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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 had already been at Harmony Healthcare and other businesses earlier that day. She will be taking suggestions and concerns to the capitol during the next legislative session.

Ropes explained that many cuts are going to be made at the state level, and she's interested in how it will affect the small cities, which she considers an extension of state government.

"We need to come up with different ways to make cuts," said Ropes. "There are going to be services and resources lost due to the cuts. It's a human problem, not a math problem."

Ropes said it will be a difficult time coming up, but we will get through it. "I don't want to sugar coat it," she said. "It's going to be bad."

The state legislature is facing a $5.2 billion shortfall in the budget, and is looking to make some huge cuts. One of the cuts could be LGA, or Local Government Aid, that cities receive from the state twice a year. The next LGA payment is coming up this month. Right now, cities are unsure of whether they will get some of the money, all of it, or none at all.

City Administrator Jerome Illg pointed out that the only revenue the city has comes from property taxes and LGA, and right now that is his biggest concern. He added that the city has been expecting money in December and can't change what they have spent the past six months.

Mayor Dave Kingsley mentioned that they have subsidized the sewer out of the General Fund, and if they don't get the money, sewer rates will have to be raised.

Ropes said the state needs to collect sufficient funds at the state levels to make sure they can pay the cities. When they don't, cities have to turn to the tax payers. She and others are speaking out against that kind of budgeting.

Council member Linda Grover said Harmony is in a better position to weather this than some communities, but they are still going into their reserves just to maintain. Even though they have kept the budget increase down to two percent, it is taking the city down to bare bones.

So many cities have been making cuts and trimming their budgets already, and have no place left to cut. Ropes suggested doing a budget exercise to plan for an LGA cut of five percent, as w .....
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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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Lanesboro council approves 2009 budget

Fri, Dec 5th, 2008
Posted in Government

Members of the Lanesboro City Council approved the budget and levy for 2009 during their meeting on December 1. During the Public Hearing held before the regular meeting, there were no residents present with questions or concerns about the budget. T ..... 
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Rushford Council approves a slew of recommendations

Fri, Nov 28th, 2008
Posted in Government

RUSHFORD - The Rushford city council heard a slew of recommendations from two of its commissions last Monday and approved all of them.

From the Planning Commission was what administrator Windy Block's newsletter referred to as one of those " ..... 
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Complaint filed over improper debris burning

Fri, Nov 21st, 2008
Posted in Government

PRESTON - Kay Spangler attended the November 17 Preston City Council to explain her grievances about the demolition and burning of the debris from two homes. The debris was hauled to a pit area on the property of David and Rita Wilson on the west ed ..... 
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Planning Commission recommends approval of Harmony quarry

Fri, Nov 21st, 2008
Posted in Government

An over flow crowd spilled out of the commissioner's board room at the Fillmore County Planning Commission's November 20 meeting. Keith Bruening, Bruening Rock Products, Inc., Decorah, Iowa, had applied for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for a rock ..... 
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