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Rugby City Council approves 2018 budget

By Staff | Sep 15, 2017

In a meeting last Thursday evening, the Rugby City Council voted to approve the City of Rugby’s 2018 preliminary budget.

The city is levying 103.71 mills or $788,206. About 90 of the total mills will make up the general fund levy, or $684,099. Other levies include 5.81 mills for public recreation ($44,137), 1.58 mills or $11,970 for snow removal, and 6.32 mills or $48,000 for the Heart of America Public Library.

The city is expecting decreases in the amounts it receives from State Aid and highway tax distribution, and increases in cost of living, utilities and employee healthcare costs.

The city is expecting to receive over $4.54 million in proposed revenue, and over $4.46 million in proposed expenditures, leaving a total net budget of $86,281.

“We are budgeting conservatively in the event of a shortfall,” said City Auditor Jennifer Stewart.

Rugby Mayor Arland Geiszler said the budget for 2018 doesn’t leave “much wiggle room.”

Fluoride removal discussed

The council did not act on the second reading of an ordinance to remove the adding of additional fluoride from the city’s water treatment process.

But that wasn’t to say that fluoride wasn’t discussed.

The board met with two representatives from the N.D. Department of Health: Oral Health Program Director Kimberli Yineman, and Greg Stewart, of the drinking water program.

Fluoride occurs naturally in the city’s drinking water at a rate of 0.3 parts per million, however additional fluoride is added during the treatment process to meet the State-suggested level of 0.7 ppm. The concern is that the additional fluoride is causing a corrosive atmosphere at the water treatment plant.

Greg Stewart said after walking through the plant his opinion was that the corrosion at the plant was due to normal wear and tear and the fluoride is being vented properly. He also said the drinking water program’s stance is that cities can choose to add whether or not to put in additional fluoride, the NDDOH doesn’t mandate it.

Yineman said fluoride helps in cavity prevention and it would also prove helpful for persons of all ages.

“There’s never been any research that it’s harmful in any way,” Yineman said.

Yineman also said 97 percent of water systems around the state are fluoridated.

Rugby resident and former councilman Dave Bednarz said he had told his second cousin, who works at a water treatment plant, about what the city intends to do and that his cousin said he had never seen any issues as long as fluoride is properly vented.

Rugby dentist Paul Niemi said the fluoride added to municipal water has a “systemic” effect for patients, helping to harden the enamel and prevent decay of teeth.

“We can see the enamel change,” Niemi said, “the effect [fluoride has] on the enamel.”

Niemi said he was in favor of keeping the adding of more fluoride in the treatment process.

Ward 2 Councilman Gary Kraft asked about the 0.7 ppm recommendation. Niemi said the number was dropped to 0.7 from 1.2 ppm because of the amount of products that weren’t fluoridated before. Niemi also said fluoride levels at or below 0.4 ppm have no dental effect.

Other actions

– A moment of silence was held for late Ward 3 Councilman Tim Barsch, Sr. Bartsch was pronounced dead last Tuesday following a rollover crash on U.S. Highway 2 just 14 miles west of Berthold.

– The board approved the resignation of Ron Montonye as chairman of the city’s Planning & Zoning board.

– The board approved a raffle permit application from the Northern Lights Lions.

– The council approved a liquor/beer license application and a Sunday beer/liquor/wine sale permit application for Rancho Grande Mexican Restaurant.

– The council approved August meeting minutes, bills and financial statements, Job Development Authority meeting minutes and 2018 preliminary budget, and the Municipal Judge’s report. In a related motion the council voted to table consideration on the Convention & Visitors Bureau’s preliminary budget.

Typically held on the first Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m., the council’s meeting was moved to last Thursday due to the Labor Day holiday.

Ward 2 Councilman Randy Fossum and City Attorney Bill Hartl were absent from the meeting.

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