• Home

Notes From The Capital

Property taxes and who pays them

paul anderson 150The subject of property taxes and who pays them is a topic that always seems to create discussion.  We have heard the explanation of how local property taxes are made up of a three-legged stool, with the three legs of revenue being agricultural land, residential homes, and commercial/industrial property.  In recent years, because of the rapid escalation in farmland values, there has been a shift to more of the total property tax bill falling onto that category.

With the farm economy humming along with high commodity prices and profit margins comfortably in the “black,” at least for crop farming, there wasn’t much sympathy as taxes on ag land increased by large amounts.  That scenario has completely changed in the past year as commodity prices have plummeted to less than one-half their peak values, and profit margins have disappeared.  And even as land prices stabilize and begin to drop somewhat in value, it will take several years for that to show up in lower property taxes.  As a result, farmers are looking at their tax statements and realizing that this is now a significant input cost, one that is adding to their negative cash flows for the upcoming year.

Continue Reading

 Print  Email

Students helping students through Dollars for Scholars

Students helping students through Dollars for Scholars

Student volunteers at Minnewaska Area High School extended helping hands to members of the senior class.

Through several recent fundraising (and humanitarian) efforts, student volunteers helped make sure all MAHS seniors will have a shot at scholarship money as they begin their next adventure.

The Minnewaska chapter of Dollars for Scholars provides scholarship opportunities, open to all MAHS seniors, and it was this fund that benefited from student volunteers’ efforts.

At Monday evening’s school board meeting, board member Bob Mork reported that students working the Dollars for Scholars phone-a-thon, held earlier this month, raised $8,200 for Dollars for Scholars through two nights of calling.

Continue Reading

 Print  Email

Starbuck Punch Card Promotion

Starbuck punch card promotion offers chance to win $50 in gift certificates

 As part of a Starbuck Chamber promotion and local businesses Starbuck is running a punch card promotion to encourage people to shop local.

 How it will work
 A person will have to enter all 12 of the participating businesses and receive a punch on their card. All cards will stay in the drawings for $50 worth of gift certificates for the 12 weeks. A $50 winner will be selected each week. Punch cards can be picked up at the Chamber Office or participating businesses. Drop off for the cards is at the Chamber Office or Peddler Dan’s if Chamber is closed.
 Participating businesses include Minnewaska Bait & Tackle, Peddler Dan’s, Little Angels Consignment, Precision Body & Frame, Minnewaska House, Samuelson’s Drug, Starbuck Bakery, Tom’s Food Market, Minnewaska Liquor, Creative Images Salon, Kruger Farms, Water’s Edge.
 The intent of the punch cards are to promote buying local and supporting neighbors, strengthen the local economy, increase area jobs, circulate money in the community, reduce environmental footprint and to save time and win $50 in gift certificates.

 The promotion will have drawings every Wednesday from April 1- June 17, for a total of 12 $50 winners. One entry per person.



 The promotion will have drawings every Wednesday from April 1- June 17, for a total of 12 $50 winners. One entry per person.

 Print  Email

Starbuck Approves Interim City Office Staff

By Zach Anderson
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Starbuck City Council approved interim city office staff on Monday evening, selecting Joan Kerkvliet as interim clerk/treasurer, Jan Norby as interim deputy clerk and Bonnie Rasche as assistant (when needed).
The interim staff was needed due to the resignation of city clerk/treasurer Andrea Swenson; the council accepted Swenson’s resignation at the same meeting.
The pay rate for Rasche will stay at $11 per hour. Norby’s rate was set at $15 per hour. Mayor Gary Swenson and council member Lyle Katzenmeyer said they would meet with Kerkvliet to discuss pay rate and also what changes need to be made in the office.

Continue Reading

 Print  Email

Notes From The Capital

Buffer Strips – In the News in Minnesota

paul anderson 150Strong rhetoric out of the governor’s office may impede progress on a controversial 50-foot buffer requirement for Minnesota waters.  Governor Dayton, in a news conference last week, said that farmers don’t have the right to create cesspools, and that they “should look into their souls” when thinking about the proposal that would require them to take land out of production and establish buffer strips, with no compensation from the state.

When word of this plan came out, one of my first thoughts was of the huge cost to the state in taking well over 100,000 acres of farm land and converting them into conservation buffer strips.  When I saw the actual piece of legislation, there was no mention of compensation to landowners, other than encouraging enrollment in the federal “continuous CRP” program.  It amounts to a state mandate to enroll in a voluntary federal program if one wanted some level of compensation!  The only mention of state funding was an unknown amount going to local Soil and Water Conservation Districts to assist in the establishment of buffers.

Continue Reading

 Print  Email

Quilt of Valor Presented

Richard Hollermann presented with Quilt of Valor

HallermannHow do you begin to say “thank you” to a veteran—especially one who has sacrificed so much during service to the nation? If you’re a quilter like Charlotte Norlien, you begin with a piece of fabric.
On Feb. 16, Norlien presented Richard Hollermann, a Vietnam veteran who lives south of Farwell, with a Quilt of Valor. The quilt was Norlien’s way of offering comfort, healing and sincere gratitude to a veteran touched by war.
Norlien said she had seen a PBS program about the Quilts of Valor Foundation and was determined to make a quilt for a local veteran—the Fons and Porter quilt pattern, in particular.

Continue Reading

 Print  Email

Notes From The Capital

paul anderson 150Some Minnesotans who received a subsidy last year to help cover the cost of their health insurance may be in for a surprise when they file their tax return for 2014. At least one constituent reported to me that they must pay several hundred dollars of additional tax to cover the subsidy they received from the federal government to defray the cost of insurance.  To be fair, this is not a problem brought on by the troubled MnSure exchange in Minnesota.  It has to do with incomes that turned out to be under-estimated, which resulted in subsidies received that were too large.

Back when folks signed up for health coverage and the associated subsidies for last year, 2013 incomes were used to determine the level of subsidy.  However, if the actual income for 2014 increased by a certain level, it changed or eliminated the subsidy amount people were entitled to receive.  That’s the reason why some will have to pay income tax on that subsidy, although they had no idea this might happen.  And even if they knew, it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, to get back into the MnSure system to make a change in income, which would have also resulted in a lower subsidy and higher health insurance premiums.

Continue Reading

 Print  Email

More Articles...