SE City Council OKs 3.5 percent preliminary levy hike

SLEEPY EYE — The Sleepy Eye City Council unanimously approved a 3.46 percent 2018 preliminary tax levy certification hike Tuesday.

City Manager Mark Kober said most city departments would see two to three percent budget increase. The general fund would increase from $591,535 in 2017 to $633,335 in 2018, if the preliminary levy is approved at the Dec. 12 city council meeting. Kober said a smaller increase could be approved at that time. His other tax levy proposal was a 2.6 percent hike that would raise the general fund in 2018 to $623,335.

With the 3.46 percent levy hike, the total city budget would rise from $4,159,435 in 2017 to $4,350,985 in 2018. With the 2.6 percent hike, the total budget would be $4,340,985.

Kober said the biggest city budget need was for street improvements. He said the total (tax) asking would rise $41,500, which would pave one block of a city street.

The city council unanimously approved:

• The first reading of a rough draft blight ordinance for the entire city. The first violation within three years would cost offenders $250; the second $500 and the third $1,000.

• Giving its blessing to Project Pick Up, a litter cleanup project designed by Daniel Botz. One point would be awarded for every pound of garbage, three points for a pound of clean cardboard or paper, five points for plastic bottles, cartons and aluminum and one point for each plastic bag provided by participants, with credit for up to five bags.

Councilor Joann Schmidt suggested the project be done on Earth Day, in conjunction with other park cleanups in town done by BIC APP and the schools.

• An Orchid Inn contents auction on Saturday, Nov. 18. Kober said auction items include tables, chairs, beer signs and related items, dishes, flatware, a cooler and even a large bar.

• Discussed the First Avenue flashing crossing device recently installed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). Police Chief Matt Andres said he’s received complaints about the flasher.

“I emailed MnDOT and they said they’ll adjust it,” Andres said.

Mayor Wayne Pelzel agreed the flashers don’t work satisfactorily.

• Tabled a pro wrestling fund-raising event for the fire department proposed by Brent Mielke to the October meeting. Mielke said he plans to bring in 10 pro wrestlers who would provide their own ring. Alcohol would not be served. Several councilors thought the Event Center may not be the place for the event but perhaps the Orchid Inn, hockey arena or school gym would serve the purpose.

• A $725 donation from the Sleepy Eye Liquor Store from July sales to the fire department.

• Kober said the Event Center schedule is filling up. He said it can seat 550 people for dinner and hold more for other events.

“We have a six keg limit and we don’t give away beer, it’s $4 a can,” Kober said.

• Councilor Doug Pelzel asked about televising city council meetings Kober said he has contacted two companies about providing a camera for the local community access TV channel. He will provide more information at the October meeting.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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