Western Itasca Review 75 Cents Looking Back Page 4 Obituaries Page 8 Deer River, Minnesota, 56636 Volume 110, Number 23 Thursday, December 24, 2009 Inside This Issue. . . White Oak Annual Colonial Dinner Fundrasier Page 10 It’s Your Court Page 2 Births Page 8 The Bible Says Page 9 Effie City Council meets Representatives from some of the organizations who were staffed at the Salvation Army Christmas Red Kettles in Deer River were on hand Dec. 16 when the Deer River Coordinator Keith Matson presented Valerie Stevens, the Northern Minnesota Field Representative for the Salvation Army, with a check for $3,131.37. From the left are, Karen Prescher, Avenue of Pines Lions Club; Matson; Sharon Bain, Avenue of Pines Lions Club; Stevens; Dianne Sundquist, Deer River American Legion Post 122 Auxiliary President; and Dan Essig, who is the commander for the Deer River American Legion Post 122 and the Deer River Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 2720. Salvation Army Christmas Red Kettle Campaign in Deer River by Louise H. McGregor, staff writer The two week Salvation Army Christmas Red Kettle Campaign in Deer River is finished for this year. Deer River Coordinator Keith Matson said, “We raised $3,131.37 for our 2009 campaign, which was our 14th year of participation in this program for the Salvation Army.” Matson was able to present Valerie Stevens, the Northern Minnesota Field Representative for the Salvation Army, with a check for that amount on Dec. 16. “This amount,” said Matson, “was less than our all-time high amount of donations, but we think this amount is very good, especially the way the economy is now.” In 2008 the Deer River Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign raised $3,948.65. The total amount that has been raised in Deer River since the start of this annual campaign in 1996 is $37,550.82. The breakdown of the 2009 donations that added up to the year’s total were: checks-$410, $100 bills-$100, $50 bills$0, $20 bills-$60, $10 bills-$130, $5 bills$350, $1 bills-$1,425, there were no 50 cent pieces, quarters-$458.75, dimes$124.10, nickels-$45.25 and pennies$28.27. “That listing shows,” said Matson, “even pennies add up. One gentleman emptied his pockets of change so well that he almost lost his St. Christopher’s medal, SALVATION ARMY/To Page 4 by Julie Aakhus Resident Mark Krickhahn was the first to speak at the Public Forum for the Effie City Council meeting on Dec. 14. “I’d like to talk about my taxes. What is the total operating budget? My property tax increase went up 32%.” Mayor Matt David explained, “The tax levy is on the agenda for tonight. We are planning on discussing it and lowering it later this evening. It will go down. It does every year.” “You’re assuring me that they’ll go down?” Krickhahn asked. “I think that this is ridiculous. The projected budget from the county is different from what the City is. What I think is happening is not everyone is paying for the sewer system so to make up for it you’re increasing the taxes. When is it going to stop?” David again tried to explain that it would be discussed later on the agenda. Councilman Tim Stewart spoke, “I spoke to a lady at the County office and I asked her if we set the tax levy at a certain amount can we drop it lower later on? She told me, no. It will be at whatever we set it at for the budget. That’s what the County Assessor goes from.” After much more discussion on the tax levy Councilman Liza Erickson asked, “Can we just put this on the table until next month when we have a few weeks to check into it and see what’s really going on?” David then closed the Public Forum and moved the meeting along. There are still problems with the sewer system blocking up and the control panel switching off. Gene Ward will be asked to look at the control panel and see if he can determine why it keeps kicking over. He will also be asked to look at the outside lights at the building to see why they keep burning out. Stewart asked if the sewer blockage was from people flushing baby wipes down the toilets. David didn’t think this was the problem but will wait and see what Gene finds out. EFFIE/To Page 8 Deer River City Council sets levy collectible in 2010 at $468,682 by Louise H. McGregor, staff writer There was a full house in the council chambers for the Deer River City Council meeting of Dec. 14 as this was the scheduled time to go over the 2010 city budget and levy. Several of the Deer River residents were concerned about the increased taxes on their homes. Itasca County Assessor Brian Connors attended this meeting to try and explain why the taxes had taken a big jump for some of the city residents. Connors explanation, which lasted about an hour, boiled down to the fact that the county does not have that much control in the increases. He said, “The county is trapped by state mandates.” There is a certain formula that assessors must follow in their assessments. Two of the reasons that Connors listed as causes of the tax increase was the elimination of the Limited Market Value by the state, which in turn lowered the taxable value, that along with the lowering of the commercial value and increase in the residential value resulted in increased taxes for homeowners. Noticing that the mood of the residents had not lightened, Connors made an attempt to ease the tension with humor. He said, “You do know that it is illegal to tar and feather assessors in Itasca County don’t you?” That attempt didn’t seem to work. One of the residents attending this meeting retorted. “Not in Deer River it isn’t.” Many of the citizens attending the DEER RIVER/To Page 3 Itasca County Assessor Brian Connors attended the Dec. 14 Deer River City Council meeting to explain why residential property taxes have increased. Concerned citizens attending this meeting included Garry Frits, Dale Howg, Ronald and Marilyn Geving, Robert Mattfield, Steve Jurvelin, Dave Sorenson, Dave Bartick and Jim Liston. Two council members were absent for that meeting. In attendance were Mark Box and Barb Serfling and Mayor John O’Brien, along with City Clerk Victor R. Williams.