Weather Forecast


City sets budget, levy for 2014

Capital work — such as repairing roads and buildings — remains a key focus for the city of Red Wing as council members unanimously agreed to a 2014 budget and tax levy Monday night.

The council voted 7-0 to adopt a 2014 tax levy of $14,574,823. That is a 3 percent increase from the 2013 levy of $14,150,314.

The increase is primarily not due to more spending, city finance director Marshall Hallock said.

“It’s really directed at replacing revenues,” he said.

The change includes making up for about a $381,000 decrease in state utility aid, debt service increase of $155,649 and a $100,000 general fund contribution to the capital improvement program. A reduction in other spending of about $212,000 brought the total to the levy approved Monday.

“There is a raise in expenditures, but it’s not in operating expenditures,” Council President Lisa Bayley said, noting much is focused on capital projects.

The council also talked about plans for the future. The tax capacity at the Prairie Island nuclear plant is expected to increase in coming years due to improvements there, Hallock said, and the city hopes to take advantage of that to fund projects.

Top capital project priorities in the city’s plan include the Sturgeon Lake Road overpass design, West Avenue reconstruction and River Walk and Levee Road project. Other plans include the Sheldon Theatre and other building repairs and maintenance, airport projects and work at Mississippi National Golf Links.

The budget can change and includes some revenues such as state bonding money that are not for sure, the council noted.

The council set a preliminary levy of $14,738,314 in September and aimed to bring that number down. Staff and the council worked to bring the total even below the amount approved Monday night, Bayley said, but decided to keep it a bit higher to cover some potential future expenses, such as from taking over land held by the Port Authority before those properties are sold.

“This is a choice we made really for planning purposes,” Bayley said.

The city is still talking with the Port Authority about other potential changes, Bayley added.

The council unanimously approved the 2014 Port Authority budget and a tax levy of $307,409 on Monday, the maximum allowed and the same amount as the 2011, 2012 and 2013 levies.

The Housing and Redevelopment Authority levy also did not increase and was approved at $262,640, along with its budget.

The votes came during a special council meeting Monday, which lasted about a half-hour and followed the truth-in-taxation meeting where staff walked through the budget and levy plans and the council held a public hearing.

No residents spoke during the public comment period.

The council held a number of budget workshops and discussions in the months leading up to Monday’s vote.

“We have avoided a lot of last second, if not last minute, changes,” Mayor Dan Bender said.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

(651) 459-4629