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Park Rapids 2012 budget up modest increase from 2011

The Park Rapids City Council has approved a 2012 proposed General Fund budget. Expenditures are broken down by general government, public safety, community development, culture and public works.

Park Rapids has approved the preliminary General Fund budget and proposed property tax levy for 2012 at a slight increase from 2011.

The Park Rapids City Council set the 2012 General Fund budget at $1,564,873 and the 2012 tax levy was set at $2,157,073, up 3 percent from 2011.

The breakdown of revenues is $1,584,873 from property taxes, $314,126 from Local Government Aid from the state and $699,291 from other sources. The city makes payments on several bonds.

The majority of the increase in the 2012 budget is for capital improvements including replacement of computers at City Hall, roof repair and an increased cost for sealing the decorative concrete on Main Avenue, said city administrator Bill Smith.

Computers haven't been replaced in years, he said, and they are in need of replacement.

The police department is saving money in salaries due to new officers replacing several long-time officers taking jobs with the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office.

Labor negotiations will start soon, Smith said.

In other business, the council:

n Set the Truth in Taxation public hearing for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29 at the Park Rapids Area Library lower level meeting room.

n Directed Smith to set up a meeting between the Park Rapids City Council and Hubbard County Board to discuss collaboration.

The idea came from a discussion at a recent Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Commission.

"I think it would be good to work closer with them," said Mayor Nancy Carroll.

Councilman Paul Utke agreed.

"I think there's a lot of things we could do together," he said.

The council suggested that public works, police and parks are areas for potential collaboration.

Public works director Scott Burlingame said a lot of collaboration is already being done among departments as far as sharing equipment or helping with a project.

Carroll suggested that the meeting could be more of an educational piece to learn about the collaboration already being done at a department level.

n Had a first reading for an ordinance rezoning land to B-1 in the city of Park Rapids. Paul Bunyan Communications is planning to purchase property and the land needed to be purchased.

City planner Dan Walker said the property, which is south of 8th Street East and east of Highway 71 South, made sense to rezone.

n Approved a Conditional Use Permit to allow the construction of a telecommunications equipment building in the B-1 zoning district at 220 ½ Eighth Street East.

n Approved a Conditional Use Permit to allow the construction of an optical transmission/communication equipment building in the R-1 zoning district at 201 Huntsinger Avenue.