City council passes first reading of budget
projects for 2014
GRAFTON – The Grafton City Council at its regular monthly meeting Monday, unanimously passed the first reading of the 2014 preliminary budget.
Grafton City Administrator Nick Ziegelmann gave a PowerPoint presentation on the preliminary budget. He said the budget process includes input from department heads and several meetings by the budget committee which reviews and recommends the preliminary budget. The budget needs to pass two readings to become official and total expenditures cannot increase between readings.
A special meeting to approve the final 2014 budget will be held on Monday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers.
The city of Grafton is proposing to levy 126.28 mills or 26 percent of all real estate taxes levied by various entities including Walsh County, the Grafton School District and Grafton Parks and Recreation.
Ziegelmann said this year’s mill levy will reflect an increase of 1.47 mills, most of that increase is due to proposed road projects and the fact federal road improvement funds are no longer available to the city because the population has dropped below 5,000 people. He said the mill levy increase translates to an bump up of $3.31 per month for a homeowner who property is valued at $50,000.
The city council also approved several road projects for the 2014 construction season. Those projects were recommended by the Public Utilities Committee (PUC).
The biggest project is a mill and overlay on Western Avenue between 12th and 16th Street. According to Ziegelmann, That project will include curb and gutter. The estimated cost of the project is $332,500.
Other projects include the bike path overlay along Fifth Street and School Road and.
Also upon recommendation from the PUC, the board passed a motion to accept a proposal from Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson to conduct a storm sewer modeling project for the city. The project will be paid for with money from the sales tax fund.
The motion to go ahead with the storm sewer modeling project was made by Chris Lipsh and seconded by Dave Fellman. It passed by a 9-1 margin with Ken Gebhardt voting against it.
“We know where the problems are now,” Gebhardt told the council during discussion on the matter. “If we spend $55,000, we should be putting money toward solving the problem.”
The storm sewer modeling project is meant to determine what the city’s storm sewer system is designed to handle and what can be done to alleviate the problems that occurred during rain events this spring and others in the past.
According to Ziegelmann, the model will project what will happen during two, five, 10, 25, 50 and 100-year rain events. He said the rain event that flooded streets and homes this spring was considered a 25-year event.