Council adopts proposed 2011 budgetAs of Tuesday night’s unanimous Cloquet City Council vote adopting the proposed 2011 budget and levy, the most the city will levy for 2011 is $2,650,000, an increase of 3.92 percent. Council members could vote to levy less when they adopt the final budget Dec. 7, but not a penny more.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
As of Tuesday night’s unanimous Cloquet City Council vote adopting the proposed 2011 budget and levy, the most the city will levy for 2011 is $2,650,000, an increase of 3.92 percent.
Council members could vote to levy less when they adopt the final budget Dec. 7, but not a penny more.
The big hitters in the levy include $1,125,000 for the General Fund, $300,000 for parks, $435,000 for the library, $200,000 for the public works reserve fund along with payments on business park debt ($100,000), swimming pond debt ($115,000) and fire truck debt ($80,000).
The levy makes up only a little more than 21 percent of the city’s budgeted revenues.
The entire budget plans for revenues of $12,216,975 and expenditures of $12,186,145. That’s an expenditure decrease of nearly 8 percent from 2010 and a revenue decrease of 4.4 percent from 2010.
Planning a budget when one of the biggest revenue items is a moving target is difficult, said Finance Director Nancy Klassen after the meeting, noting that the state could still unallot Local Government Aid funds for the 2010 budget year if budget forecasts come up short in November.
“We’ve had cuts [to LGA] at the beginning of the year, mid-year and at the end of the year,” Klassen said. “We have to redo the budget every single time.”
As a result, the city is hedging its LGA bets for next year by planning for an LGA of $1.7 million even though the city is currently slated to approximately $2.4 million from the state in 2011. Reductions to LGA in 2010 have totaled $619,579 so far.
Items of note in the budget include the following:
• Good news on the health insurance front – The city’s insurance premium increase will only be .7 percent this year, compared to increases as high as 15 percent in recent years.
• The city planner position is scheduled for rehiring in 2011. One street maintenance position is left vacant in 2011, plus one heavy equipment operator position is expected to go unfilled due to a planned retirement.
• The budget assumes a rate increase for sanitary sewer fees for 2011, but no increase in water rates.
• The budget also assumes the city will have created a Storm Water Utility by 2011, which would also charge a rate to users.
For more details on the preliminary budget and levy, find this story at www.pinejournal.com and click on the attached City Council resolution. Line by line budget information is available from the finance department at Cloquet City Hall.
Also Monday, City Council members approved the following items unanimously:
• A resolution approving the preliminary plat of the Trails Edge Planned Community, located south of Washington Avenue and west of 18th Street. The approval is contingent on two conditions: that the developer submit a specific written proposal that is acceptable to staff and members of the Planning Commission regarding his plan for parks and open space dedication requirement and that a written development agreement be prepared between the city and the developer.
• A resolution approving the site plan for the Phase 2 expansion of Community Memorial Hospital with the following conditions: CMH will submit a landscaping plan displaying plans for additional landscaping elements such as low level shrubs and perennials within medians in the rear parking lot and along Skyline Boulevard. Also, CMH must screen the exterior mechanical equipment and trash storage area on the west side of the building with a wall made of the same materials as the principle building.