with that,” he said. “But I like them healthy.”