City Clerk Joel Young presented numbers on the proposed preliminary 2019 budget and levy at the September 10 Chatfield city council meeting.
At the September 24 meeting, councilors will have to set the preliminary levy for 2019. When the final levy is set in December it can be lower but not higher.
Young said his presentation includes typical goals and values. One goal is to keep a fairly level and consistent tax rate. This will be frustrated this year because of the new swimming pool. A 3% increase in the pay grid in 2019 is included in the budget proposal. There will be little change in health care costs due to a change in health insurance providers.
Young presented two charts. The first shows a 4.9% levy increase centered on the staff budget and operational expenses. Analysis shows a normal increase of 4.5-5%. The budget will be the same in 2019 as it was in 2018 relative to services.
The second chart includes $284,000 for payment on swimming pool referendum bonds and possibly $105,000 for parkland acquisition. If the parkland acquisition becomes a reality it will affect the budget for five years. These expenses make a 5-7% levy increase impossible. This chart shows a 30% levy increase for 2019.
Captain DeGeorge introduced himself as a candidate for Fillmore County Sheriff. He has worked in the sheriff’s office for 21 years, starting as a deputy sheriff, then in undercover narcotics, to patrol sergeant, and then to captain and lead investigator. He has held the last position for 10 years.
He grew up in Rushford and lives on a family farm south of Rushford with his wife and two children. DeGeorge wants to work with structured crime prevention, community outreach, and responsible management of the Sheriff’s Office budget and resources.
DeGeorge feels it is necessary to get to know people, issues, and problems. The leadership in the Sheriff’s Office needs to reflect that.
Other business in brief
• Ambulance director Sue Kester has been honored with the Jefferson Award for community service.
• Fire Chief Ryan Priebe received authorization to add a UTV to the capital goods plan for 2019. The unit would be used for trail (Lost Creek Hiking Trail) rescues and wildland fires. It is estimated to cost $29,000 to $30,000.
• The sixth payment to Edge Contracting, Inc. for Enterprise Dr. in the amount of $26,359.74 was approved. Councilor Mike Urban voted no. This leaves $10,000 in retainage for turf repairs. The total paid to date including this payment is $692,912.87.
• The first consideration of each of the following ordinances was approved: #433 Miniature Pigs, #434 Rural Residential (councilor Josh Broadwater abstained), and #435 Mixed Use Development.
• A resolution supporting a library funding partnership for public libraries, 60% city and 40% Fillmore County was approved. Currently, the cities pay 70%, the county 30%. The cities are asking the county to gradually increase its funding to the 40% level by 2024.
• A first payment to Fraser Construction in the amount of $31,540.38 was approved for demolition and removal of the old swimming pool. The total contract is $105,985. Mayor Russ Smith commented that the pool is demolished and gone, a step in the process.
• A payment of $117,982 to contractor Ricchio, Inc. was approved for mobilization and purchase of items for swimming pool.
• Urban reported on the Public Works meeting. He stressed that flushable wipes (or disposable wet wipes) are not flushable, but are very harmful, clogging up the sewer system, causing sewer backups.
• Young reported Bootleg Liquor has been sold to Claire Conway and Travis Bartels. Authorized contingent approval was given for off-sale liquor license for 52 Bottle Shop LLC.
• The Harley Owner Group (HOG) organized a ride with 40 bikes and 78 riders, raising $2,375 which was donated to the ambulance service.