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Nevis Council approves preliminary levy at 15 percent increase over 2009

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news Park Rapids, 56470

Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

After a few sessions of budgetary fine-tuning, the Nevis Council approved a preliminary levy of $216,314 Monday night, a 15 percent increase over 2009.

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The amount is based on a modest liquor transfer of $25,000, as opposed to $65,000 in the past. (Liquor store earnings year to date are $13,019.)

"I don't think we'll end up there," mayor Dave McCurnin said of the proposed levy increase.

Plans call for reviewing the budget in December with the final levy likely to be decreased.

"We've tried to hold down spending this year," McCurnin said, which could result in a surplus in some accounts at year's end.

Budget cuts to date include eliminating a lifeguard at the beach, as other area towns have done, $1,830, and reducing the police department's budget by $17,840. The city administration budget was trimmed $1,600, postponing purchase of a computer; Civil Defense saw a $770 cut; beach improvements, $3,000 and $1,000 shaved from parks.

The levy, by fund, includes general government, $79,522; streets, $57,093; police, $48,936; parks, $18,351 and fire contract, $12,412.

In other action, the council:

-Approved an increase in water rates to $28 per quarter, up from the current $22.50 per quarter. This will take effect in fourth quarter billing.

The council reviewed rates in neighboring cities which are significantly higher in most instances.

"This is something we need to address every year," McCurnin said.

-Learned the municipal liquor store will host an Oktoberfest Saturday, Oct. 3.

The event will include a chili contest, wine tasting, outdoor games, German wines, spirits and food and - possibly - an accordion player, according to manager Mark Peterson.

A Halloween contest at the culmination of October is also on the docket, with patrons invited to dress as their favorite councilperson.

"I'm hearing great things," McCurnin said of changes at the liquor store.

-Agreed to compromise on the city's payment of Peterson's health insurance.

Newly hired employees have a six-month probation period before the city covers the cost. But Peterson was not notified of this during his interview process.

The council, at Paul Schroeder's suggestion, agreed to a three-month settlement, each party assuming half the cost, which is $453 per month.

-Set hydrant flushing dates of Oct. 6, 7 and 8.

-Approved a bid of $8,500 from Ike's Heating and Cooling for a furnace heating system at the Nevis Fire Hall.

-Accepted Roger Plumley's quote of $1,500 to repair a sewer line on Arrowhead Drive.

-Accepted Long Construction's quote for hauling snow, as per last winter. Cost is $75 per hour for tandem dump trucks, $95 per hour for a front-end loader.

-Agreed to solicit bids for garbage pick-up in the city.

-Learned deputy Jeff Stacey conducted bus safety classes with students, among his other responsibilities.

"You are a real ambassador for the city," McCurnin said.

-Approved an emergency management handbook for city government officials.

-Accepted the resignation of Kevin King from the Planning Commission, appointing Jim Hawes as his replacement.

-Accepted the resignation of Craig Kritzeck from the Nevis Fire Department.

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