City budget amended
Rugby’s final city budget for 2011 was amended to $493,058.21 and approved at Monday night’s meeting.
The preliminary budget approved in September was $506,530.71. At the September 15 special meeting of the council, they tweaked it to $498,182.21.
City Auditor Karla Harmel reported finding a $5,125 error under the social security line item which lowers the total and final budget to $493,058.21.
“Residents should see their taxes go down a few dollars,” said Harmel.
The mills levied have gone down from 115 in 2010 to a projected 112 in 2011. However, each mill this coming year is worth a little more than last year so estimated taxes will be a few dollars lower.
Gerry Jacobson made a motion to approve the budget as amended with the reduction. Arland Geiszler seconded the motion. All present voted in favor, with Neil Lotvedt voting by conference call. Dave Bednarz was absent and not voting.
Repairs needed at Armory
A leak at the armory has the council considering what to do next. Lance Johnson, Johnson Plumbing, suggested that the floor drain is probably going to have to come out. The problem is that Johnson couldn’t tell how much damage there actually was when he went to assess the leak. Without knowing the extent of the damage, he can’t make a bid for the project.
“If we can do all the work below the floor, then it’s not so bad,” said Johnson. He gave out a ballpark figure of $2,000-$3,000.
There was some discussion on abandoning the floor drain in front of the bathroom and plugging it off with cement. This would mean the drain in the basement would also have to be capped to prevent sewer gas from leaking.
Johnson reccommends replacing everything with PVC piping, but he said, “It depends on what else is in there that we can’t see.”
After further discussion, the council approved a motion to hire Johnson to repair and replace exposed cast iron pipes with PVC pipes and do exploratory work, up to a cost of $2,500, which is the amount that can be done without putting it out on bids. If it turns out to be a much bigger job, the work will be bid.
In other action, the council:
Heard from Rick Larson, city water superintendent, who informed the council that ten years ago the Rugby Swimming Pool was switched from gas to liquid chlorine. After researching the issue, Larson said by switching back to chlorine gas and putting in a 2’x4′ chlorine station outside, the pool would save $1500/year. The Council approved the change to gas and to build a 2’x4′ chlorine station outside the pool.
The council touched briefly on the Home Rule issue. The city auditor explained that according to several different attorneys general opinions, the city has to have a Home Rule Charter in order to have a sales tax. The only power of Home Rule that the city of Rugby has used is that of implementing a sales tax. The sales tax would be abolished if Home Rule Charter was abolished.
Jim Day asked if the Home Rule Charter issue had been set for placement on the November ballot. “No, the petition has been kicked out,” said Karla Harmel, city auditor. The petition had not been accepted as proper procedure had not been followed. Day added that he thought the intent of the petition was to have the people vote on whether or not to abolish the Home Rule Charter to rein in spending. Dennis Fred who heads the committee to get this issue on the ballot was not at the meeting.
At this meeting the council did approve securing equipment breakdown insurance coverage at a cost of $449.77/year with a $1500 deductible.
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