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Dassel council approves preliminary budget
Sept. 13, 2010
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Levy stays the same as in 2010, but council will look at reducing the budget during a work session tonight, Sept. 13

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

DASSEL, MN – During Tuesday’s meeting, Dassel City Council approved the 2011 preliminary budget with no increases to the levy.

With numbers the same as in 2010, Mayor Mike Scanlon said that once the preliminary budget is certified by the county auditor, the city can not raise the budget, only reduce it.

Council member Jason Benzing asked if there were attempts to reduce the budget.

Since the budget must be certified no later than Wednesday, Sept. 15, the council scheduled a workshop to discuss reducing the budget for Monday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.

The council approved the preliminary budget with the levy set at $511,988.

Public discussion and adoption of the final levy for 2011 is set for Monday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.

ARMER project update

City administrator Myles McGrath gave an update on the Meeker County ARMER Project (change-over from VHF to 800 megahertz radio frequency), which he received from Meeker County Sheriff Jeff Norlin.

Training for local agencies will take place in October, with approximate start dates for fire and rescue and emergency medical services to be Monday, Nov. 15.

McGrath noted that the city’s outdoor warning siren would need to be upgraded for the project, which requires a narrow band radio command.

The council directed staff to look into the options for this and the possibility of bringing back the noon and curfew siren along with this project.

City hall computer upgrades

City hall staff has been working with a technology committee made up of council members Bob Lalone and Jason Benzing to determine the needs and possible software and equipment upgrades in the city office.

It was determined that the current server is out of warranty and far past its life expectancy.

The committee found purchasing a new server was not necessary with the small number of computers on the network, but new software and computers were needed.

It was noted that the city could actually purchase a new computer each year for what it was paying to have them fixed on an annual basis.

The council agreed to purchase two desktops and a laptop (for the city administrator) from Dell through a state contract, which offered a discount, for $3,997.50.

The computers would include four-year warranties with on-site maintenance costs built in and they would also be on a four-year replacement cycle.

Benzing noted following the meeting that this is a fairly standard replacement cycle among businesses.

Along with this, the council approved the lowest bid (from Newegg) for software for $1,438.33, and an antivirus software (good for three years) for a cost of $259.96.

Summit Hills tax forfeiture

Meeker County has moved to tax forfeiture on Outlot A in Summit Hills addition, which is undeveloped, and the council was asked to sign off on a Municipal Approval and Classification of Sale as part of the process.

Under statute, the city can request a six-month extension period for making this decision, which was recommended by the Dassel Economic Development Authority.

The council approved applying for an extension to allow the EDA to look into the property further.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• heard reports from the liquor store, which showed a 6 percent increase over last year. Scanlon (on behalf of Marvin Vetsch) noted that the last couple months have been good for sales.

• heard from Meeker County deputy Sara Miller who wanted to make it clear that if a lost dog is found, the deputies take them to the pound in Litchfield. Owners can call dispatch (320) 693-5400 to check with the pound if they have lost their animal. The same process is in place for lost bikes that aren’t claimed within a few days, she said.

Miller also reported no incidents took place during Red Rooster Days.

• heard from public works director Dave Scepaniak, who told the council he would be working on upgrading the two fire hydrants along Atlantic Avenue that week, which was approved by the council at a previous meeting.

Also, the seal coating of the bike path was scheduled to take place last week, but due to weather, would likely be rescheduled for this week.

He also told the council that well maintenance (next to city hall), which is on a 10-year cycle, is scheduled to begin this week.

• heard from Scanlon, who gave a “large thank you” to everyone involved in Red Roosters Days, beginning with the farmers’ market Sept. 3 to festivities Sept. 6.

“There is a ton of work that goes into those four days,” Scanlon said, commending those who helped make it a success.

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