Council works on zero increase for 2013, hears from department heads
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 2:46 AM
The Spring Grove City Council reviewed a myriad of line items from the 2013 proposed budget on Oct. 16, tweaking the document to get the total levy down to 2012 levels.
After over an hour of analysis and adjustments, the job appeared to be essentially complete. A preliminary total for the 2013 proposed levy now stands at $500,100, while the proposed levy passed on Aug. 7 was for $514,000. The certified levy for 2012 was $498,778.
The council has set Tuesday, Dec. 4, as the date to certify the 2013 levy, following a Truth in Taxation hearing.
In other news, the council heard quarterly reports from various city departments. A few highlights from those reports include:
The council voted to keep the SWIM Center open during posted hours next year, rather than allowing early closures for cool temperatures or a lack of swimmers.
Hiring a SWIM Center manager for 2013 was on the agenda, but was tabled after councilmember Lorilyn Dehning said she had received information from a management company relating to the pool and wanted to further investigate the option.
Fire Chief Daryl Melbostad reported that the used fire truck that his department recently bought from Caledonia is now in Spring Grove.
"A lot of the equipment from the retired fire truck is going on that vehicle," he told the council. "Our old truck is going up for sale."
The unit is currently being re-labeled with SGFD stenciling, Melbostad added.
The chief also said that turnout gear for his three newest firefighters is on order, as well as OSHA-mandated upgrades for other equipment.
Public Utilities director Paul Morken said he also has had to order updated gear per OSHA, including equipment for working in confined spaces.
Morken asked the council to allow him to begin removal of several ash trees that will go to make room for the Main Street reconstruction project next year.
"I'm trying to save money," he said, "If we can do the work ourselves while we have the time to get to it, I won't have to hire the job out."
Councilman Robert Vogel said he preferred to see the trees remain until at least the first of the year and made a motion to put off the removals until 2013. It was defeated when only he and Mayor Saundra Solum voted "aye."
Other members asked that Morken wait until the 100 percent plan is filed with MnDOT before cutting the trees. That document is scheduled to go by Dec. 13.
Morken said a new boiler is needed at the sewer plant and offered to bring bids to the next council meeting. He said the unit might cost $4,000 to $5,000.
Morken also stated that a report on recent hail damage to city structures should be available by then for consideration.
Police Chief Paul Folz submitted a report on second and third quarter activities of his department.
In 2012, 66 new criminal cases were recorded in the third quarter. That compares to 60 during the same time frame in 2011. The majority of those were bad checks.
One assault in the fifth degree was recorded, six cases of theft, two vandalisms and three DUIs were included in the report, along with hours worked, types of calls and more.
Vogel reported on public access SGTV. "It works," he said, adding that the franchise agreement from cable suppliers supports the service. "We will go on for the foreseeable future cannibalizing old equipment from other cities," Vogel added. "We're probably now at capacity, as far as what we can do."
Summer Recreation recapped
Summer Rec coordinator Julianne Lile called 2012 "a fairly successful season." Lile along with baseball coordinator Chris Strinmoen and representatives from Giants of the Earth were on hand to describe a wide variety of programs.
Strinmoen said that ideally, a coach-pitch offering should exist between tee-ball and peewee play. That would probably cover kids of about third-grade age.
"I think it worked well to have the arts-related programs handled by local non-profits while the city did sports," Solum said. Coordinators stated that the best improvement for 2013 would be to start the planning process earlier.
With that in mind, Vogel moved to re-hire Lile and Strinmoen for 2013. Seconded by councilmember Rachel Storlie, it passed via unanimous vote.
Vogel added that planning meetings should begin in February. Members didn't vote on the matter, but confirmed that the $2,500 in support that Giants received from the city in 2012 was adequate.
Other news from the council
By consensus, members asked City Administrator Theresa Coleman to post a notice of municipal general elections in the Spring Grove Herald, including polling places, date and times.
Also, due to the elections, the council will not meet on Nov. 6. Instead they will meet on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m.
The council will serve as the election canvassing board at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, at Spring Grove City Hall.
The purpose of the meeting will be to certify the results of Nov. 6 citywide elections.