Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Preliminary budget approved, water rates will increase


September 20, 2018

The city approved the preliminary levy of zero to two percent increase in property taxes at the monthly meeting of the council on Wednesday, Sept. 12.

The council also passed a motion that the final levy be set at $618,459.

The Truth in Taxation hearing was set for Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. to set the final levy.

There will be an increase in the water rates paid by users of three percent, and in the sewer rates at one percent.

City Administrator Tim Peterson explained that the increase in the water rates is due to a net loss in the Water Fund because of engineering fees for the proposed well replacement project.

“The water rate increase would mean an increase of 68 cents a month to residential customers,” he explained.

Peterson also explained that there is a net loss in the Sewer Fund but that loss could be covered by reserves.

“We are trying to slow the loss down,” he said. “I propose a 1 percent increase to the sewer rates. That would amount to 25 cents a month for each percentage point. We will still have a net loss but it will be a slower loss than previously.”

Peterson reviewed the budget. The police department will add the title of detective to one of its officers, which would open up more training opportunities, Police Chief Bryce Bogenholm has explained previously.

The department will purchase a new squad vehicle, and it will add an interview room by expanding into one of the offices currently used by the Moose Lake Area Fire Protection District. A video and audio recorder will be purchased for the interview room.

The budget included a plow and sander for the Public Works Department, as well as a pickup broom and a heat source for the public works garage.

At Riverside Arena, the budget listed electrical work, fans and janitorial carts.

The improvements to the community center included a new rooftop unit for heating and cooling, and painting.

Phil Entner of the Public Works Department spoke about a grant that could fund a trail from the bridge over the Moose Horn River on the south end of the city to the school for walking and biking.

Peterson explained that the city would submit an application for the $250,000 to $300,000 in grant funding for the trail.

“The city has to match the funding,” he said. “It’s a real long shot but it would be a huge project for Moose Lake if the grant is awarded. It could also tie into the Portage Trail System that runs on the east side of Moosehead Lake.”

Peterson reported that the sales tax charged in the city has been bringing in more revenue than had been estimated. It will bring in between $300,000 and $400,000, instead of the $150,000 previously estimated.

The city has received a communication from the Emergency Management Director of Carlton County, Steve VanKekerix, that the president has declared Carlton County as a disaster area during the 2018 floods. The city had sustained damages of $70,000. Peterson reported that the city would submit a request for funding those repairs from FEMA and Homeland Security.

The council approved a contract with the City of Cloquet for animal control. However, it covers only dangerous animal without owners.

In the past, the Moose Lake Police Department has picked up stray animals, posted photos of the animal on social media, and the owner has claimed the animal within a few hours, Bogenholm has reported previously. An officer has only had to transport an animal to Cloquet to a shelter on one or two occasions a year.

The council approved retaining the current library director until May 21, 2019, at the full-time salary.

The current library director has served as both the library director and technology director. However, the role of technology director is no longer needed. CW Technologies has taken over that role.

Several members of the council said that the current library director needs time to find another position, if he so chooses.

The council approved hiring two applicants as attendants of the recycling shed, Cynthia Woltjer and Anna Thompson.

In other business, the council approved a resolution for a Joint Powers Agreement Regarding the Anti-Heroin Task Force Program, approved an application for a one-day off premises for Moose Lake Brewing for the Oktoberfest of Riverside Arena on Sept. 29, approved quotes for repair of a roof leak and the cost of materials to finish the back of the public works shop, and the plan from SEH, the city’s engineering firm, for street repairs in the amount of $11,700.

The next meeting of the council was set for Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 4 p.m.


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