Maple Grove approves preliminary 2013 budget

Council recognizes citizens that saved a house from fire

The Maple Grove City Council unanimously adopted 2013 preliminary budget during its Tuesday, Sept. 4 meeting.

The council also commended city residents for helping to try and save a neighbor’s home from a fire back in July.

In other action, the council approved a special council meeting for Monday, Oct. 15, at 6 p.m. This meeting will allow the Mayor, Councilors, City Administrator and Public Works Director to tour the Bass Lake Road project.

 

2013 PRELIMINARY BUDGET

Finance Director Jim Knutson presented the council with 2013 preliminary budget.

The proposed budget totals for 2013 are $34,513,600, which is an increase of 1.32 percent over the 2012 budget. “This is the smallest increase in over 30 years for the city,” Knutson said. These include revenues and expenditures.

He added the city continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the metro area. Current estimates for the city’s population in April 2013 are projected to be 63,760, or a 1.19 percent increase from 2012.

The 2013 proposed budget includes the elimination of three positions within the city — special assessment technician, records management clerk and deputy police chief. Also reduced will be a fire secretary position from full-time to three-quarter time.

Proposed expenditures for 2013 include the addition of police officer and a facilities technician in the Government Buildings Department.

Homes in the city will see a 1.51 percent decrease in city taxes, or about $14.22 less for next year. This is due to the market value on homes with average market values ($234,900), which will see a decrease of 7.34 percent.

The 2013 proposed tax levy is $31,627,600, an increase of 1.41 percent from 2012.

The city is required to certify/adopt the proposed levy and send it to the county by Sept. 15. The city can reduce the proposed budget, but cannot increase it before its officially adopted in December.

Mayor Mark Steffenson said he thought it was great for the average homeowner see the tax levy for the city go down 1.5 percent.

Councilor Leann Sargent said everyone did a great job with getting the budget to where it was at the meeting. “Thank you [Jim] and all department heads and City Administrator Al Madsen for really toning down the budget,” she added.

A budget hearing has been set for Monday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m.

 

COMMENDATION AWARDS

Maple Grove Fire Chief Scott Anderson presented awards to several residents that assisted with trying to save a neighbor’s home from a fire July 30. The fire was at the home of Michael and Robin Reichert, 9775 Troy Lane.

Anderson said he wanted to recognize the actions of a few to save a home. There was substantial damage to the home from the fire.

“Kids that saw fire and neighbors, took action to stop the fire from spreading to the attic and saved home so it can be rebuild eventually,” he added.

The first resident recognized was Jacob Olson, who was playing in his backyard at the time of the fire and noticed smoke coming from the neighbor’s home. He went inside and told his mom.

Chief Anderson gave Jacob a children’s firefighter hat and a fire badge.

Benjamin Olson was alerted by his son of the fire. He ran across the lawn and saw the fire blow out a window. He then went to see if anyone was home, which no one was. He then went to the rear of the home and helped to other individuals spray water on the fire.

“What happened was that there was a fire in the basement,” Anderson. “The heat caused the window the break out and fire was coming up the back exterior wall of the house… By their actions, they kept the fire from spreading.”

Marissa Olson was also honored for her immediate response in calling 911 after her son told her about the smoke. Unsure of the exact address, she walked with her two children and gave the dispatcher the correct address.

Steven Salz saw an usual situation outside, thinking there might have been fog. He alerted his father and he and his father determined there was a fire. His father called 911.

Lee Salz was alerted about the fire from his son and called 911. He then ran to the rear of the home and he and another neighbor grabbed a second hose and helped a third resident spray water on the fire at the rear of the home until the fire department arrived.

Colleen Rorvick saw smoke and called 911. She shared information to the dispatcher with the fact that no one was home and there were no pets inside. She also called homeowners to let them know about the fire and to come home.

Steven Morris, a Maple Grove city employee, noticed smoke and went to find the source. He used a garden hose to slow down the spread of the fire when he discovered the fire.

“As an employee and as a resident of Maple Grove, and 24-year retired veteran of our Maple Grove Fire Department, Steve’s actions are commendable,” Anderson said.

Chief Anderson told the homeowners of where the fire was, “I hope things are going better for you day by day.”

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