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Property revaluation, emergency preemption system among priorities presented to Superior City Council

Councilors have until Tuesday, July 12, to rank city needs and projects for the 2023 budgets.

Government Center in Superior
Government Center, Superior, Wis.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — The city assessor is looking for additional funding to cover the cost of a full revaluation of the city’s residential properties, which are out of compliance with the state.

The city clerk’s office would like an additional staff member to help with elections and outreach and to assist other city departments. But software to improve efficiency in the office that also handles all city licenses would be at the top of the list, said city clerk Camila Ramos.

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And the fire department would like funding for an emergency vehicle preemption system, to replace the fire safety house, to add a rapid response vehicle to its fleet, to expand the fire halls in North and East ends and to build a fourth fire hall to decrease response times throughout the city. Reinstating a full-time fire marshal also made the list.

Now it’s up to the Superior City Council to set priorities for funding in the 2023 general fund and capital improvement project budgets, among those and many other requests.

Mayor Jim Paine asked councilors to establish their priorities by Tuesday, July 12, after spending more than two hours asking questions about all of the proposals presented to the council Tuesday, July 5.

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“This is how we try to determine consensus on what you really support,” Paine said. “… What we’re trying to find out is what’s most important to you.”

Other proposals include adding seasonal staff for maintaining recreational facilities; hiring a buildings and grounds manager; taking on new projects for roads; adding a green parking lot at the library; expanding the internet crimes against children office and computer lab; installing a public camera system; expanding the small business grant program; and funding a rewrite of the city’s 35-year-old zoning code.

Paine cautioned councilors that 2023 will be a tough budget year because of inflation, something he hopes not to pass on to taxpayers who are facing inflation challenges in their home budgets.

“This is a time when almost every expense is going up for households,” Paine said. “And I’m not particularly interested in giving them one more bill that’s getting higher. Their utilities are going up. Gas is going up. Groceries are going up. And that’s true for renters as well. Their rent is going up, and if we raise property taxes, I can guarantee landlords are going to pass that onto renters.”

Paine said that doesn’t mean the council’s priorities won’t help shape even a bare bones budget if that’s what is ultimately presented.

The city’s annual and capital budgets are presented to the council in early-September by the mayor.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com.
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