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Budget concerns drive Rushford Council decisions

Fri, Feb 14th, 2003
Posted in Features

Police Chief Sam Stensgard joined the Rushford City Council at their February 10 meeting to discuss the possibility of purchasing a new squad car. Stensgard had previously sent a memo to the council outlining his recommendation to purchase a second police car this year and then move to a three-year rotation for replacing squad cars. This would give the police two working squad cars in case of breakdowns or city events such as parades and celebrations. By waiting an additional year, the city could spend less per year on the vehicle with an increase, however, in insurance for the additional vehicle.

Chief Stensgard added, "Im trying to make sure that if people call for the police, well be able to get there!"

Reacting to Chief Stensgard, the council chose to take some time to look at the capital budget and prioritize the citys needs, delaying a decision on the squad car purchase. With a potential 42% cut in Local Government Aid (LGA) from the state, the council was reluctant to spend funds at this time on a new squad car. If the state does indeed reduce LGA by 42%, the city would need to cut $160,000 from its budget. Mayor T.S. Roberton emphasized once again that the city should consider this a permanent reduction in state aid and not just a short-term reduction.

In later discussion, the council chose to delay a decision on paying council members who attend committee meetings with city employees who are being paid to attend the meetings. Currently, the council members are not paid. If the council chose to change the policy, an ordinance would be needed as well as a public hearing. Mayor Roberton pointed out that, "this is a poor time to talk about paying, when here we are, crying poor."

Rushford Days Committee

Brad Woxland and Jenny Miller presented information to the council about next summers Rushford Days celebration. A teen dance will once again be held at Creekside on the Thursday night of the celebration as well as another public dance on Friday night with music by Alibi, a popular band with a large local following. The council inquired about liquor license, insurance coverage, police coverage at the dances, and the possibility of a temporary road for tractor access to the tractor pull area in Creekside Park. Woxland informed the council that the committee had obtained guardrails free from Minowa during the North End Bridge demolition. These guardrails will be installed at the tractor pull site. With the guardrails in place to increase safety, the pull can be expanded to include tractors other than just field tractors.

Other business

In other business the council:

passed a liquor license ordinance amendment with fees of $1,000 for "for-profit" and $500 for "non-profit" on-sale liquor licenses retroactive for the year 2003.

set a joint meeting with Rushford Village for February 25 to go over the sewer rate study and recommendations.

approved Andy Prinsen as a member of the Electric Utilities Commission.

adopted a resolution supporting legislation to provide improved funding options for city street improvements.

heard that the Charter Commission has been formally established by law and would be meeting with a representative from the League of Minnesota Cities to get started.

heard that city businesses would be going up drastically in assessed value for taxation purposes. (Mayor Roberton shared the information that the State Banks valuation had increased by 61%.)

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