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Senator Ropes in Preston: We are all in this together


Fri, Jun 5th, 2009
Posted in Government



State Senator Sharon Erickson-Ropes-DFL addressed the Preston City Council at their June 1 meeting. She discussed the recent legislative session and inquired as to how the city dealt with the loss of Local Government Aid (LGA) funds totaling about $45,000 this last December.

City Administrator Joe Hoffman explained the unallotment of expected funds required the city to use reserves as 95% of the budget was already spent at the time the reduction of funding was announced in December 2008. Capital purchases have been delayed. He added Preston is in the middle of the road when compared with other cities in the amount of reserves held compared to general fund expenditures.

Ropes asked about the city's bonding rating, which can be jeopardized if a city doesn't maintain adequate reserves or savings. A lower rating would result in higher interest rates on bonds. Hoffman said Preston, like many small communities, is unrated. She was not aware of that fact.

Ropes explained the state legislature presented Governor Tim Pawlenty, at the end of their session, a second fully balanced budget appropriations bill, which he later vetoed. She added that he promised to balance the last two billion himself stating, "He doesn't need the legislature." The senator made it clear that the legislature's budget protected LGA with zero cuts. The governor needs to come up with a plan by July 1, but as of now there are a lot of unknowns. There are rumors that the governor will postpone the cuts as much as possible to the second year of the biennium, supposedly giving city and county governments time to plan.

Ropes concluded the only choice may be to raise property taxes. She insisted property taxes are "the hardest way for tax payers to pay taxes," saying "income taxes are fairer." Hoffman added property taxes are especially hard on retirees.

The senator said the state is facing the largest deficit in its history due mostly to the recession of the global economy. She said the state expects 20% less revenue due to the recession. K-12 education will be held flat thanks to the federal stimulus dollars coming in. She expects cuts for colleges and universities. Pawlenty has already cut General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC), which will hurt the "poorest of the poor" according to Ropes.

Unallotment

Ropes was critical of Pawlenty's plan to use his unallotment authority to balance the budget. She noted it has only been used five ti .....
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Bunge seeks 'Conditional Use Permit' at Lanesboro City Council meeting

Fri, Jun 5th, 2009
Posted in Government

Members of the Lanesboro City Council took a break from the usual at their last meeting on June 1. Street Superintendent Andy Drake took the group on a bus tour of the city's streets. He showed the conditions of some of the streets, and pointed out ..... 
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Ideas abound on tri-city tourism

Fri, Jun 5th, 2009
Posted in Government

At a Town Meeting Initiative this past March, the desire to enhance tourism in the cities of Rushford, Rushford Village, and Peterson were one of three principal ideas that developed. Now, community and business members, hoping to spur economic grow ..... 
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City of Rushford Village Council Meeting May 5, 2009

Fri, Jun 5th, 2009
Posted in Government

Pledge to Flag

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor, Gordon Johnson; Council members present: Dennis Overland, Roger Ekern, Dale Schwanke and Liz Atkinson, Howard Otis - Zoning Administrator and Judy Graham - Clerk.

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'Junk Ordinance' revisited at Spring Valley City Council meeting

Fri, May 29th, 2009
Posted in Government

The first order of business to be tackled by the Spring Valley City Council at the May 27th meeting was another round at violations of the Junk Ordinance. Things have been relatively calm over the winter but now that the snow has cleared and the gra ..... 
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County employee health screening

Fri, May 29th, 2009
Posted in Government

Health Educator Brenda Pohlman informed the board at their May 26 meeting as to the results of the employee health screening. This is the third year participating employees have been screened for vision, hearing, flexibility, body mass index, blood ..... 
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Audit shows city status at Rushford City Council meeting

Fri, May 29th, 2009
Posted in Government



The May 26th meeting of the Rushford City Council commenced with a detailed start, courtesy of an audit report from Smith Schaefer & Associates, Ltd. Tom Wente documented the findings.

The information presented further showcased the ..... 
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Preston looking at community gardens

Fri, May 22nd, 2009
Posted in Government



Councilman Jon Haugan encouraged the establishment of community garden plots at the city's May 18 meeting. He explained the gardens could be helpful for people that lack their own space for a garden during this time of economic woes. Haugan ..... 
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Lanesboro reviews expenses and revenues

Fri, May 22nd, 2009
Posted in Government

Jason Boynton from Smith Schafer and Associates presented the Lanesboro City Council with their audit report for 2008. Boynton went over the highlights with the council, starting with the city's revenues.

Boynton pointed out that the levy co ..... 
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