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Park Rapids council approves 7.9 percent budget hike

Work is just beginning on Park Rapids’ water treatment facility on Huntsinger Avenue. The construction is scheduled to continue throughout the fall, weather permitting. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

The Park Rapids City Council has adopted the preliminary general fund budget and levy for 2014.

The proposed budget of $2,901,362 is 7.9 percent higher, or $212,338 more than 2013. It was approved at the Tuesday, Sept. 10 council meeting.

A preliminary budget must be sent to the state by Sept. 15. The council has an opportunity to reduce the budget and levy before December, when the city will present its final numbers to the state.

City councilman Paul Utke said he’s not excited about the increase and wants the finance committee to work on the budget before the final number is approved in December.

In other business, the council:

n Heard that construction of the water treatment plant is progressing and work will continue this fall.

The water treatment plant will help the city combat high nitrate levels in water.

nDiscussed water/sewer connection fees and the possibility of decreasing the amount. At a previous meeting Mayor Pat Mikesh said he wondered why the fee was $750, which seemed high. He asked staff to look into the fees and bring a report back to a future meeting.

If the water/sewer connection fee was decreased the city would need to make up the revenue someplace else.

City administrator John McKinney said the city is in the process of having a water rate study done by Ulteig Engineering and suggested adding this item to that study and presenting information when that is completed.

n Approved sending four members of the Park Rapids Fire Department to Napa, Calif., to look at a potential used ladder truck to replace old equipment.

Fire chief Donn Hoffman explained that the fire department currently has a 1964 truck that is scheduled to be replaced in the Capital Improvement Plan in 2014.

Rather than spending hundreds of thousands on a new truck, Hoffman has been scouring auctions for used. He has found a 1994 Simon Duplex Ladder Truck with 89,210 miles on it for sale. It is currently listed on an online bid that is scheduled to close Sept. 26.

Hoffman has spoken with someone about the truck and doesn’t think it will be purchased by bid.

If it is still available after Sept. 26, he requested having four fire department representatives go to California and, after inspection, if they feel it is adequate to the Park Rapids department’s needs, they will purchase the truck, take training on its operation and maintenance and then drive it back to Park Rapids. If they do not feel it is adequate they would fly home instead. The cost for the trip would be included in the cost of the truck and be taken from the Fire Department Equipment Fund.

It is estimated to cost between $3,500 and $5,300.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561