Wabasha City Council will approve its final budget on December 19th, 2023. The detailed budget, summary, and powerpoint presentation presented to Council  by its City Administrator, Caroline Gregerson, on December 5, is linked under the budget section of the Wabasha website, here.

The 2024 $3,961,705 budget report represents a summary of the adopted proposals for all services provided by the city in 2024 and reflects an 6.0% levy increase. The 2024 Budget maintains current service levels, retains high quality and dedicated staff, and uses taxpayer dollars responsibly.

The increase in taxes for 2024, reflect the cost to retain services.

  • The budget has an overall 15.7% operating costs increase but the impact to taxpayers remained lower due to overall 16% increase in revenues like additional local aid from the State, increases in fees like ambulance revenues.
  • Overall, the highest increase was wages. Employees received a 3% general wage increase and qualifying non-union employees received a 2% step increase.
  • The ambulance service added a full-time paramedic position but this position essentially paid for itself, due to expected additional revenues from a paramedic who can provide Advanced Life Support (ALS) transfers. The Wabasha Ambulance Service also obtained commitments from townships to support the service.
  • The City retired debt this year on street projects and replaced that debt with new payments for the downtown street project and Athletic Field project. The City has in its long-term financial plan has plans to also take on additional street projects through borrowing as well. There was a net savings of $130,000 in debt payments in 2024.
  • The City increased its capital improvement contribution by $175,000, through additional funds from the State of Minnesota for Local Government Aid (LGA) and public safety ($113,336). The public safety grant allowed the City in 2024 to purchase a new squad care and expand the fire station. The city will also make repairs to the city pool.
  • Health care cost increased by $56,000 this year.

Over the past 6 years, operating expenses have increased 39%, with overall revenues increasing by 26%. Historically operating increases are due to adding positions for police, ambulance, and a finance director, as well as increases in wages, insurance, fuel, IT.

Downtown Street Project

Athletic Field

Wabasha Ambulance Service

2023 Highlights  

The City of Wabasha made major gains on key Council priorities with maintaining our aging infrastructure, increasing ambulance revenues, control over placement of dredged sand in Wabasha. City of Wabasha staff continued to provide excellent service to citizens in the area of public safety, public works, community development.

Matt Wobbe shows dump truck to Kaydenn Johnson at Public Works week.

  • The City completed reconstruction on Main Street this year, investing $2,839,154.65 in replacing 100 year plus sewer and water lines, adding better pedestrian access to Main Street. Of the total, $530,000 was reimbursed through a grant. The City also saved over $558,766 for taxpayers by obtaining low-interest loan financing through the State of Minnesota PFA fund. This project was a long-held priority for the utilities department due to the number of leaks and issues with the system in this area.
  • The Port Authority and City of Wabasha finalized their partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers, which will create a mutually beneficial partnership to remove dredged material from the Mississippi River.
  • The City invested $2,047,979 in a new athletic field, adding new baseball and softball fields, a hockey rink, pickleball, and tennis courts. A warming house and concessions will be completed next year. Thanks to the generosity of the community and the DNR grant, over $630,000 was raised in grants and donations towards the project.
  • Thanks to the National Eagle Center and Minnesota State Bonding funds, the City opened its new riverfront public dock this year.
  • City staff and the Port Authority awarded $166,000 in additional grants to help downtown businesses improve their HVAC systems.
  • Public works and emergency management departments came together to respond to the spring flooding by cleaning up parks, removing debris, barricading streets, and ensuring the wastewater system continued to run smoothly.

2023 Flood Wabasha- Athletic Field

Wabasha Public Works Department plants trees.

Public Safety

  • Police responded to 4,555 calls for service in 2023. Police also performed 9 drug-related investigations. The police department has the largest budget and accounts for 30% of the budget.
  • Wabasha Fire Department grew this year to 31 fire fighters and they responded to 104 calls for service. The calls include fires, motor vehicle crashes, hiking trail emergencies, lift assists, and water rescues. $10,000 for equipment replacement from gambling proceeds donated back to the City of Wabasha.
  • Wabasha Ambulance Service responded to 635 calls for service (heart attacks, strokes, diabetic emergencies, trauma, and crashes). There were 100+ more calls this year than last year. Wabasha became a part-time advanced life support service, which allows the service to provide more advanced types of care to patients in critical condition. It also allows WAS to support St. Elizabeth’s in taking inter-hospital transfer services. Overall service revenues increased by 46%.
  • 18 volunteers and four staff members provided 17,500 of EMS coverage a year.

Police Department

Wabasha Fire Department