Brian Hansel | Daily Journal

Proposal: Fergus Falls city finance director Bill Sonmor unveiled the proposed 2020 tax levy and budget at Monday’s city council meeting. The council approved the levy, budget and a public meeting for both on Dec. 2.

The Fergus Falls City Council passed resolutions approving the 2020 proposed tax levy and budget and set Dec. 2 as a date for levy and budget public meeting at Monday evening’s meeting at City Hall.

City finance director Bill Sonmor unveiled a proposed tax levy of $6,682,362 and a budget with expected revenues of $40,677,463 and expenditures of $39,229,677. The 2020 proposed levy would be a 4.95% increase over the 2019 levy of $6,367,186. In dollars, the increase would come to $315,176.

The city’s tax capacity rate for 2020 is expected to be 59.585%, a 1.68% change from the 2019 capacity rate of 58.601.

The council also approved:

• A resolution requesting an evaluation for a change order for $258,600 by Carlton Company on the Phase II demolition project at the Regional Treatment Center.

• A resolution terminating the Letter of Intent signed with American Covenant Senior Housing to build east and west detached buildings at the RTC.

• A resolution approving a tax abatement and business subsidy agreement between the city and Northstar Behavioral Health for a maximum of 10 years. A similar agreement with Otter Tail County is expected to lead to a lease of a 60-bed chemical dependency and mental health facility in Fergus Falls by Northstar.

• Second reading of Ordinance 90 (sales and use tax).

• Second reading of Ordinance 91 (tobacco).

• The purchase of a $564,177 fire truck by the Fergus Falls Fire Department.

• A resolution appointing Klara Beck as the new Port Authority Executive Director.

• A resolution providing for the issuance and sale of a Health Care Facility Note for Apple Tree Dental on Western Avenue.

• The Kiwanis NP Park project.

• A $79,870 watermain project on Sheridan Street between Junius and Washington avenues.

City administrator Andrew Bremseth told the council that in anticipation of the 2021 closing of the Hoot Lake Power Plant, which will cost the city 6.5% of its tax base, several city positions (food, parks and forestry and part-time office staff) are being cut for an expected savings of $300,000.

The consent agenda included:

• A motion directing staff to evaluate a Wi-Fi project with Otter Tail Telcom.

• Separate resolutions approving a $20,000 business development facade loan for BaHa Rentals and a $10,000 facade loan for Zachmann Properties.

• A resolution allowing the United Prairie Foundation to submit a grant application to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for prairie restoration work on city-owned sites.

• By a 5-3 vote, a motion authorizing the Aquatics Committee to review a third site for an aquatics center. Joining the East Kirkbride property and Adams Park will be Roosevelt Park. The council voted 5-3 against a motion by councilman Scott Kvamme to look at Delagoon Park as a fourth site.

• A resolution setting a public hearing for Oct. 21 at 5:30 p.m. to consider a reduction of the speed limit from 45 to 30 mph along Alcott Avenue between Tower Road and Martin Street.

• A motion directing staff to review a pedestrian crosswalk near the intersection of Martin Street and Alcott Avenue.

• A motion directing staff to review traffic control measures at the intersection of Union and Alcott Avenue.

• A resolution authorizing staff to pursue a $750,000 for Complete Census Count Committee marketing.

In recognition of Minnesota Manufacturing Week, Mayor Ben Schierer declared Oct. 1-7 as Minnesota Manufacturing Week in Fergus Falls.


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