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City Council reviews budget of $1.4 million

Kenmare property owners may owe a little more in taxes next year than this year, according to the city’s new budget, but it will be a little less than last year.

8/15/12 (Wed)

By Terry Froseth

Kenmare property owners may owe a little more in taxes next year than this year, according to the city’s new budget, but it will be a little less than last year.

City accountant Jan Kostad presented the city’s financials, followed by a 50-page preliminary budget at the monthly meeting of the Kenmare City Council on Monday.

Kostad reported the city’s taxable valuation has risen 7.9 percent in the past year. Even so, property owners will pay slightly more in taxes levied by the city. Taxes for 2013 on a home valued at $100,000 will amount to $395.98 under the new budget. This compares to $385.43 in 2012. The 2013 tax is less than 2011, however, when it amounted to $401.94 on a $100,000 home.

The City of Kenmare preliminary budget shows total appropriations of $1,443,239 for 2013. This compares to a total budget of $1,399,813 in 2012.

Costs more
for door-to-door
Door to door peddlers will have to pay a higher fee when they register with the city.

The current ordinance has required a $25 license fee, per person, per day, for transient merchants. The license is issued by the city chief of police.

The ordinance was amended to raise the fee to $100 per person, per day.

School available
for storm shelter
The Kenmare School has informed the Fire Department that the high school can be used as a storm shelter, according to city council president Chuck Leet.

The school would install a lock box near the entrance that contains a key for the high school doors, and only the Kenmare Police would have a key for the lockbox.

This would allow the city police to open the school building in the event of an emergency.

Mayor Roger Ness asked why the police wouldn’t just have a key to the school, rather than the lockbox.

“Let’s get a clear definition of this. Maybe there’s something more to it,” Ness said.

City engineering
Justin Froseth of Ackerman-Estvold Engineering secured the council’s approval of the engineer’s report, plans and specifications, and special assessment boundaries for the water improvement project which will supply water to the new development north of the old city landfill, as well as the new development along Highway 52 (site of the new Gooseneck Implement).

The total probable cost of the project was estimated at $1,610,000, to be paid through special assessments. The special assessment districts will consist of the areas under development.

Building permit
The city gave its approval for a building permit issued to Richard Thomas for a 56’4”x27’6” modular house with 30’x30’ garage and 10’x10’ deck and a chain link fence.

The house will be set on the vacant lot on 2nd Avenue NE, north of the Karen Melin home on 6th Street NE.

It was noted during discussion that manufactured and modular homes must now have foundations that have the appearance of standard construction rather than mobile home skirting.

Weeds and diseased
trees are a nuisance
Public Works director Mike Thompson said there continues to be a problem with Dutch elm diseased trees in town.

He estimated there are now around 200 trees standing dead from the disease.

There was discussion of setting another deadline for removal of diseased trees. Then the city would have the remaining trees removed by a professional service and assess the cost to the property owners.

Thompson also informed the council of that the spread of the noxious weed, creeping Jenny, has become a problem around town.

In other action:
• Ryan Ackerman of Ackerman-Estvold reported the new city water tower will have a second logo, same as the first, affixed to the opposite side of the tower.

• An application for a grant from the city sales tax fund for health care was approved to the Kenmare Hospital to purchase a $1056.66 Bear Hugger. The blanket-type device can be used to treat hypothermia patients.

• A $500 donation from the city gaming fund was approved to Mouse River Loop Envirothon.

• A resolution was approved to transfer ownership of certain property north of the old landfill to the Kenmare Community Development Corporation for the specific purpose of having the property’s title then transferred to developers who will be responsible for all infrastructure and development costs of the site.

• The plat of a 3.2 acre outlot was approved near the site of the new Gooseneck Implement facilities.

• The council approved a letter of commitment to Ward County Emergency Management to participate in a hazard mitigation plan and grants. Amanda Schooling of Ward County Emergency Management explained the purpose and the process for creating a plan and becoming eligible for hazard and disaster mitigation grants. Mayor Ness said the city is looking forward to creating a disaster plan. “I think it’s a good idea,” Ness said.

• Holly Brekhus of the Tobacco Free Coalition informed the council of her group’s progress. “We put our energy into the statewide ballot initiative,” she said. The measure will ban smoking in all public buildings across the state. Brekhus presented a handout to council members with a summary of what the new law will change, along with the entire language of the measure.

• A Fund Itt matching grant for business appearance improvement was approved to Wild Styles Salon and Spa for $310.30 to replace front door and window glass. The council also approved payment of $253.93 for a dedication sign at the Kenmare Scenic Walking Trail.

• The Fund Itt report noted that in 2011, $132,493 (about $11,041 per month) in city sales tax was collected for Fund Itt’s share for economic development. Through June 2012, Fund Itt’s share of the city sales tax has already amounted to $114,935 (about $19,155 per month).

• The city has plans to install a culvert to improve drainage in the area of the Gene Hellebust home. Some work to divert water off the street and into the coulee has already been done.

• The city has been working with the school to clarify details of the contract for use of the Memorial Hall. Council member Terese Skjordal stressed that the city wants to encourage the school’s and the publics’ use of the facility, but issues such as janitorial duties should be straightened out.

• City auditor Barb Wiedmer informed the council of the League of Cities convention in Grand Forks September 20-22. The city will reserve motel rooms for any council members wanting to attend.