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Kinnickinnic housing growth slows

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news River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Fewer new homes were constructed in 2007 as compared to 2006, according to Dave Phillips, the deputy zoning administrator and building inspector for the town of Kinnickinnic.

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"The pendulum is swinging more towards commercial construction right now," said Phillips.

Phillips summarized his year-end findings at last week's Town Board meeting. Phillips added that the cost of the new homes were higher than the past two years.

  • 2007: 11 new homes, $2,856,400 spent
  • 2006: 13 new homes, $2,822,000 spent
  • 2005: 11 new homes, $2,838,000 spent

    "The cost of the houses has gone up," said Phillips. "You can see that more expensive houses are being built."

    Permits for building repairs, alterations and improvements in 2007 was lower and less money was spent on home improvements than in 2006.

  • 2007: 19 permits issued, $196,000 spent
  • 2006: 21 permits issued, $292,000 spent
  • 2005: 20 permits issued, $163,000 spent

    In addition, the number of home inspections is steadily decreasing.

    "The sign of the times is pretty evident where we're at," said Phillips. "You can see the trend has gone down a little bit because of the housing industry."

    Phillips said that the certified survey map handouts and procedures are now being modified. A policy will be written to explain to residents what comprises any fees that are incurred. Phillips hopes to have this project completed by next month's board meeting.

    County Assessor Ron Meyer presented a new property assessment contract to the board and emphasized the need for maintaining compliance with state guidelines to ensure residents are paying fair taxes in all major property classes.

    Meyer explained how the market adjustment rate proposed in the new contract attempts to keep all property classes close to 100% in assessment ratio to remain in compliance with state regulations.

    The objective is to ensure property valuation and tax collection is fair to all residents in the town, but accepting the proposed market adjustment is ultimately up to the Town Board.

    Supervisor John Humphrey and Phillips expressed concerns regarding how assessments are performed, particularly in the case of home improvements.

    It was suggested that all permit requests received by Phillips be communicated to Meyer to guarantee tax assessment accuracy. Further discussion on this matter will take place at a later time.

    The board voted to accept the new assessment contract for 2008 and 2009. In 2010, the board will reevaluate the market adjustment based on future housing and property trends.

    Other action

  • Regarding the Feb. 19 elections, Town Clerk Lola Higgins proposed changes to the election/polling process. Poll workers are now required to attend at least two hours of education. Ten poll workers completed the education process in January.

    Higgins proposed assigning five poll workers to each shift: One designated as the chief inspector and four working the polls.

    That change will better assist voters and ensure voter privacy.

    The board approved the election process modifications.

  • The road ordinance draft was finalized at last week's meeting and will be posted on the town Web site. All modifications that were made to the last draft were identified and discussed.

    An additional change was made to the most current draft. Because of time sensitivity issues farmers face when a new agricultural driveway is needed, it was decided that instead of requiring Town Board approval, only the deputy zoning administrator and Town Board chair will be assigned to approve.

  • A public comment meeting will be held in March at the Town Hall for citizens to respond to the road ordinance draft.

    A separate public comment meeting will be held on Feb. 28 for citizens to respond to the Comprehensive Plan Report that in part identifies the town's goals, growth issues and provides a detailed guide towards the future.

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