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Rushford council considers impact of aid cuts


Fri, Dec 26th, 2008
Posted in Government

Bitter gusts and subzero temperatures swirled outside the Rushford city hall Monday, December 22. But there were ill winds blowing inside the council chambers as well while those present absorbed the gloomy financial forecast.

Rumors had circulated that citizens planned to show up to protest at this second hearing of the 2009 city budget where staff proposed an 8% increase in the levy. But those citizens never materialized, maybe because of the weather, but likely because of Governor Pawlenty's announcement of specific, drastic cuts to Local Government Aid (LGA) to cities like Rushford.

The news seemed to cast the local budget issue into a slightly different light.

Like most cities with a population over 1,000, Rushford will experience a greater than 4% cut in total aid it was expecting for the current year.

"We've already lost $48,000 we were expecting this year," administrator Windy Block announced early in the meeting. "The question is what more we'll lose in 2009-2010."

To try to bring reality to the looming threat of future cuts, the staff had prepared a "what if" scenario, starting with what 2009 would look like with a 10% cut of $63,341. Most think a 10% cut is foolish to hope for, given the state's immense deficit, measured in the billions.

The staff figured that a 30% cut in 2009 would mean a loss of nearly $200,000 in LGA. Block says he's trying to be optimistic and hope for no more than a 20% future cut.

The meeting was punctuated by a lot of strained silence as many no doubt pondered what city services might need to be cut in the future, which jobs cut back, or even lost.

Laura Deering maintained her position that even with the new gloomy state financial picture, or maybe because of it, an 8% levy increase was just too much of a burden to impose on taxpayers at this time. She thought it was time for the council to make a statement by proposing a lower 6% levy.

Block repeated the math fact that both he and city clerk Kathy Zacher explained at the previous meeting: an 8% levy increase does not translate into an 8% tax increase for individuals, particularly with the unique situation of flood recovery in Rushford where the past few years have been anything but typical. With more and more businesses and homeowners coming back "online", the tax base increases and the burden is spread.

Not to go with the levy increase would seriously impair flood recovery and Rushford's f .....
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Lanesboro officials concerned over possible cut in LGA

Fri, Dec 19th, 2008
Posted in Government

Lanesboro city council members voiced their concern over the possibility of the city losing part of their anticipated government aid payment of $121,517 scheduled for December 26. (See chart detailing possible cuts in LGA and MVHC to local communiti ..... 
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Preston anticipates reduced aid

Fri, Dec 19th, 2008
Posted in Government

Preston, like cities and counties across the state, is bracing for bad news come December 26 when a second payment of Local Government Aid (LGA) from the state is due. Representative-elect Greg Davids was on hand to discuss the state's revenue short ..... 
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Recognition for Fillmore County's Brown

Fri, Dec 19th, 2008
Posted in Government

Some positive news for the county was announced at the county board meeting on December 16. At the recent meeting of the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC), Fillmore County was recognized with two awards and the election of Commissioner Duane B ..... 
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Ropes tells Harmony council "tough times ahead"

Fri, Dec 12th, 2008
Posted in Government

HARMONY - Senator Sharon Ropes visited the Harmony City Council on December 9th to discuss the state's budget and the economic situation. She was there to answer questions and hear from the council about the challenges that Harmony is facing. Ropes ..... 
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Spring Valley Council adjusts loan payback

Fri, Dec 12th, 2008
Posted in Government

High on the agenda of the December 8 Spring Valley City Council was the consideration of a proposal by Jeff Allman, President of the River Valley Partners, LLC currently operating the Commercial House Apartments. In a letter to the council, Allman r ..... 
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Rushford Council looks at tax swings

Fri, Dec 12th, 2008
Posted in Government

Taxes in Rushford have become akin to the weather: if you don't like them, stick around and they'll change. Sometimes wildly.

"Until we get things back to normal, it's going to take a few years" of some crazy swings, city administrator Windy ..... 
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County Board approves Harmony quarry

Fri, Dec 5th, 2008
Posted in Government

PRESTON - Zoning Administrator Christopher Graves addressed the commissioners for the first time at their December 2 meeting. Chairman Randy Dahl welcomed County Attorney Brett Corson back from his year of service in Iraq.

The board conside ..... 
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City of Preston applies for Small Cities Rehabilitation Grant

Fri, Dec 5th, 2008
Posted in Government

Preston EDA Director Cathy Enerson representing Southeast Minnesota Development Corporation (SEMDC) gave a presentation on the rehab grant at the city council's December 2 meeting. City Administrator Joe Hoffman reported that the city has been invit ..... 
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