At their August 14 meeting, the Spring Valley City Council entered the season of budgets as they reviewed the annual department budget requests. This is the first step in the budget process as they will be set later in the year.
Within the legislative department, City Administrator Deb Zimmer noted a $200 decrease in the liability insurance. Due to it being an election year in 2024, there is an increase in the election budget of $8,050, this is an of $1,506.31 from previous election years. Administration has an increase of $8,002 partially due to salary and insurance increases that were not reflected in last year’s budget. There will be a $10,000 increase in legal fees, employee safety will increase by $50, planning and zoning showed a decrease of $6,500, and city hall has an increase of $250.
As the city transitions to the new Fillmore County Sheriff Department contract, they will see an increase of $38,505. The contract will include the county taking over maintenance and ownership of the squad cars which was previously handled by the city.
The library is showing a slight increase of $4,510, most of which is because of rising costs of supplies and utilities.
The fire department is asking for a $14,300 increase. Fire Chief Dustin Johnson stated most of this is due to “the price of everything increasing.”
Johnson shared that the costs include replacing the tires and doing repairs to the department’s grass rig, batteries in their 10 radios are due to be replaced, three new sets of turnout gear, painting the building, the purchase of 300 additional feet of hose and renewing their physical and fit tests.
When asked by council member Justin Mlinar, Johnson stated the only thing the department could safely cut would be painting the building.
“What I’m asking for is for our safety and everyone’s safety,” Johnson stated.
Mike Zimmer spoke for the emergency management department, which is asking for an $1,100 increase. He explained these are for the repair, maintenance and supply budget, as well as the phone cost.
Public Works Director Chad Hindt shared the street department is looking at an increase of $52,039. Most of this, $26,150, is because the street department and public works are now combined and the wages previously under the sewer fund budget has been transferred to the street department budget.
As for the remaining increase, Hindt said, “We’re not asking for a lot. It’s unfortunate what it costs to do things and if I could get by with less, I would ask for less. I don’t even know if what I’m asking for is enough to cover the actual increases.”
The sewer fund is showing a large increase this year of $122,649. According to Hindt, the majority of this is because of the work going into updating and upgrading the Waste Water Treatment Plant. The utilities are estimated to rise by $16,000 and required water testing fees are also increasing.
Parks and Recs Director John Fenske noted slight increase in his budget, which includes a raise of $197 for the pool, a $1,100 increase for summer rec, $5,350 more for the community center due to rising insurance and utilities costs and a $10,721 increase for the parks.
Ambulance Co-director Sue Puffer shared the ambulance department will be looking for an increase of $18,250. This includes a 7% wage increase because of the new hires, truck maintenance and the utilities increase.
“Basically our budget is the same as it was last year, which was bare bones,” Puffer told the council.
To help offset the increase, the department is considering increasing their base rate and rate per mile, neither of which has been raised in a number of years.
Economic Development Authority (EDA) Director Chris Hahn showed a budget increase of $7,898. A portion of this due to a raise in the contract with CEDA, with whom Hahn is employed, as well as promotional expenses which is offset by revenue created by the department.
Street improvement project
Drew Weber, of Bolton and Menk, presented the council with a change order request for the ongoing street project.
“This has been in the works for a while and is very minor,” Weber explained. “The only one that involves any dollars is an additional catch basin.”
Weber noted this is because Fillmore County is using Minnesota State Aid for some of the costs of the project and when the plans were reviewed by the state aid group, they found an additional catch basin was necessary for excess run off.
The total cost of this is $3,625.86, which is split between the city of Spring Valley and the county.
Other changes include a change to a higher end bedding material and the removal for the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority (PFA) packet from the contract as it was not utilized for this project.
The council then approved the purchase and installation of a flashing pedestrian crosswalk warning system at the Maple Lane crosswalk at the cost of $22,207. The contract was awarded to Egan Company.
Weber shared that bids had been received for the portion of the 2023 street improvement project, which includes Territorial Road from Sample Road to West High Street, Broadway Avenue from Jefferson Street to Highways 16 and 63 and the alleyway north of Jefferson Street from Broadway Avenue to Highways 16 and 63.
According to Weber, Rochester Sand and Gravel came in with the lowest bid of $555,000. The council awarded the contract to Rochester Sand and Gravel.
The council approved the fire department’s request to hire Cody Merkel, Cody Keefe and Andrea Dahl.
The first street improvement pay estimate of $272,904.23 was approved.
Fenske shared Rack’s Bar and Grill has donated $1,200 for playground equipment in Tower Park.
The next council meeting will be on September 11 at 6 p.m.