By Carol Kincaid
It is rare that Mayor of Edina, Davey Strickler, Jr., gets to use his voting power, as it happens only in the case of a tie among the Council members. Such an event happened during the December 17th meeting.
City Treasurer Peggy Collinge presented the final budget for 2007 and the proposed budget for 2008. The 2007 budget was unanimously approved, but after much discussion, the 2008 budget split the Council in half. Aldermen Dick Davis, Albert Hagerla, and Gordon Edwards voted in favor of passing the budget, while Council Members Craig Miller, Rene Edwards, and Tom Morgret voted "Nay". Mayor Strickler broke the tie by voting "Aye".
Those voting in the negative expressed reservations about getting into the reserve and improvement fund, though some of the proposed expenses are improvements.
Collinge has said in the past that the budget is a "living document" it may be changed by council vote at any time (and frequently has been). The budget may be adapted to fit financial income and expenditures at any time throughout the year. In other words, if a "what-cha'ma-call it" in the budget for 2008, it may not be considered essential to purchase in May. But, say something necessary to the safety of employees or the residents is not functioning, the Council members vote to amend the budget so they can purchase the necessary safety equipment. They can put off purchasing the "what-cha'ma-call it" until the next month, or even next year by a simple vote.
See Council, Page 2
Council, Continued From Page 1
According to the tendered Budget, Collinge stated "the revenues have remained fairly consistent with prior years. There has been an increase in telecommunication franchise tax due to cell phones."
Under "Expenditures" she noted the 29 percent increase in the premium for health insurance for city employees, salary increases for some employees, and expenditures from grant money in the CDBG (demolition grant).
Major proposed expenditures included in the budget (but not written in stone) include a pole barn at the City Barn, a new truck, skid loader and attachments, water lines, and lift stations. Other items listed were $10,000 or less.
In other news, Wastewater Superintendent Brad Eitel reported the treated water quality is well above required efficiency. He also noted that the #1 pump had been re-installed and all four pumps are now installed and operating.
Eitel also suggested some budget additions for next year. Estimated moving the north and east fences back to give the small ball field more room for seating and parking; replacement of the WWTF's composite sampler; and additional testing and lab equipment needed to meet the regulations of the new operating permit.
Police Chief Roger Waibel reported the meeting of several emergency personnel regarding any emergency disaster like the recent ice storm. (See last week's issue about this meeting.)
He and the Council members also spoke about hazardous buildings and the need for him to meet with the building inspector Jim Linville. He was instructed to take the next step in the city ordinance that pertains to demolition or repair of hazardous properties.
The VFW and The Blue Room both requested extended hours on New Year's Eve, and both were granted permission unanimously.
The final item of business involved unanimous passage of an ordinance approving participation in the settlement with US Cellular to pay the City past business license taxes amounting to an excess of $40,000.