City Council Adopts 2009 Proposed Budget
By Crystal Howerton
The Edina Board of Alderman met in regular session on Monday evening, December 15, 2008 to discuss the 2009 Proposed Budget and 2008 budget amendments.
City Treasurer Peggy Collinge met with the Board. First discussed was over $100,000 in budget amendments. Collinge stated that many of these increases had been expected due to the past year’s price increase in fuel, building materials and the additional street and sewer work that was completed in 2008. Council members approved the budget amendments as presented.
Collinge announced that she had met with Edina Mayor Davey Strickler and Superintendent of Utilities Mike Wriedt earlier in the day to discuss the 2009 proposed budget and capital outlay requests for next year.
Council members were provided with a copy of the Budget Overview for 2009 stating:
“The budget for the City of Edina for 2009 includes for comparative purposes: the actual 2006 and 2007 revenues and expenditures for all funds, and the estimated 2008 revenues and expenditures (10 months actual plus estimated amounts for the last 2 months), and the projected revenues and expenditures for 2009 for all funds.
The assessed valuation for 2009 was not available at the time the budget was prepared, so estimated property tax revenue is based on 2008 valuations and the 2008 tax levy which are detailed on page 9 of the budget report.
There has been an increase in telecommunication franchise tax due to cell phones being taxed. During 2008 the city received an additional approximately $40,000 in telecommunication franchise tax in the general fund from prior years.
The base charge and the usage charge for Clarence Cannon Wholesale Water Commission increased effective October 2008. This will necessitate an increase in the amount being charged customers. The 2009 budget has been prepared anticipating an increase in the usage rate for customers of $1.00 per 1000 gallons, with the base rate remaining the same as prior years.
Also recommended but not approved is an increase in the sewer base rate of .50 cents and an increase in the usage rate of .50 cents to cover needed future capital outlay in the sewer fund.
The sanitation fund has operated with a deficit for 2008. It is recommended that the residential rate be increased by $1.50 per month and the business rate be increased by $2.00 per month. This should produce approximately $1,000 per month with the goal to eliminate deficit spending in the sanitation fund.
There will be a decrease in sales tax revenue for 2009 until the state has recouped amounts that they paid out in error for the period of May 2000 through August 2003. The estimated amount that will be recouped began in December of 2008 and in total should amount to about a $35,000 decrease.
The Health Insurance premium for city employees increased approximately 8% for 2009.
A salary increase of $5,000 for the year has been requested for the sewer supervisor and a 2% or minimum .25 per hour increase for all other city employees. These amounts are included in the budget but have not been approved by the council.”
Capital Outlay requests
included in the 2009 budget but have not been voted on by Council members amount to $224,000 in the Special Light Fund – repaint poles; Reserve and Improvement – pole barn, tools, trailer for equipment, bucket truck, trash track; Water – improvements; Sewer Fund – Lift stations; improvements and lab equipment.
In addition, a monthly amount of $1,650 was budgeted to be transferred from the Water and Sewer Operating Fund to the Water and Sewer Depreciation and Replacement Fund to cover future capital outlay again this year.
After much discussion, Mayor Strickler suggested that Council members approve the 2009 Proposed Budget in order to have a working document to start the coming year and amend it later as needed. The budget was unanimously approved and Mayor Strickler commended Collinge on the excellent preparation of it.
Next, Ken Berry and Cindy Gunter met with the City Council seeking their blessing for a grant project that would address childhood obesity in our community. Gunter stated, “The Center for Disease Control warns that if we do not reverse the current trend of obesity in our children we are in danger of raising the first generation of American children who will live sicker and die younger than the generation before them.
Preventing obesity during childhood is critical because habits that last into adulthood frequently are formed during youth.” They explained that the grant seeker would be developing strategies to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic in our community. Numerous funders are being considered to address the plan. The plan will include an evidence base, an action plan, and advocacy of education to develop a proposal that will address childhood obesity in Knox County. Their plan will include a nutritional and a physical activity component.
During Citizen Comments Fred Kinsel addressed the Board concerning his tree that was discussed during last month’s meeting. He stated his disappointment of having first been made aware of the Council’s concerns when a picture of his tree was included in The Edina Sentinel following last month’s meeting. He believed that he should have been invited to the meeting. Council members explained that his tree had not been on the November agenda and was only brought up during Alderman comments in which Council members shared concerns from the community regarding the tree’s location with regard to safety.
Kinsel stated that he has since trimmed the tree so that the stop sign in question is now in full view and invited Council members to view it prior to taking further action. “I have taken steps to rectify whatever problem there is and I feel like any further trimming would mutilate the tree.” Kinsel has a sentimental attachment to the tree that he planted with his late wife. In addition, he mentioned that he has always kept his yard neat and clean.
Wastewater Superintendent Brad Eitel met with the Board. First, he thanked Council members for their consideration of a salary increase.
Eitel stated that the average daily flow for November was 127,000 gallons per day, or 57.7% of the design flow and a total of 3,808,000 gallons treated. The actual population equivalent for November was 1309. He also informed Board members that he had replaced the float switch on the #1 pump and hauled 9 loads, approximately 18,000 gallons, of sludge.
Superintendent of Utilities Mike Wriedt was present for his report as well. He informed Council members that there had been a mishap in which a city employee had backed into a car early that morning while clearing streets. Wriedt said there were no injuries and the appropriate paperwork had been filed.
He stated that the Hill, Clay and Monticello Waterline Replacement Project has been completed and that the final taps would be done in the spring. “Right now we’re just trying to keep up with the snow and trash pick-up,” added Wriedt.
Edina Police Chief Roger Waibel reported that the garage doors have been replaced and necessary improvements made to the Police department garage. He informed Council members that Chris Gonnerman, New Century Computers, would be making repairs to the police department’s computer, cost of which is approximately $425.00.
Chief Waibel said several towns have requested that he speak with their Boards regarding the tranquilizer gun (for animal control) and associated ordinances.
A copy of the proposed “Red Flag Rule” for the City was provided to all members of the Board of Alderman. The City is required to pass a “Red Flag Rule” according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which has a new rule requiring all creditors, including municipalities, to actively look for identity theft. The rule has been referred to as the “red flag” rule because of the requirement that creditors actively look for “red flags” that indicate identify theft or fraud is occurring. The City provides the water, sewer and trash utilities and this policy helps to prevent the likelihood of identity theft occurring with respect to utility accounts requiring the personal information. The Board of Alderman adopted the Identity Theft Prevention Program for the City of Edina.
Council members took copies of the Proposed Floodplain Management Ordinance to review prior to next month’s meeting.
Alderman Comments were heard and during unfinished business, Council members gave their approval to give right of ingress/egress to John and Carol Kincaid to access their property at their request, however the expense of documents would be the responsibility of the Kincaid’s. Because the Kincaid’s have recently sold a piece of their property which will essentially land lock them, they requested that the City of Edina document their agreement that the Kincaid’s may cross City property to access their driveway.