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Breezy Point: Council approves 4 percent tax levy increase - Lifesaver Awards presented

Breezy Point Mayor Tom Lillehei presents Officer Josef Garcia with Lifesaver Award. Theresa Bourke / Echo Journal 1 / 2
Breezy Point Mayor Tom Lillehei presents Officer Jason Rieber with a Lifesaver Award. Theresa Bourke / Echo Journal 2 / 2

The Breezy Point City Council approved a 4 percent general tax levy increase for 2018 at its Monday, Dec. 4, council meeting

The final 2018 tax levy is $1,963,482, which is $75,519 higher than 2017.

The city's 2018 operating revenue budget is set at $2,283,902, and the operating expenditure budget is $2,270,682. Both totals are a decrease of roughly $420,000 from this year.

The city's projected tax rate for 2018 increased slightly to 42.86 percent from the current 42.44 percent, a difference of 0.42 percent. This means the property taxes for a residence valued at $100,000 will increase about $3.03.

When residents pay taxes, roughly 43 percent goes to the city, 32 percent to Crow Wing County and 13 percent to the Pequot Lakes School District.

Of the city's expenditure budget, the biggest portion goes to public safety (35 percent), followed by general government operations and public works (17 percent each).

Public safety

Mayor Tom Lillehei presented Lifesaver Awards to police officers Josef Garcia and Jason Rieber.

Garcia responded to a woman in cardiac arrest in Ideal Township on Oct. 15. Kari Seeker ultimately died of a brain aneurysm, but Garcia's CPR efforts on the scene prolonged her life three days so she could become an organ donor, benefitting several people. Seeker's family was there to thank Garcia.

Rieber responded to a man in cardiac arrest in Pequot Lakes on Oct. 17. Rieber's intervention helped restore the man's pulse, and he fully recovered in the hospital a few days later.

The Breezy Point Police Department responded to 179 calls in November, including six crashes, three fires and one traffic arrest. Police assisted other agencies 23 times.

In other business Monday, the council:

• Appointed Lillehei to another three-year term on the Region Five Development Commission. Lillehei has represented Crow Wing County municipalities on the commission since 2015 and said he would be willing to do another term.

• Heard from Lillehei that the city recently sold eight tax-forfeited lots for a total of $63,738. Because Breezy Point has about one-third of all tax-forfeited properties in the county, Lillehei said he wants the roads committee to look into the city's policies and procedures on minimum maintenance roads and what it takes to improve those roads to at least gravel roads.

"I think we are somewhat at a disadvantage with the policies we have on the books today," Lillehei said. "We do have a lot of good properties that are just sitting there because we're not going to issue building permits."

• Amended the city's estate lots residential ordinance. The standard for single-family dwelling requires a minimum of a 26-foot by 26-foot house, but the alternate minimum was missing from the ordinance. As amended, the ordinance says a 26-foot by 26-foot house must have a foundation of 1,296 or 975 square feet with a minimum of a 22-foot by 22-foot attached garage and 6/12 pitch roof.

• Amended the city employee health care savings plan for 359 represented employees. The contributions of the plan changed to 6 percent compensation, 100 percent of sick time payout and 50 percent of unused vacation time payout after the 60-month mark.

• Renewed on-sale, Sunday on-sale and off-sale liquor licenses for the following establishments: Commander/JJ's, Breezy Point Resort and Billy's Bar and Grill. Antlers and Deacon's Lodge were renewed for on-sale and Sunday on-sale, and Pelican Square was renewed for off-sale. The license renewals are subject to all required compliance and documentation being submitted.