City holding the line on levy
The city council approved its 2004 budget Monday highlighted by a mill levy that is nearly identical to the current budget's levy.
This 2004 budget's levy is set at 33.971, just slightly higher than this year's rate of 33.928. A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed property valuation.
After two special meetings in the past two weeks, City Administrator Shane Krull and council members decided what the city's final budget would look like.
Last Wednesday, council members focused on raises for city employees and a contingency fund.
The budget calls for a maximum 4 percent increase for cost of living and merit increase, but the council was split on the idea. Kathy Graveman, Ron Cranor and Velda Roberts questioned whether the maximum increase should be that high.
"I would rather we gave merit raises and not cost of living wages," Graveman said.
Emmett Wetta, meanwhile, thought the increase was needed to keep employees and made reference to his business -- Mo's Pizza.
"I can buy a new refrigerator, but if I loose a key employee, that's more important to me," Wetta said.
The council left the rate at 4 percent, but Roberts was reluctant to do so. Steve Gumm, however, was content with Krull's numbers.
"I believe Shane does a great job of his administrative job and I think he knows what to do with the budget and he has to deal with it every day," Gumm said.
Roberts then replied to Gumm's comments.
"I take exception to that," Roberts said. "I don't have a problem with Shane's job. As a governing body we need to give him guidance and tell him what we're thinking."
In the area of generating funds, the city now will have a contingency fund. That came into creation with the merging of city planner duties with Krull's job description.
Previously, Diane Wicklund had the position of city planner, but she left the post in the spring. Since then Krull has been assuming those duties.
At Monday's meeting, Krull presented a letter to the council that showed a plan for $8,000 of the planner's available $36,208 to go to his salary for the additional duties. The remaining $26,208 will go toward the contingency. The council approved the new salary Monday. Krull now will make $60,530 a year.