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Nisswa adopts preliminary levy

The Nisswa City Council on Wednesday, Sept. 11, adopted a preliminary 2014 levy and budget of $1,966,308, which is $118,656 more than the 2013 general revenue tax levy.

The preliminary levy can be lowered, but now raised, before final adoption in December. The city’s truth in taxation meeting to address the public’s questions regarding the levy and budget will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4.

According to meeting minutes, at the Sept. 11 reconvened budget meeting, police chief Craig Taylor requested that $23,000 for a police clerk position be removed from the police department budget.

Council member Jan Pierce requested that a proposed $15,000 in the planning and zoning budget for a possible city administrator be moved to the mayor’s budget to keep that possibility open.

That monetary amount stems from possibly combining the roles of a city planner and administrator. The new annual salary would fall in the mid-range of $70,000-$74,000.

Lehman said an administrator’s job is about 35 percent administrator and 65 percent planning and zoning work, and in his opinion the city was no longer looking at an administrator role.

Also, Lehman said, because of a status quo order regarding staffing changes pending possible formation of an employee union, the council can’t incorporate an administrator right now.

Pierce maintained she wanted the funds under staffing to address after the union issue is settled. Lehman said the funding can’t go under the council or mayor budget and suggested it be placed under economic development or the council could dip into investments.

The preliminary budget includes $13,500 for the planning and design of Nisswa Lake Park. However, the city is applying for a grant or could use remaining Initiative Foundation grant funds or park dedication fees.

When asked, Lehman said donations from the Friends of Nisswa Lake Park group are for items, not park design.

Regarding roads, the council may budget $230,000 for road improvements, rather than a proposed $260,000. City costs for County Road 18 could range from $35,000-$235,000, and when Main Street is turned back to the city, improvements could cost $2 million to $4 million.

Nancy Vogt can be reached at Follow her on Facebook.