The Albertville City Council approved a 2014 levy of $3,300,124, a 2.96 percent increase from last year.
The council also approved a two-year contract with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office and took action on other issues.
Staff presented the 2014 budget and tax levy during a recent work session, and the council then unanimously approved the budget at its most recent meeting.
At the work session, finance director Tina Lannes explained that while insurance rates were as high as 30 to 40 percent in some cities, Albertville is in a cooperative that limits to no more than a 10 percent increase. She said there is a 2 percent cost of living increase for employees and the fire relief fund.
Councilor Larry Sorensen had asked staff about hiring future new staff positions, such as a building official. City administrator Adam Nafstad indicated that it would be dependent on the position, but in the case of the building official, he said the current costs to outsource the work to St. Michael are not what would be needed for a full-time person.
Nafstad also addressed other costs, such as a recommended fix for the STMA Ice Arena roof, of which the city owns a third along with the city of St. Michael and St. Michael-Albertville School District. Staff suggested funding Albertville’s portion of repair costs with an interfund loan to be repaid in a number of years.
Lannes said the budget numbers reflect improvements to the ice arena, and that the council could stipulate that once a decision is made about the roof repair, it could review the budget again.
The council unanimously approved the preliminary budget and levy. The final levy is not certified until mid-December, at which time the city can lower but not raise the preliminary levy.
In other news, the council approved the 2014/15 Wright County Sheriff’s Office contract.
Every two years the city enters into a police protection agreement with the sheriff’s office. The number of hours of service to be provided is 8,750 hours annually and provides 24-hour call and general service.
The agreement stipulates the city agrees to pay the sheriff’s office a sum of $62.5 per hour for police protection in 2014, and $64.5 per hour in 2015. Both years average about a 3.25 percent increase from the previous year.
In other action, the council:
HEARD a request from resident Mike Leuer to harvest geese on his farmland within city limits. City ordinance does not allow firearm discharge in the city limits, and the council was asked if it wanted to change the ordinance to allow for special city council permission. The council felt that at this time allowing firearms discharge would not be the right decision and would cause more complaints than good. But the council agreed to revisit a request next year assuming Leuer had a detailed plan.
AUTHORIZED $1,000 from the parks budget as a donation for an Eagle Scout board walk project.