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Nevis Council approves slightly lower levy, will renew deputy's contract

For the first time since 2004, Nevis has "stopped the bleeding," reducing its proposed property tax levy, although minimally.

"We pushed every button we could," mayor Paul Schroeder said in making the announcement at this week's meeting.

The council approved a $211,962 tax levy for 2012, which compares with $212,278 in 2011.

Nevis' tax levy moved from $110,237 in 2003 to $98,563 in 2004 but then it slowly moved upward in succeeding years, by nearly $30,000 from 2007 to '08.

The council approved a proposed budget of $317,576 for 2012, up approximately $7,000 from 2011.

By fund, the city will levy $199,113 in the general fund, $73,672 for general government, $51,770 for streets, $47,786 for police and $25,885 for parks.

In other action, the council:

n Approved a 3 percent annual raise for liquor store manager Lisa Kamrowski on Schroeder's recommendation, from $32,500 to $33,500.

Council member Heidi Schmeichel voted in opposition to the measure, explaining after the meeting other city employees will be receiving a 1 percent cost of living increase, which was also approved this week.

"We're $30,000 ahead of last year with an additional $20,000 in inventory," Schroeder said. "I think she's doing a very good job."

The liquor store reported earnings of $12,390 in August.

n Approved seeking renewal of the three-year law enforcement contract with Hubbard County at $73,034 per year, retaining deputy Jeff Stacey.

This proposal, drafted by the sheriff's department, calls for no shared vehicle costs, no price increase during the duration of the contract and Nevis could keep the $3,000 set aside for a vehicle. The sheriff's office would retain ownership of the vehicle.

County commissioners have not yet approved the proposal.

n Denied a variance to replace an existing home and garage at 116 Emily Street on Lake Belle Taine. The property is owned by Keith and Renee Thielen.

The Planning Commission had approved the variance, but zoning commissioner Dave Neisen urged caution in granting of the variance "due to the setting of a precedence that will have to be maintained in the future."

He cited setbacks and impervious surface coverage as concerns.

"We do not have the right in our justice system to pick and choose who we will allow to do something over someone else. What is fair for one is fair for all," Neisen wrote in a letter to city administrator Carol Fridgen.

The Department of Natural Resources recommended denial because of the proximity to the shore impact zone.

Schroeder said he would support a 50 percent addition, per the ordinance, but not the 100 percent being proposed.

The Thielens indicated they would return with another plan to meet conformity.

n Will flush hydrants Tuesday through Thursday, Oct. 4-6.

n Learned the city's well two is in need of repair, at an estimated cost of $12,000 to $14,000. Maintenance supervisor Don Umthem also reported the water tower is beginning to rust.

"We need to keep raising rates," Schroeder said of the impending costs.