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Jenkins City Council reviews road work letters of interest

Preliminary tax levy increases, but tax rate drop anticipated

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Residents attended the Jenkins City Council regular meeting Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, to discuss road projects among other issues.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal
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JENKINS — The Jenkins City Council continued to plan for a 2023 roads project during their Sept. 12 regular meeting.

The council reviewed letters of interest from residents on various roads in the city. The city sent 24 letters to residents asking if they would be interested in having their road included in the 2023 roadwork project.

Six responses came from Greg Circle, with two interested and two not interested. Only one response came from Ellis Road. Shanty Court and Brown Boulevard returned six of seven letters, five in favor of being included in the road project.

The council used these responses to decide which roads to review in coming up with a feasibility study and project documents. Shanty and Brown were the only two streets with the majority of residents in favor of inclusion.

"With responses we got, I think we're going to recommend Summer Avenue, Shanty and Brown, with maybe Cottage Avenue to fill it in," said Krista Okerman, Jenkins clerk.

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The board previously agreed to entertain the idea of bonding for $500,000 for the 2023 road projects, including Summer Avenue and Laura Rose Circle.

Some roads have been targeted because they are dropping below the city's minimum requirements for road conditions. Some are in such disrepair that failing to act on them now will require more intense work to rebuild them.

Some responses opposed to the project include statements that roads should not be repaired at this time due to current high costs and high interest rates for bonding. One response said their road should not be done until another road has been completed instead.

"Yes" responses included a request that natural gas be included in the project and that the city inform the homeowner so they may pave their driveway at the same time; another asked for more details because they plan to seed their ditch with native wildflowers.

The council asked the city's engineers to prepare resolutions including the aforementioned roads in the 2023 project. The council said they would like to have information available before Nov. 25 so they might save money by working alongside some Crow Wing County paving projects.

In a related action, the council agreed to ask that a special assessment for work on McCoy Acres be split with 50% of the project paid for by abutting properties and 50% paid for by the city, instead of 80% being paid for by the abutting properties.

If the city bonds for $500,000 and doesn't spend the full amount on the current priority list, the council would have the option of using the remaining to pay down the bond or put the remainder toward the next roadwork projects, if their bond terms are favorable compared to those a year or more later.

Levy

After two years of remaining flat, the Jenkins City Council agreed to increase its preliminary tax levy by 3.2%.

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In spite of this, residents may still see lower taxes due to projected market value increases.

The preliminary levy totals $335,000. The council also approved an operating budget for 2023 of $387,918.75.

The preliminary levy may be lowered, but not raised, before the final levy is accepted in December.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com.

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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