By Jennifer Gallus
HOWARD LAKE, MN - Howard Lake City Council decided to plan and budget for a 75 percent reduction in this year’s Local Government Aid (LGA) and limit all spending in 2009.
The decision was made during Tuesday’s meeting after reviewing three budget-cutting scenarios, in light of the recent announcement that LGA will be cut an unknown amount this year.
The vote was 3-1, with Council Member Mike Mitchell voting “no” because he was in favor of the 100 percent reduction scenario or a mix of the 100 and 75 percent scenarios.
Before the LGA cut announcement, the city’s $1.5 million budget had already been certified for 2009, which included a $540,222 allotment from LGA.
After a budget is certified, changes cannot be made to it.
“That’s a pretty big chunk of our budget,” City Administrator Kelly Hinnenkamp said.
The city doesn’t expect to find out exactly how much its previously promised $540,222 is being reduced by until spring, but is erring on the conservative side by making budget cuts in an amount that plans for a 75 percent reduction of that original number, or $405,166.
As part of the budget cuts, city staff will not receive cost-of-living raises of 2.5 percent, which will account for $17,734 in savings to the city. However, employees will still receive step increases on the employees’ anniversary date, and longevity bonuses for those who qualify.
Longevity bonuses are a one-time $750 bonus after 15 years of service, and once every five years after that 15th year.
The capital and other equipment line item will be cut by $62,398. Other items cut include having the compost site open only one day per week instead of two, general supplies will take $9,200 in cuts, maintenance and repairs will see almost $18,000 in cuts, and more.
“All these cuts are just to get us through 2009,” Hinnenkamp said, “For next year, we’re going to start (budget planning) early, like in May.”
“Next year’s budget discussion may include budgeting as if there isn’t any LGA,” she added.
2009 committees and assignments approved
The 2009 council committees and assignments were approved, including two new committees, which are the joint wastewater commission, and the finance committee. The assignments are as follows:
• Acting mayor Jan Gilmer
• Second acting mayor - Tom Kutz
• Civil defense director Craig Loebertmann
• Community center/library Richard Lammers, Kelly Hinnenkamp
• Economic development authority full council
• Housing redevelopment authority full council
• Planning commission Fran Wren, Jean Schmidt, Vern Kleve, Shelly Reddemann, vacant
• Health officer Ridgeview Medical Clinic
• Joint wastewater commission Lammers, Pete Zimmerman
• Official newspaper Herald Journal
• Official depositories Howard Lake Security State Bank; Citizens State Bank of Clara City; First State Bank of Lake Lillian; First Valley Bank of Seely Lake, Montana
• Personnel committee Lammers, Mike Mitchell
• Police committee Kutz, Lammers
• Sewer and water committee Mitchell, Gilmer
• Street committee Zimmerman, Gilmer
• Weed control officer Mitchell
• Liquor store committee Kutz, Zimmerman
• Park commission Mitchell, Schmidt, Reddemann, Darell Main, April Debner
• Fire board Lammers, Kutz
• Finance committee Gilmer, Lammers
• Cable/public access commission Donna Reddemann, Margaret Marketon, Kendell Kubasch, Kutz, Mitchell
• Official web site www.howard-lake.mn.us
• Official public access channel PACT 10
Odds and ends
In other matters, the council:
• approved the 2009 business licenses it has received paperwork on so far.
Tobacco renewals for Sinclair Marketing, Joe’s Sport Shop, and The Pit Stop were approved.
Sinclair and The Lake Bowl had their 3.2 off-sale malt liquor licenses renewed.
Wine/strong beer for Sunni’s Grille was renewed, and six bowling lanes for The Lake Bowl was also renewed.