BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN While Delano’s tax levy is increasing by 7.92 percent in 2019, the tax rate is expected to decrease slightly, from 53.98 percent to 53.367 percent, following approval of the 2019 budget, levy, and capital improvement plan Tuesday.
Delano’s tax rate is the seventh-lowest proposed city tax rate in the county.
The 2019 general fund budget expenditures total $3,725,000, with expenditures broken down to community services 29 percent, general government 22 percent, public safety 19 percent, capital outlay 13 percent, and public works 12 percent.
In 2018 the budget was $3,560,000, and in 2017, $3,412,455.
Items impacting 2019 expenditures will be a 5.4 percent increase in medical insurance, 3 percent cost-of-living-adjustment, capital needs, the Splashpad, and software updates.
The $4,131,000 capital improvement plan includes $3 million in street reconstruction projects, $250,000 for a River Street berm, $150,000 for an outdoor skating and hockey facility, $120,000 for financial software, $110,000 for a sewer jetter/vacuum, $90,000 for the Riverside Commons roof, $75,000 for Highland Ridge Park improvements, $30,000 for a weather siren, $20,000 for portable fencing, $10,000 for water rescue equipment, $10,000 for a rescue boat, and $10,000 for Litfin Park development.
The council approved a bid of $248,423 from Musco Sports Lighting, of Oskaloosa, IA, for the purchase and installation of lighting fixtures at Delano Municipal Stadium.
The bid was $9,373 more than the lowest bid, but was chosen because it included a full-service, 25-year warrant, exceeding the 10-year warranty provided by the low bidder.
The field lights, including the towers, are original to the first installation, circa 1961. Repairs and maintenance have been conducted on the lights and electrical system, but the original system is in place and operating. The city and user groups have noted problems over time.
City staff and Delano Municipal Utilities conducted an assessment of the entire system, including the underground electric wires, the electrical panels, the wires, and the fixtures. All of the elements tested out are in need of replacement.
The new lighting will provide 60 foot-candles of light to the infield and 40 footcandles to the outfield. The improvements will include 65 new LED fixtures.
Community groups, headed by the Delano Athletic Club, have agreed to contribute to the project in the amount of $83,966 between now and the end of 2021. The largest single contribution would come from the athletic club: $40,000 of the proceeds from the 2019 State Amateur Baseball Tournament.
After contributions from organizations, the portion of the project coming out of the city’s capital improvement fund will be $164,457.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved the hiring of a part-time employee at Delano Wine and Spirits.
• approved the public facility lease agreement, outdoor dance application, and temporary on-sale liquor license for Puck in the Park Jan. 18-19 in Central Park.