Jenkins: Council approves 2021 budget

Budget was delayed by uncertainty over formatting issues for financial reports

The sign just south of Jenkins is meant to remind people that Jenkins is its own community and the "Gateway to the Whitefish Chain." Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

After months of working to create easier-to-read financial reports, the Jenkins City Council finally felt confident enough to officially adopt a budget for 2021 at its Monday, March 8, regular meeting.

The council delayed budget approval for the year in December, while approving the annual levy and after receiving the annual audit.

While the city council approved the audit, council members - including Charles Hoffman and Mayor Jon Lubke - raised concerns that the budget format at that time did not clearly illustrate the financial standing of the city at that exact time, but more accurately presented the projected receipts and expenditures for the entire year.

Hoffman pointed out that this could mean the council could mistakenly spend money before it was received if it did not fully realize that the income was projected for the year and not available in the city accounts at the beginning of the budget cycle.

In February, the council arranged to have the finance committee meet Feb. 24 and review the income and expenses for the city budget starting with the end of 2018 as a benchmark so the committee was more familiar with the standing in the current budget by comparison.


Council members also directed Clerk Krista Okerman to reformat financial documents and adopt a standard terminology for the budget using feedback and research she and the council had received over the course of the past several months.

Using the new format, the council was able to more accurately make decisions with the city's operation reserve in mind. The finance committee then requested seven actions by the council for this year's budget.

  1. Approve an $89,850.70 commitment to the street improvement fund.
  2. Approve a $9,161.29 commitment to the park and recreation fund.
  3. Start a committed fund of $5,000 for the Small Cities Development Program.
  4. Start a committed fund for heavy equipment with the understanding that the city will eventually need to replace its aging snowplow.
  5. Specify gambling proceeds for allowable expenses.
  6. Cash in a four-year CD and transfer $111,331.05 from checking to savings.
  7. Commit $8,469.55 of additional fund balance toward heavy equipment.

The council agreed to all except item No. 6 and instead chose to leave funds in the city CD with the understanding that they can withdraw it if they need it. Doing so may incur a penalty, but Hoffman said the penalty will not be a significant amount.
The council did agree to transfer the $11,331.05 from checking to savings.

The council also adopted its operational budget after making these changes. The budget shows expenditures of $335.328.82 and receipts of $335,931.24.

In other business Monday, the council:

  • Discussed asking the Breezy Point mayor about playground equipment that city will be removing. If the equipment seems suitable for use in the city of Jenkins, the council might inquire about purchasing it once it is removed.
  • Said they often receive questions from constituents who have read the PineandLakes Echo Journal, but don't know how to respond because the city did not previously subscribe to the newspaper. The council approved a subscription to the PineandLakes Echo Journal.
  • Authorized training for Okerman and Deputy Clerk Katie Caswell.
  • Agreed to allow Pequot Lakes to use the city baseball fields during the summer for ballgames.
  • Agreed to seek a meeting between council members and the city attorney to discuss any possible liability for declaring a slum and blight district in the city. Some residents are concerned that the designation could be used for eminent domain purposes when expanding Highway 371 in the future. The council will see if the attorney is available for the second monthly meeting March 23.
  • Approved application to the Region Five Development Commission's Energy and Environment grant.
  • Agreed to allow Lubke to continue to work with a coalition of area cities toward improving broadband connectivity in the area.
  • Approved liquor license renewals for A-Pine Family Restaurant, AmericInn, VFW Post 3839, Wildwedge Golf Course and RV Park, Shiner's, Snarky Loon and Northland Liquor.
  • Approved a contract with Caswell for cleaning services at city hall for $125 a month. The city's personnel committee recommended the council create a separate contract with Caswell instead of rolling the duties into her position as deputy clerk.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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