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Crosslake adopts $2.8 million levy

The Crosslake City Council adopted the city’s 2014 levy Monday night, Dec. 9, in the amount of $2.8 million, approximately $90,000 more than the 2013 levy, which was $2,709,916.

The final levy for taxes collectible in 2014 is the same amount as the city’s preliminary levy, which was set in early September.

The city held its public hearing regarding the 2014 levy and budget on Dec. 3. Six members of the public attended the meeting, and two had questions regarding valuation changes on their tax statement.

In addition to approving the 2014 levy, the council also approved the city’s 2014 expenditure budget in the amount of $5,886,157 and revenue budget in the amount of $3,879,345.

Mike Lyonais, finance director, said expenditures exceed revenues primarily due to bond refinancing activities in 2012. In January 2012, the city issued Series 2012A Refunding Bonds in advance of the call date on its existing 2003A Disposal System Bonds. The proceeds of the 2012A Refunding Bonds were placed in escrow to provide funds to pay off the 2003A Disposal System Bonds on their call date (the date at which the bonds can be paid off) of Feb. 1, 2014. This will result in reduced interest costs (and savings to the city) of approximately $125,000 over the life of the bonds.

Also included in the budget for 2014 is approximately $67,000 to be set aside for future capital purchases in lieu of issuing new debt for those purchases.

Public safety

The Crosslake Police Department reported 143 incidents in November, including 50 traffic citations, two traffic warnings, four traffic arrests, 16 EMS, 16 alarms and 14 agency assists.

For Mission Township, the department reported 49 calls to service in November, including 29 traffic warnings, eight traffic citations and seven agency assists.

The Crosslake Fire Department in November reported 16 medical calls, two fires, one hazardous condition, two good intent calls and one false alarm.

In other business, the council:

• Approved the Crosslake Communications budget, which includes a $5 a month increase to high speed Internet and a 5 percent increase to cable TV rates. Along with the Internet price increase, speed will be raised from three megabytes per second to five.

• Adopted a new fee schedule for 2014.

• Accepted a $7,500 donation to the Crosslake Fire Department from the Crosslake-Ideal Lions for the purchase of a Polaris side-by-side rescue unit with tracks, used for rescue in wooded areas and for fighting wildfires. The Crosslake Fire Relief Association will pay for the balance of the vehicle, $17,000.

• Reviewed quotes for a security system at city hall. The system would include cameras inside and outside the building. The council took the quotes under advisement but didn’t make any decisions regarding whether to install a system.

• Approved new guidelines for the appointment of commission and committee members.

• Agreed to close city hall at noon Christmas Eve.

• Approved a 1.25 percent cost-of-living pay increase, effective Jan. 1, for all non-union employees and department heads. That increase is the same amount as the city agreed to pay unionized employees. The council also raised the fire chief’s pay from $250 a month to $500 a month.

• Approved wage increases for Crosslake Communications employees. Accountants will receive a 1.5 percent increase, network engineers a 3 percent increase, office managers a 1.5 percent increase, operations managers a 1.5 percent increase and general manager a 0.5 percent increase. The general manager essentially gave up most of his increase in order to give network engineers a higher increase, the council heard.

• Approved a service agreement with Kitchigami Regional Library System (KRLS). KRLS also needs to approve the agreement. At this point the Crosslake Library is exploring the possibility of becoming a KRLS branch, but will not pursue that path for 2014.