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Akeley fire department seeks funds

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The Akeley Council, as has become standard in recent years, kept the property tax levy amount in check, the $202,343 levy for 2011 down slightly from this year's.

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The levy, by fund, includes $35,664 in the general fund, $750 for the cemetery, $21,600 for fire protection by the Eastern Hubbard County Fire District, $4,700 for the fire pumper payment, $81,695 for maintenance, $33,434 for police, $13,000 for special projects, including Highway 34 improvements and the water tower, and $11,500 for the city hall's building payment.

In a work session in November, the council agreed to raise police department hours from 16 to 20 per week. The council asked Jimmy Hansen to work 16 hours per week through the winter and increase his hours to 24 in May through August.

The council approved cutting the clerk assistant's hours from 40 to 20 hours per pay period and trimming road maintenance by $5,000.

City employees will receive no raises in 2011.

Council member and firefighter Troy Hegg told the council the fire department is looking for a 5 or 10 percent increase in the contract, which has remained stable over the past three years.

"I'm irritated no one has come before us with this," mayor Jennifer Mitchell remarked.

Council member Brian Hitchcock asked for an explanation. "Everyone is cutting. Why do we need this increase?" he said, noting many are going without raises. He suggested the city explore contract options with other departments and the matter be reviewed by an attorney.

The council took no action on the matter. "I expect them to come to us," Mitchell said.

The contract runs through March 2011.

In other action, the council:

n Reported a liquor store year-to-date net income of $18,402 through November. The liquor store reported a loss of $12,020 in November.

Saturday, Dec. 18 is customer appreciation day at the liquor store. Liquor store manager Lacey Hitchcock reported a band will entertain New Year's Eve. The council approved her request to spend $800 for the pool league.

n Adopted a policy forbidding ride-a-longs with members of the police department, as had been relatively common in the past.

The exception will be if a person is needed to find an address or structure in the city and for special events, such as Paul Bunyan Days. In this situation, the passenger must be a licensed officer and have gained prior approval from the council.

The squad car is not to leave city limits unless called to assist by other law enforcement agencies.

n Defined a "duties list" for the campground manager and maintenance department.

The council also approved a 2011 park manager's contract with Greg Everett.

The contract stipulates Everett is not an employee of the city and is not covered by Workers Compensation or any medical or dental program or retirement benefits.

The city agrees to pay 25 percent of all rental deposits as compensation.

Tabled a renters seasonal contract for the campground until January.

n Cliff Johnson reiterated his earlier intention to decline the position on the council to which he was elected in November.

According to statute, Johnson must officially decline the position in January. At that time, the council may appoint, at their discretion.

The council is not mandated to appoint the candidate who appeared on the ballot receiving the next highest number of votes.

Johnson received 64 votes; Terry Chalich earned 58.

The council is seeking letters of interest.

n Approved a 3.2 percent off-sale license for T&M Express.

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