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Crosslake Council sets preliminary levy at $2.8 million

The Crosslake City Council set the city’s 2014 preliminary tax levy Monday night, Sept. 9, at $2,800,000, up from the 2013 levy, which was $2,709,916. Once a city sets its preliminary levy, the figure can go down, but not up, before the final levy is set in December.

The city will hold its truth in taxation meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 3.

“We’re leaving a little extra room there so we have a place to come down from once we finalize the budget,” city finance director/treasurer Michael Lyonais said.

Lyonais said by phone that the council set its preliminary levy higher than last year because the 2014 budget isn’t finalized yet, and the council didn’t want to short itself before sorting out any projects or staff salaries and benefits it may want to fund.

The council is also considering a $23,000 operating levy for the city’s Economic Development Authority.

Consulting city administrator Dan Vogt said at the meeting that the intent, as discussed at recent budget meetings, is to lower the amount before the final levy is set.

The council adopted the preliminary levy unanimously.

Public safety

The Crosslake Police Department reported 275 calls to service in August. Most of those were in the categories of traffic warnings (105, plus 10 traffic citations), alarms (20), EMS (25) and agency assists (37).

For Mission Township, the department reported 44 calls to service in August, including (but not limited to) 22 traffic warnings, seven traffic citations, two suspicious vehicle and two house watches.

The Crosslake Fire Department reported 23 medical calls, one mutual aid building fire, three gas leak calls and two false alarms, totalling 29 calls in August.

Permit summary

The Crosslake Planning and Zoning Department issued 53 permits in August. Of those, 16 were land alterations, five demolition/building move, seven garages/storage buildings and four homes, among other permit sales.

In other business Sept, 9, the council:

• Continued to withhold $10,000 of payment to Anderson Brothers in order to investigate ponding issues on the new tennis courts, which the company recently constructed.

• Approved a plan for the parking lot at the Crosslake Community Center, which will become a one-way lot for safety purposes.

• Decided to invite a representative from Crow Wing County to a council meeting to explain changes to the county’s local comprehensive water management plan and what it means for the city.

• Heard an update from council member Mark Wessels regarding planning and zoning meetings with the county. One meeting has been held to explore what the county could do for the city regarding planning and zoning and another meeting has been scheduled, Wessels said.

• Discussed an expired conditional use permit for Gordon and Alma Siemers. The council debated whether to send a letter to the Siemerses to tell them the permit has expired, but chose not to because planning and zoning had previously sent notification that the permit would expire. The city did not receive a response to those notifications.

The Siemerses obtained the permit to do construction work on a car wash on County Road 3. Planning and zoning reported that little progress has been made on the property.

• Budgeted $50,000 for the sewer department to look into expansion of the city sewer system. The city is budgeting money for the Economic Development Authority to look into bringing businesses to town, mayor Darrell Schneider said, which raises the question of future sewer expansion.