The Minocqua Town Board held the first reading of an ordinance that would exempt its municipal treasurer from providing a bond while obligating the town to pay taxes.
“This is about the treasurer’s bond,” Mark Hartzheim said.
Under Wisconsin State Statute 70.67, unless exempt by a local ordinance, municipal treasurers must provide a bond under which the municipal treasurer promised to pay over all taxes that are required to be paid to the county treasurer.
“2017 Wisconsin Act 52 requires that bond to be in an amount no less than the amount of the state and county taxes apportioned to the town, village, or city,” the Act reads.
Hartzheim said meeting minutes from 2000 reflected a motion to waive the requirement for the town to have the bond that was ongoing.
A statute change in 2017 required municipalities to have an ordinance in place in order for the bond to be waived.
Hartzheim said both town clerk Roben Haggart and town treasurer Kim Strasburg are bonded for $250,000.
“The cost to make it the equivalent for our January and December tax collections amount would be $4 million.” Hartzheim said. “So, the cost for that extra bonding would be approximately $1,000 to $1,500.”
Haggart included a proposed sample ordinance for the town to adopt to continue waiving the requirement the bond be paid.
“It’s basically saying, we’ve been doing this for 20 years this way, and now it’s basically making an ordinance so we can keep doing it the way we’ve been doing it,” Haggart said. “I got the ordinance from the (Wisconsin) Town Association. It appears most municipalities go this route.”
“Is it basically saying we’re waiving the insurance, the liability?” town supervisor Billy Fried asked.
Haggart said the town would be waiving the additional bond.
“The town is taking the liability of $4 million taxes,” Fried clarified.
“What we have here, is Kim’s the treasurer, but come time to pay the county and the state taxes, Mark and I both have to sign off on it, we kind all know about the deadlines and I don’t foresee it ever getting slipped through or anything like that,” Haggart said.
She went on to explain that signing the ordinance would be at no cost to the town, whereas not signing the ordinance would be.
According to Hartzheim, the original motion in 2000 stated the bond authorized Wisconsin statute shall be waived and the Town of Minocqua shall be responsible for all taxes, and the action would remain in effect until repealed by the town board.
“It was meant to be an ongoing authority, but now that that statute was passed, you can still do it, but you need a town ordinance to continue doing that,” Hartzheim said.
The ordinance was scheduled for a second reading and adoption at the next town board meeting.
The town board also:
• Provided an update on the Bo-di-Lac snowmobile trail following a request from the Minocqua Forest Riders snowmobile club to use a portion of Bo-di-Lac Drive to connect to Squirrel Lake Trail.
The update follows an approval for the request at last month’s town board meeting.
Following safety concerns with visibility, club representatives began pursuing alternatives.
“The short story is they got it to where it’s just going to need to be a crossing, and not a route over the road itself,” Hartzheim said.
According to public works director Mark Pertile, the trail would come out at Murray Rd. and cross there.
“It’s at the top of the hill and they and see both ways,” Pertile said. “It’s the best visibility. They won’t have to run the roadway at all.”
• Held the second reading and adoption of two amendments, the first designating North and South Bo-di-Lac roads as a 35 mph speed zone and the second increasing boat daily boat launch fees from $3 to $5 an annual fees from $25 to $40.
• Reauthorized the 2019-2020 Winter ATV routes.
Kayla Houp may be reached via email at [email protected]