By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN Winsted City Council adopted a 2011 preliminary tax levy of $1,117,629 during Tuesday’s council meeting.
The estimated levy is $28,655 more than the 2010 certified levy, an increase of 2.6 percent increase.
The total bond levy is $370,250, which includes a 3.8 percent, or $16,000 increase in the city’s bonding levels.
Winsted City Administrator Andrew Elbert began his PowerPoint budget presentation by telling residents the preliminary levy can be decreased by the council before becoming certified, but it cannot be raised.
Highlighted in Elbert’s presentation were several items which will impact the 2011 budget:
• Salary increases for employees.
• employee dental coverage will be included for 2011. This was not included in the 2010 budget.
• Employee-paid health insurance coverage for employee dependents will remain at 85 percent.
• The $70,410 EDA lease on the lower level of the city hall and promenade is an increase of approximately $1,000.
• Fire department budget per unit (property) cost decreased from $125 to $101.
• The $1,000 trails fund for 2011.
• The $45,430 seal coat schedule is up approximately $5,000 from 2010.
• A $40,000 transfer to the capital equipment fund is up approximately $15,000 from 2010.
Although it was not mentioned in Elbert’s presentation, the current city administrator’s salary is less than Brent Mareck’s previous salary, and since November 2009, the city has had only three full-time police officers. Instead of hiring a fourth officer the city has been using part-time officers, which Elbert said is a savings to the city.
The next steps in the process to certifying the final budget and levy for 2011 will be to review water, sewer, cable, and airport budgets, review existing budget conditions (including local government aid), and schedule a Truth-in-Taxation hearing in December, according to Elbert.
Before approving the preliminary budget, council member Tom Ollig added, “I think the city staff has done an excellent job of keeping expenses down and yet providing our citizens with the services that they expect.”
The city must submit its preliminary levy to McLeod County by Wednesday, Sept. 15.
Constitution Week proclamation
Because Sept. 17, 2010 marks the 223rd anniversary of the drafting of the constitution of the United States, Mayor Steve Stotko has proclaimed the week of Friday, Sept. 17 through Thursday, Sept. 23 as Constitution Week in the city of Winsted.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• adopted amendments to the liquor ordinance changing the term “non-intoxicating malt liquor” to “3.2 percent malt liquor.”
• established a canvassing board with the following members: Tom Ollig, Bonnie Quast, Andrew Elbert, and Deb Boelter. The purpose of the canvassing board will be to review the Nov. 2 general election results.
• approved a parade permit for Holy Trinity School’s annual marathon route submitted to the Winsted Police Department for Wednesday, Oct. 20 at 9:30 a.m.
• approved a quote of $7,875 from ZOLL Medical Corporation to purchase an AutoPulse System for the Winsted Volunteer Fire Department. It will be paid for from the fire department’s expansion fund.
AutoPulse is an automated, portable device with an easy-to-use, load-distributing LifeBand that squeezes the entire chest in an uninterrupted “hands-free” manner used to improve blood flow to the heart and brain during cardiac arrest.