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Council approves preliminary budget

By Staff | Sep 6, 2013

Members of the Rugby City Council approved a preliminary 2014 budget for the city at its Sept. 3 meeting.

The budget will levy $506,581.01 from mills and will be down from the 2013 budget of $528,966.66.

About 47 mills, or $284,963, of the 2014 budget will toward the general fund, which covers city employee salaries, and pays for other city services and operations.

Other major expenditures include $54,804 for social security of city employees, $50,707 in the fire reserve and $41,000 for the library.

The mills needed to reach the budgeted figure were down, in large part due to the increased value of taxable properties in the city.

In 2013, the city levied 108.27 mills and in 2014 will only levy 83.79.

While the budget discussion was mostly benign, city council member sparred over a new fence built at a residence in Rugby that was built on city land and not compliant with the city’s ordinance.

The property, located at 503 3rd Street SE, is owned by Tim Bartsch.

Dave Bednarz, who chairs the city’s Ordinances/Recreation Committee, was against letting the fence stand.

“Why do we have an ordinance if people aren’t going to follow it?” he said. “Why am I wasting my time?”

At one point, a visibly aggravated Bednarz said he would resign from the committee if the council did not vote to enforce the ordinance in this case.

In the end, the council passed a resolution that would force the property owner to move the fence to be in compliance with the ordinance.

Council members Neil Lotvedt and Terry Wentz voted against the resolution.

Lotvedt and Wentz, as well Mayor Dave Cichos, voiced problems that might arise with other fences on city that sit on city land.

Others took issue with the fact that Cichos had spoken to the property owner during construction and had let him know the fence was not in compliance, wondering why he had continued to build after that point.

The council also received an update on the Chalmers Addition housing development.

The project contractor, Park Construction, had requested an extra $667,000 to put a 5-foot by 2-foot strip of gravel under every pipe for extra support on the deeper pipes.

The city and its engineering firm didn’t feel that was necessary so the idea of removing six of the northern-most lots of the development was investigated, with the thought that would take pressure off the single lift station in the development.

But losing the six lots would not only remove the revenue of selling the lots, but would also increase the special assessments to other lots in the addition.

A third option of adding a lift station to the north side of the development is being looked into, although no cost for the second station has been determined.

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