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Crosslake: Council looks at preliminary budget, discusses Perkins Road

The Crosslake City Council, together with City Administrator Mike Lyonais and department heads, met Monday, Aug. 21, to discuss the city's proposed preliminary budget for 2018.

The proposed budget is $7,156,249 with a 5 percent tax levy increase over this year.

Much of the discussion revolved around proposed changes to Perkins Road, which the city has talked of moving to gain access to South Bay Park.

Because the city is looking to develop South Bay Park on the southeast side of Cross Lake, Perkins Road would have to be upgraded or moved to gain access to the park. The proposed plan is to bring the new road off of Cherry Lane and then have it go straight back into the park. All residents except for one agree with the plan, as the road would be moved farther back from their houses.

The question posed at Monday's meeting was whether to budget to move the road in 2018. After debating the cost to move the road - which city engineer Bolton and Menk estimated at about $332,000 - the council decided it needs to figure out the property issue before worrying about cost.

"I think we've got to work on the land problem. Who cares if it's $250,000 or $350,000? That's not the issue here. The issue here is we have to figure out the land thing," council member Brad Nelson said.

The council agreed to enlist city attorney Brad Person to look into a condemnation process for the property the city does not have access to, as Parks and Recreation Director Jon Henke said the city will be able to gain access to it if a public street is deemed necessary.

"I don't like condemnation words at all, but at least I suppose we can ask (Person) what would be involved to look into that," Nelson said.

"I don't know what other choice we have," Henke added.

Right now, the $332,000 estimate to move the road is in the preliminary budget as a placeholder but could be changed before the final budget is approved.

Henke said other changes to the parks department's budget include routine increases in staffing, engineering, legal fees and insurance.

Proposed fire department budget changes include:

• Increasing firefighters' per-hour pay from $10 to $15, which is comparable to other cities in area.

• Increasing the city's contribution to firefighters' pension funds from $850 per person per year to $1,000.

• $10,000 for a 2003 grass fire rig from the Department of Natural Resources.

Proposed police department budget changes include:

• Increase in squad car and body camera maintenance contracts.

• Increase in training expenses. Police Chief Erik Lee said he would like his officers to partake in more than just the required training, which the council agreed with.

"I think ongoing training is very important for public safety," Mayor Patty Norgaard said.

Proposed public works department budget changes include:

• A $50,000 placeholder for storm damage clean-up.

• Budgeting for repairs to the salt and sand building, which is leaning about 6 inches to the north. The council agreed to pay $8,500 for engineering firm Widseth Smith Nolting to draw up specifications for the project so the city can seek bids.

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