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Council takes up budget

NEW ULM–The City of New Ulm will set the preliminary 2020 budget and tax levy Tuesday.

The 2020 budget calls for a $24,056,621 appropriation and a maximum property tax levy of $8,091,725.

Last year, the city council approved a $23,771,216 final budget with a tax levy of $7,693,527.

The council is not approving the final 2020 budget and tax levy until December. The preliminary budget is set to establish a maximum levy amount for next year. Between setting the preliminary levy and the end of the year, the city can choose to lower the tax levy but cannot increase it.

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The council will consider two Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) grant applications related to seasonal flooding. The second is a FEMA pre-disaster mitigation grant application. Both grants would help New Ulm place a lift station on 18th South Street.

During flooding events, the city has used large pumps to handle the excess water. If the pumps were to fail, the city would see significant damage to public infrastructure and privately owned homes.

If approved for this grant, the city could build a lift station on 18th South. Both grants are approximately $1 million, with a 25 matching component from either the state or city.

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A resolution to support the Minnesota River State Trail will be reviewed by the council. The Minnesota River State Trail is a legislatively authorized state trail. When complete, the trail will connect Big Stone Lake Park to Le Sueur. In Le Sueur, the trail will connect to the Minnesota Valley State Trail.

The DNR is focusing on planning efforts on the area between New Ulm and Nicollet. The most suitable locations in the corridor are on the south side of new expanded U.S. State Highway 14. To proceed with more detailed trail planning, the DNR and MnDOT are requesting a resolution of support from New Ulm and other communities.

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The New Ulm Chamber of Commerce is requesting $45,000 to fund a retail economic development coordinator (REDC). The REDC is a position within NUCC that will coordinate with local government departments to promote, align and develop new retail segments in New Ulm.

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A public hearing will be held on the re-calculation of the 2005 special assessments on three parcels within the Lakeside Village Addition.

The assessments are on the sanitary sewer main, water main, sewer and water end services, storm sewer, site grading, stormwater pond, aggregate-based and site grading.

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A rezoning and comprehensive plan amendment petition from Arlyn and Susan Boddy will be considered. The petition requests a property at 1703 S. Minnesota St. be rezoned from general industrial to multiple-family residential and the comprehensive plan change the property from industrial to high residential.

The rezoning would allow the construction of a house on land adjacent to the property with industrial uses.

The planning commission recommended the petition be denied. City staff described this as “spot zoning” and the approval could set a precedent that could make it difficult to manage land use in the city. Also, the planning commission did not believe the request addressed a change in the condition of the property.

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The council will consider the request from the New Ulm Chamber for Oktoberfest-related activities. The requests include the closure of Center Street from Minnesota to Broadway on Oct. 5 and Oct. 12 and placing ticket huts in city parking spots outside the Chamber of Commerce and in front of the former Kemske building on Oct. 5 and Oct 12.

The Chamber of Commerce is also requesting an additional parking spot for a new Bavarian pretzel vendor for both Saturdays of the festival.

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