The Medina City Council Tuesday, Sept. 4, approved a preliminary property tax levy for 2013 of $3,284,592 — up by 11.9 percent from the actual levy of $2,935,703 in 2012. The money would go towards the city’s general fund budget and debt service costs for public improvements.
The City Council also dealt with many other items, including bonding for renovating the recently purchased Clam Corps Building to house the public works and police departments. See separate story about bonding for the Clam Corps project. Here are some highlights from the rest of the meeting.
PRELIMINARY TAX LEVY
Medina must certify its preliminary property tax levy to Hennepin County by Sept. 15. All cities have until late December to refine budget and tax levy figures before certifying final figures for 2013. Final figures can be equal to or lower than preliminary figures, but not higher.
Medina will set its final tax levy and general fund budget for 2013 at a 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, City Council meeting. Now is the time to give city officials feedback on both, because after that meeting, it will be too late. Next spring Medina taxpayers will have the chance to protest their specific property valuations at the Board of Appeals and Adjustments.
Before the City Councilors could take action on the property tax levy, they needed to decide whether to move both the public works and police departments to the newly purchased Clam Corps Building or to move public works only at this time. The council decided to move both departments. This decision added $50,200 to the city’s debt service levy — bringing it to $558,474. When this figure is added to the $2,726,118 general fund levy, the total preliminary property tax levy amounts to $3,284,592.
Taxpayers will get some help from Medina’s decision to reduce its debt service levy by $51,510. The city found other revenue sources to pay this cost.
The preliminary general fund budget of $3,776,425 for 2013 is down by $10,000 from 2012. The $2,726,118 general fund levy for 2013 would provide the largest amount of revenue to pay for the general fund budget.
Increased debt service costs are the reason the overall property tax levy would go up. The property tax levy would be up by 4.1 percent over the $2,619,335 for 2012, but total general fund revenues will be down by $10,000 (.3 percent) from 2012. The largest expenditures for 2013 are estimated to be $1,447,660 for the police department, $564,692 for administration and $563,549 for public works.
BALL FIELD UPGRADES
With complicated financial decisions out of the way, the City Council turned to a lighter topic — upgrades for the ball fields at Hamel Legion Park. The council accepted a donation from the Hamel Athletic Club (HAC) to pay for all of the upgrades and said. “Thank you very much.” Cost for everything is estimated to amount to $37,516.
HAC has four upgrades in mind. One is reshaping and redesigning the southwest ball field, including sodding the infield. These improvements will address drainage issues. A second upgrade would be irrigating Hawks Field, the Little League Field and the southwest field. The other upgrades will be a scoreboard for the Little League Field and batting cages in the area between the Hawks and Little League Fields.
Kevin MacIntosh, of HAC, said his club expects to make the improvements this fall.
Mayor Tom Crosby said, “This is a generous offer and a good opportunity.”
Public Works Superintendent Steve Scherer reminded the City Council of Medina’s goal of getting lights installed at the ball fields before people purchase homes in the Enclave housing developments. Both are being constructed south of Hamel Legion Park.
Medina has attempted for several years to get grant money for installing lights at the Legion Park ball fields. In 2010 and 2011 Hennepin County Youth Sports turned down the city’s applications for a matching grant. But the Twins Community Fund did award the city a $25,000 matching grant, thus enabling Medina to do some preliminary work on the lighting project.
The City Council authorized city staff to apply for a Hennepin County Youth Sports grant again this year so that the city can finish the project. Medina and HAC are prepared to supply matching money to go along with the grant, if it is approved.
The City Council also:
APPROVED revisions to Medina’s sign ordinances.
APPOINTED Dino DesLauriers to the Medina Park Commission.
APPROVED the 2013 Lake Minnetonka Communications Commission budget.