In an effort to establish the 2021 Canton City budget and tax levy, Clerk Brock Bergey presented four alternatives to the city mayor and councilpersons for discussion and review at the September 9, 2020, meeting.
The differences in the proposals included street repairs, meeting clerk staffing needs, and wage budgeting.
Common to all proposals were exterior repairs to the bus shed, gazebo replacement, street light LED upgrades, Banyon software purchase, streets-related equipment and WiFi costs at the town hall. COLA options were also provided for city employees.
There was discussion regarding the benefits of hiring a deputy clerk, not only to meet the additional hours required, but to also provide for cross training and increased office hours as well as ensure coverage in the absence of the city clerk.
Budgeting for street improvement and/or curb and gutter were also discussed at length, either as a general fund expense or low interest loans/grant and special assessment situation.
The preliminary budget for 2021 with revenue, $278,296; expenses $253,200, representing a 4% levy, was approved and will be submitted by September 30, 2020. These budget amounts do not reflect COLA increases, but includes the wages for a part-time deputy clerk. Street repaving is not included in the budget. It was noted that this levy amount can be reduced at the December 2020 meeting, but cannot be increased once submitted.
Utility rate increases to be presented at a public meeting were discussed, with different scenarios and a comparison with other area communities’ utility charges reviewed. It was decided to see if Jeff Dale, MN Rural Water, would be available to attend the November public meeting.
Legal matter updates
•Review of the Steve Popplewell draft agreement delaying legal action until May 1, 2021.
•Robroy Kelly arraignment on October 14, 2020.
•Rick Nelson arraignment on November 3, 2020.
•Joel Torgerson appeal file September 4, 2020, with the Court of Appeals relating to two nuisance property ordinance convictions of August 6, 2020. Canton has incurred $1,906 in legal fees to date for this matter. The county attorney will continue to represent Canton.
•Lolly Melander pretrial conference scheduled for November 16, 2020; jury trial set for March 24 – April 2, 2021.
Consent agenda items of city bills and Infants Remembered in Silence, Inc. (IRIS) proclamation on October 15, 2020 were approved.
The clerk’s report also included updates of 25 delinquent utility accounts (15% of all accounts) for a total of approximately $2,900; average of $116 per account; zero disconnections.
Residents are reminded to comply with street address number requirements.
Additional clerk projects for this month include the fire department preliminary budget, Arlin Falck grant application and website ordinance and content updates.
In the Public Works report, paving is done on Hudson, but they are unable to patch alley by the Presbyterian Church due to poor surface condition. More information is needed before any course of action is determined.
The monthly police report was reviewed; Sheriff DeGeorge plans to attend October meeting to discuss their contract.
Planning Commission reported that a building application was received by Councilman Carl Ernst immediately prior to the meeting; this was tabled.
In other news, the Rockwell Collins grant was not received.
Coronavirus relief funds: $26,294 in CARES act funds has been disbursed to the City. Funds are to be utilized by the cities for their expenses first, then possible business grants, and finally other area organizations, including schools, should there be additional funds. The list of Canton needs include sanitation supplies, security system, office computers, conference phone, various electronic upgrades to enhance technology and fire department, five 800 Hz radios. Approval was given to purchase the sanitation supplies, computers, technology enhancements and radios. The town hall audio system, projector and screen were tabled until a quote is received. If not utilized, the funds would revert to the county if the purchases are not completed by November 15, 2020.
It was noted that Fillmore County also has business grant funds of up to $10,000 available for applicants.
The Marso Electric inspection report was reviewed, and tabled until October. Roof and ramp labor estimate of $700 from Kevin Scrabeck and materials of $830 from Hahn Lumber were discussed. Councilman Charlie Warner, who had spoken with Scrabeck regarding the project, outlined the planned updates, which were approved by the council utilizing budgeted funds.
Adopt-a-planter awards were given to: First Place – Fairchild Family, Second – Marcia Huerkamp, Third – Wayne Hall
A joint meeting with M-C School Board and Mabel council is scheduled for September 23 at 6 p.m.; Clerk Bergey and Mayor Johnson plan to attend. Warner may also be attending.
The next meeting will be held October 14 at 7 p.m. at the town hall.
The November council meeting date is moved to November 10, 2020, at 6 p.m. A public hearing to be held at 6 p.m. with regular meeting at 7 p.m. at the town hall. The date change is due to Veterans Day on November 11.