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SE City Council OKs preliminary 2021 budget

SLEEPY EYE – By unanimous vote Tuesday, the Sleepy Eye City Council approved a $4.92 million 2022 preliminary city budget.

The proposal includes a 5.7% ($85,170) levy increase to $1,585,495. Action came on a motion by city councilor Gary Windschitl, seconded by Doug Pelzel. The preliminary budget must be submitted to the Brown County Auditor-Treasurer Office by Sept. 30. 2021. The budget cannot be raised any higher but the final 2022 budget could be reduced in December.

“I think everybody did a good job on this,” Windschitl said.

City Manager Bob Elston said he recently raised 2022 city park camping fees that would reduce the levy increase to 5.3%.

“I think we’ll sustain it,” said Elston. “The (Sportsmen’s Park) camping pads have been full every weekend.”

The 2022 budget includes a $64,800 police department fund hike from $772,300 to $837,100.

“We want to do a wage increase next year,” said Elston. “We want the people we have to stay. We appreciate them.”

Councilor Doug Pelzel said wage increases would keep Sleepy Eye police salaries equal with area communities.

Elston said the City continues to spend $75,000 a year on lake improvement including a study on using the slough to filter lake water.

“The DNR (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources) is very excited about our lake. Two years ago, it came off the state impaired waters list, which was very significant,” said Elston.

The 2022 budget also includes $240,000 to transfer to economic development and $295,000 for contingencies.

The city council also approved:

* A $1,000 donation from the Sleepy Eye Sportsmen’s Club for police department body cameras, motion by Pelzel, seconded by Nate Stevermer.

* A resolution terminating a development agreement between the City and Frontier Labs, MN LLC which entered into a contract for a private development/business subsidy agreement on July 15, 2018 for the planned construction of a two-story laboratory and agricultural warehouse with office space on the Snow Farm property on the east edge of town.

The City would have transferred property with a fair market value estimate of $62,500 for $1 to Frontier Labs, granting them a $62,499 business subsidy.

Frontier Labs failed to build the project on the property by Aug. 1, 2021 as required by the agreement; and agreed to transfer the property back to the City.

* New fire department members Kyle Borth, Dylan Wersal, and Nick Martinka, motion by Stevermer, seconded by Windschitl.

* A dance permit without hired security at Sleepy Eye Brewing for a Sept. 25 Oktoberfest celebration, motion by Pelzel, seconded by Scott Krzmarzick.

* First reading of of Snow 5th Addition plot by Stevermer. Alliance Building Corp proposes to build an apartment building with garages between 12th St. East and 260th St.

* City Engineer Dave Palm said 12th Avenue/St. Mary’s Street, 2020 Street & Utility and 2021-22 CSAH 365/1st Avenue improvements are coming along well. Palm said plans are to start 1st Avenue concrete work north of Elm St. next week.

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

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