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Council works to prioritize budget items

The 7 p.m. Cloquet City Council meeting lasted exactly 2 minutes, 35 seconds Monday, a possible record that longtime Mayor Bruce Ahlgren said marked the first time in his career that there was no official “council business” on the agenda.

Residents still got their money’s worth, however, as the mayor and councillors met with city department heads in a 90-minute work session that mostly addressed the city’s budget for the 2015 fiscal year and beyond.

Included in the discussion were a number of possible new city positions under consideration, including two additional police officer positions in 2015 and again in 2016. Other possible new positions include an events coordinator, a part-time summer code enforcement officer to address community appearance, an additional parks maintenance position and an assistant public works/parks director.

Other budget discussions covered capital project needs, general fund expenses including administration, police, streets, parks, community development, library, utilities and debt funds.

Councillors and the mayor must adopt a preliminary budget and levy by the end of September; a the vote will likely occur at the regularly scheduled Sept. 16 Council meeting. There will be more budget discussion at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 2 (with a 5:30 p.m. work session and 7 p.m. formal meeting) at City Hall.