Sleepy Eye City Council discusses 2019 budget

11.1% hike proposed

SLEEPY EYE — The Sleepy Eye City Council held a special meeting to discuss the 2019 city budget Monday.

City Manager Mark Kober proposed an 11.1 percent total budget increase for the proposed $3,843,150 budget for 2019.

“Most of the increase, about $130,000, is for streets,” Kober said. “We have to raise taxes to fix up streets.”

Kober said the recreation and parks budget for 2019 is $510,125, up $8,000 or 1.59 percent, which he said is still one percent under the inflation rate.

Sanitation Superintendent Ron Zinniel voiced concern about a grinder purchased for the City of Sleepy Eye’s main (sewer) lift station several years ago that is wearing out.

“It’s worn out at the bottom. Our service company said we should replace the grinder core, which I think we should do to avoid clogging up,” Zinniel said. “We want to stay ahead of the game.”

He estimated grinder replacement cost at $30,314 including installation. In addition, Zinniel said the existing grinder core can be rebuilt at a lower cost for future use, but a new one is needed soon.

Kober said the city budget includes funds for such a purchase and told Zinniel to get grinder replacement cost quotes.

Mayor Wayne Pelzel suggested hiring a summer intern to trim weeds along the beach and lake trail in addition to renting out kayaks, canoes and paddle boards the city is interested in buying for public recreational use.

“The campground is a big deal in town,” said councilor Dick Zinniel. “My family camps all over the country and told me Sleepy Eye has the second-best one they’ve seen. People dump a pile of money in town.”

Councilor Larry Braun suggested earmarked $100,000 for Economic Development Authority (EDA) loans.

“Everybody we talked to and surveyed wants downtown building facades fixed,” Braun said. “People want them to look nice. Some of them just need paint.”

Kober suggested applying for a community project grant.

Councilor Joann Schmidt said it’s important to require business and property owners to pay for some of the facade improvements.

The city council plans to meet next week to discuss the city library budget. Meeting details will be arranged in the coming days.