Albertville budget assumes $100,000 cost for administrator termination

The Albertville City Council heard that the 2013 budget would assume $100,000 unbudgeted expenses for separating with the previous city administrator.

At the recent budget workshop, city finance director Tina Lannes said there would be an added $100,000 expense in administration “for unbudgeted expenses for the separation with the previous city administrator.”

The council in a 3-2 vote terminated former city administrator Larry Kruse in April. Mayor Mark Meehan and councilors Jillian Hendrickson and John Vetsch supported making the change; councilors Larry Sorensen and Dan Wagner were opposed.

Hendrickson has filed for the mayor seat in this year’s election. Sorensen has filed for city council.

Sorensen later indicated disfavor with the budget.

“2013 budget talks have begun in Albertville,” Sorensen said. “We all knew it would be a challenging year, but there is no way I will support the proposed 6.4% tax increase.”

Sorensen was referring to the proposed levy increase, which calls for a $3,210,675 budget that would have a 6.44 percent higher levy than last year. That would be the biggest levy increase since multiple 13 percent increases in 2007 and 2008.

The 2012 levy, on the other hand, was only 1.5 percent higher than the 2011 levy.

The $100,000 expense for the administrator comes from Kruse’s severance package, legal fees, and spending unbudgeted dollars to hire interim city administrator Bob Thistle. The city also faces search firm costs from hiring a permanent administrator.

The $100,000 adds to about half the levy increase.

Other budget notes include:

• Revenues down $16,000 from lack of securing a renter for the city-owned building at 5975 Main Ave.

• Administrative fees down $13,000 from contracting out building official with St. Michael.

• Charges for services down $6,000 for fewer properties to mow.

• Budget reduced $45,000 from contracting out building official with St. Michael.

• General liability insurance down by $15,000 based on agent switch and last year’s renewal.

• Cost of living increase of 2.4 percent for staff.

• Health insurance increase of 10 percent.

• Fire budget increase of $32,000 to reimburse the general fund for the fire back pay due to program errors from 2008-12.

• $40,000 increase for attorney and planning “to more accurately reflect what is spent each year for the professional service,” Lannes wrote in her report.

The council will continue review of the budget at an Aug. 20 workshop. Next would be adopting the preliminary levy in September, and adopting the final levy Dec. 3.

-Compiled by Aaron Brom