City Council to mull budget, Hermann hillside stabilization

NEW ULM — Tuesday, the New Ulm City Council will review the 2019 city budget and establish the maximum property tax levy for 2019.

The levy is projected to increase by 8.77 percent. The 2019 budget calls for $23,769,215 in appropriations and a maximum property tax levy of $7,857,525. This is a $633,853 increase from last year.

The council will only set a preliminary levy. It will have until December to make adjustments to the budget. However, by setting a preliminary budget the council determines the maximum amount property taxes can increase. The council has the option to decrease the levy before the final budget is approved, but by state statute, the levy cannot be increased.

The truth-in-taxation hearing is Dec. 4 at 6 p.m., to continue Dec. 11 at 6p.m., if needed.

In other news, the Hermann Heights Park Hillside Stabilization Project will be before the city council again.

The Kasota-Stone limestone retaining wall in Hermann Heights Park along Center Street has become a safety hazard for groundskeepers and park visitors. The wall is falling down in places during rain. The wall requires ongoing maintenance and repairs.

The project was originally presented to the Park and Recreation Commission in April. Bolton and Menk, Inc., were recommended to design and bid the project. Since then, four options for the stabilization project were created. The lowest-cost option would remove all retaining walls and slope the hill similarly to the New Ulm Diocese hillside on 5th North. It is estimated to cost $260,000. However, this option was not the unanimous choice of the city council.

Several of the council members favored the option to landscape the hill similarly to the Martin Luther College hillside on the opposite side of the Center Street. This would create a matching design on both sides of the street. This option is significantly more expensive at $584,675.

At the Park and Recreation Commission’s Sept. 10 meeting the commissioners recommended moving forward with the second option; but it was not a unanimous recommendation.

The council still needs to formally vote on an option for the stabilization project, Tuesday.

A public hearing will held to allow the public to voice their opinions on using a tax abatement for the DLC Manufacturing & Fabrication project at 24 Somsen St.

DLC is proceeding with plans to relocate their manufacturing facility to the Airport Industrial Park and requested financial assistance. After review it was determined by city staff that the tax abatement would be the most appropriate financial program for the project.