Greenfield proposes lowest levy increase in years

The Greenfield City Council, at its Sept. 4 meeting, approved the preliminary 2013 budget and tax levy.

The council, in a 4-0 vote, supported a general fund budget for the city in 2013 of $1,135,822. The budget proposed for 2012 was $1,109,446. This represents an increase of $26, 376, or 1.9%.

Also supported was a proposed tax levy of$1,376,387. Compared to 2012’s $1,358,395, the increase has a smaller gap at approximately $18,000, or about 1%. The council may, in subsequent meetings, approve a decrease, but cannot vote for an increase at this time.

As the city moves forward into 2013, its financial load is lightened significantly by the conclusion of a lawsuit lodged against the city in 2010 by former city officials Jill Krout, Mark Lee and Howard Veldhiuzen. The claims, which cost the city over $100,000 in legal defense costs over the last two years, were dismissed earlier this year in the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The City of Greenfield will host a public hearing regarding the proposed tax levy Tuesday, Dec. 4, a 7 p.m. at 6390 Town Hall Drive.

In other financial business, the council elected, at the advice of legal counsel, to forgo continued collection efforts on escrow balances not available to the city due to the statute of limitations, bankruptcy, or the cost-to-collect versus an amount less that $1,000. This will keep the expected revenue side of bookkeeping more closely on track.

The council also discussed fire service fees as proposed by the Loretto Fire Department. The Loretto Department is one of the departments Greenfield contracts with to provide protection and to response to fires and emergencies.

Mayor Jerry Hertaus, and Councilors Tom Cook and Mike Erickson, reported that a new formula was going to be installed by the Loretto Department to more fairly allocate call costs across their covered cities. The change, as it appears now, includes a three-year freeze cost freeze for Greenfield.

The next regular meeting of the Greenfield City Council is Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. at 6390 Town Hal Drive.