by Eric Oslund
The Otsego City Council will hold its first meeting to discuss the 2018 budget at 6 p.m. May 8. It will be an opportunity for the council members to outline any direction, priorities or goals that they want to address for the new budget.
They will be reviewing all the services the city provides such as plowing roads, plowing parks, maintaining parks, code enforcement and so forth and then provide direction.
Things that could be included are whether or not they want to change anything the city is doing or any services it is providing, although City Administrator Adam Flaherty said he could see the council leaning toward keeping everything at the status quo, since he hasn’t heard many, if any, complaints from residents.
City staff will also be present at this meeting, and the hope is that the ideas the council presents will help give them direction as they work on preparing the budget. The staff budgets will then be presented to the council toward the end of summer.
The city must then prepare a preliminary tax levy by the end of September.
“That’s important because the majority of our revenue is from property taxes, and that tax levy cannot go up after the September date, so we have to make sure our budget is adequate before we set that preliminary tax levy,” Flaherty said.
At this point in time, it’s too early to say whether or not there will be any large increases or decreases in the budget from a year ago. Wright County did provide information on property values during the council meeting on April 24, which showed that the city’s tax values are increasing close to 7 percent on average, but Flaherty said the idea is to try and keep the tax rate increase as minimal as possible or have no increase at all.
85th Street Project
The City Council at its April 24 meeting approved an engagement letter with Nagell Appraisal & Consulting for appraisals of properties in the 85th Street Project.
The city is moving forward with the construction of 85th Street west of Nashua Avenue, but first the city must acquire right of way and easements from the affected property owners. To remain on schedule, appraisals need to be done as soon as possible so offers can be made once plans are approved.
City staff plans to meet with Nagell in mid-May and has requested that the appraisals be completed by mid-July. Nagell will $1,500 per parcel ($22,500 total for 15 reports), which is the same rate it charged for appraisals of the 70th Street properties.
Kadler Avenue planning agreement authorized
The City Council approved the financial planning agreement with Northland Securities for services in connection with the consideration of tax increment financing on the Kadler Avenue street construction and industrial development project.
The costs for the services included within the agreement are not to exceed $4,000. However, the city may incur additional costs for services beyond the scope of Northland’s expertise.
The council also approved a resolution calling for a public hearing on June 12 for consideration of tax increment financing on the Kadler Avenue street construction and industrial development project.
Dust control of gravel roads set
The City Council approved to have Central Minnesota Dust Control complete the 2017 dust control application to specific gravel roads at an estimated cost of $13,991.
Every year the city contracts for the application of dust control chemicals to the most heavily used gravel roads in the city and 500-foot sections that are requested by residents – if they agree to pay for that portion of the application.
For 2017, they are having full-length applications of McAllister Avenue, 83rd Street and 60th Street, which is similar to what they have done in years past. They have also received three private requests for 500-foot sections of 62nd Street, 96th Street and Kadler Avenue.
The Parks and Recreation Department has also requested to have approximately 1,300 feet of dust control chemicals applied to the soccer field drive, which has also been accounted for in this year’s total amounts.
Snowmobile storage pact reached
The city of Otsego has agreed to terms with the Wright County Snowmobile Association and the Otsego Snowmobile Club regarding equipment storage.
There is an ongoing agreement between the city and the two snowmobile clubs that allows storage of the groomer at Water Tower 2 or other city facilities. The agreement for 2016 has terminated, but the city council approved the requested extension during its meeting on April 24.
In exchange for storage, the Otsego Snowmobile Club has agreed to provide grooming for city-owned cross-country ski trails located at Prairie Park.
Crack sealing quote approved
The City Council approved to have Bargen Inc. complete the 2017 street crack filling project at $2.95 per pound with a project cost not to exceed $75,000.
Each year the city contracts out the crack sealing of the city streets as part of the city’s pavement management program. Crack sealing is being recommended for all streets that are receiving either a fog or seal coat, which equals to approximately 17 1/2 miles.