Sleepy Eye City Council OKs 2019 preliminary budget, tax levy

SLEEPY EYE – The Sleepy Eye City Council unanimously approved an 11.74 percent 2019 preliminary budget increase Tuesday.

City Manager Mark Kober said actual spending is up just 3.3 percent ($145,000) due to $223,000 in budget fund transfers. The 2019 total city budget of $4,607,285 is down from $4,890,985 in 2018.

Kober said most of the increase would go to the Sleepy Eye Economic Development Authority (EDA). Funds may be used to help downtown buildings with interior fire sprinklers and for building facade updates, which have already begun on a few downtown buildings, and for streets, which citizens listed as primary needs, according to a recent survey.

The 2019 tax levy and budget can’t be raised any higher but may be lowered to an eight or nine percent hike, Kober said. The resolution came on a motion by Doug Pelzel, seconded by Dick Zinniel.

Kober said a $100K city improvement investment can generate a $500,000 federal downtown block grant that requires local matching funds.

In addition, he said Sleepy Eye’s city property taxes are lower than other area cities including Gaylord, Mountain Lake, New Ulm, Redwood Falls, St. James, Springfield and Windom.

The city council will set its final 2019 budget at its Dec. 11 meeting.

The city council unanimously approved:

• Condemning a residence located at 105 7th Ave. Northeast, motion by Zinniel, seconded by Pelzel. The property owner will have 30 days to fix the property. If that doesn’t happen, it will be demolished within 30 days.

• A City Engineer’s report that included the news that a new stoplight at the intersection of highways 4 and 14 will be installed on Thursday, Sept. 20. It will have a turn arrow, Street and Utility Superintendent Bob Elston said.

• During a downtown traffic discussion, Police Chief Matt Andres said children are supposed to walk bicycles downtown.

• Park Department worker Steve Lingen said MR Paving & Excavating would improve a Prairieview Park softball field by adding eight-inch, perforated tile behind the field, add sod, remove a lip and add two inches of Ag Lime and re-sod both fields for $46,025. Kober asked Lingen to get a quote from Heiderscheidt Digging for the project.

• Police Chief Matt Andres ordering a 2019 Ford F-150 four-door, four-wheel-drive police cruiser for $39,200, a state bid price motion by Joann Schmidt, seconded by Pelzel. Police vehicle equipment was list priced at $10,455 installed.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at