At the December 9, 2020, Canton City Council meeting, the proposed 2021 final operating budget and tax levy was reviewed.
General Fund expenditures of $257,945 (increase of $4,745 from proposed) and revenues of $260,180 (decrease of $8,116 from proposed) are due to the proposed reduction to the certified proposed 4% tax levy submitted to Fillmore County at the September 9 meeting. The net difference is a positive $2,235.
Forecasted revenue is sufficient to cover 2021 budgeted expenses without an increase to the tax levy, resulting in no change in the property taxes payable to Canton in 2021, (remaining at the 2020 level), generating $159,175 in annual revenue.
Expenditures include administrative staff wages totaling $26,400 for the current city clerk/treasurer (24 hours per week) and proposed deputy clerk (16 hours per week). This includes a 1.3% COLA increase for the city clerk/treasurer. Wages will be split between the Water/Sewer and General Fund for both positions. Total wages do not include PERA and FICA deductions.
Maintenance staff wages total $52,625 for the Public Works director (40 hours per week) and maintenance position (20 hours per week), including a 1.3% COLA for both positions, with no change in funding sources for either position.
Other expenditures approved in September include the transition to a new fund accounting and payroll software system, the elimination of general fund dollars for street repaving projects, inclusion of funds to make exterior repairs to the former school bus shed on Prairie Avenue, and replacement of the deteriorating wooden gazebo at the Veterans Memorial site, as well as additional equipment purchases for the streets department.
It was noted that the approved budget was $90,000 less than two years ago. It was also noted that a portion of this reduction is due to removing the street repair item from the General Fund budget.
Following discussion, CY2021 General Fund Budget: Resolution 2020-09 and CY 2021 Tax Levy: Resolution 2020-10 were approved, to be submitted for final tax levy certification. The minutes and consent agenda item – bills, was approved.
•Clerk – Two pending water disconnections. City hall will be closed December 25 (Christmas) and December 31 (New Year’s Eve).
•Legal – Steve Popplewell, building maintenance pretrial January 12, 2021; Robroy Kelly, abandoned vehicle pretrial February 9, 2021; Lolly Melander settlement conference March 8, with jury trial scheduled for March 24 – April 2, 2021; Danny Whalen, public nuisance, on supervised probation until February 10, 2021; Joel Torgerson, building maintenance and public nuisance violation – there are no significant improvements to the structure and now has an additional inoperable vehicle as well as other debris. Attorney Corson suggested options for cleanup or civil action. Appeal was noted as still pending guilty determination. A letter is to be sent clarifying remaining issues needing attention by December 31, with additional clarification as to civil action to be requested from Attorney Corson. Any additional action was tabled.
•Reminder that increase to utility rates will not be implemented until January 2021 and will be reflected on the February 2021 bill.
•Public Works – Jon Nordsving. Replacement of metal detector required for utility line locating is needed. A $975 quote was obtained. Approval was given to purchase.
Nordsving stated the flag pole at fire hall is in poor condition with discussion as to replacement options for two poles at the fire hall and city hall.
The possibility of utilizing any donations received by the city for designated projects was also mentioned.
Water service at the Lunde property was discussed; $555 is owed to the city for lawn mowing, but property has not been transferred and there are issues regarding who would be able to apply for water service. The city could update the utility shutoff before the ground freezes but since the responsibility from the curb stop to the home is the property owner’s responsibility, no city replacement or repair will extend past the shutoff.
•Fire – Chief Ryan Lange updated the council on the replacement of the jaws of life/spreader. Lange applied for and received a $36,000 grant for the purchase and also obtained a $1,000 grant from Randy Mayer to be applied towards grain bin removal equipment, with the remaining cost of $852 approved. Lange recommended Brenden Kerns as replacement firefighter; approved. Bill Richardson will be assuming the role as department chief. Once again, Lange was thanked by all on the council for his service above and beyond for the benefit of Canton and the area served by the department.
Also approved was the $2,000 donation from the department to the city and also the issuance of $2,000 to the department PERA account.
•Planning Commission – one issue reported regarding improper parking around the town hall. Unless otherwise indicated, parking on all city streets requires parallel parking. No parking designated areas should also be observed.
Coronavirus Relief Funds – all awarded funds, totaling $26,294 were spent. $500 will be paid from the General Fund for additional chairs.
Mitson House electric – five fixtures will need to be replaced at a cost for labor and materials of $100 per fixture. Approval was given for Marso Electric to complete the replacement.
2021 fee schedule – Ordinance 2020-02; approved. Changes were to utility and garbage only. Fee schedule ordinance summary publication – approval to put into the paper.
Checking account structure: Resolution 2020-11 – approved with it noted that there is $650,000 security pledge due to funds in excess of FDIC insurance coverage.
Deputy clerk position – hire of Barb Kerns as part-time deputy clerk, 16 hours per week at $15 per hour approved. There were six applicants with four interviews conducted.
Hawkins and Ash CPA contract for city audit was approved.
City hall hours – Monday – Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., effective January 1, 2021.
Jamie Knutson owes for blacktop repairs, which he agreed upon, and unpaid fire call charges totaling $1,500. A letter was sent regarding unpaid bill to the city due December 30, 2020. Tabled until the January 2021 meeting.
Mayor Johnson recognition – 24 years of service to Canton with special thanks for going above and beyond the duties of an elected official. Charlie Warner made a statement on behalf of the council and Johnson was presented with engraved gavel documenting her years as Canton’s mayor.
The next Canton City Countil meeting is January 13, 2021, at 6 p.m.