By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
When Royalton’s 2013 levy came up for a vote at Tuesday’s meeting, Council Member Ron Verley presented his proposal to maintain the levy at the 2012 rate.
After passing out a packet of information prepared in part by City Clerk Carol Madsen, Verley explained that a number of line items in the proposed budget showed positive balances going into 2013.
“There is more than enough money from those areas rolling into the 2013 budget to cover the $7,800 that the levy increase was needed for,” Verley said.
Verley recommended that the Council reduce the preliminary general fund levy to the 2012 level, while acknowledging that there will still be a small increase in the debt service portion of the levy.
“There was not as much overtime used by the police this year, and not much snow removed last winter, so there are budgeted funds remaining from those projected expenses,” said Verley.
“We have a very healthy general fund,” Madsen said.
The Council adopted a resolution establishing the final levy for 2013 at $206,000 for the general fund and $220,836 for the debt service fund.
“The budget process is the single most important duty a council member must perform,” Verley said. “Through the tough economic times of the past years our mayor and council along with our city employees have strived to keep expenses down while still providing the essential services our citizens expect and deserve. It has been my goal each year to keep our levy increase at 0 or as close to that as possible. This year, realizing that all our fund balances where healthy and that there are some unused funds from our past year that will be rolled over to the general fund in 2013, I felt it was the perfect opportunity for a 0 percent increase in the city’s general levy.”
“We have no reason to burden the taxpayers with unnecessary dollars,” said Council Member Al Doty. “This is very reasonable. Thank you to Ron and our staff.”
“I think it’s a tremendous thing for our citizens that we can keep the general levy at the same level as last year,” said Mayor Andrea Lauer.
Other business that came before the Royalton City Council Tuesday included:
• Hearing a report from the Tree Board and finding out that the gravel propagation bed worked even better than expected on the 15 trees nurtured there this year. Fifteen more will be done next year;
• Tabling a discussion of the proposed noise ordinance changes pending more research;
• Adopting a resolution establishing the final budget for 2013 at $518,513;
• Hearing a report from Eutectics about the feasibility of proceeding with the proposal from SheerWind to construct a wind energy collection and generation structure in Royalton;
• Accepting SheerWind’s proposal to proceed to the next step in the process, which is an assessment of city needs and local conditions. The cost of $12,500 is fully refundable if the city does not ultimately move forward with the project;
• Approving 2013 tobacco licenses for the Log Bar and Grill, Royal Tesoro, the 10 Spot, EZ Stop Store and Craig’s Sports Grill;
• Approving the purchase of 1.9 acres of property on the east side of the 700 block of North Birch Street to put in a city well. “This well will be our main well,” said Council Member Ron Verley;
• Authorizing the addition of four new street lights: in Pine Court, on the curve near Cherry Lane, at the corner of the Platte Wood Townhomes entrance and at the corner of Platte Wood Drive and Eighth Street. Cost to the city will be $16 per light per month;
• Tabling the fee schedule for 2013 pending more information;
• Approving the purchase of a scanner to be used for electronic record keeping, using up to $2,000 of money that is left in the office budget;
• Setting a date for public input on the proposed 3.2 malt liquor ordinance for 7:15 p.m., Jan. 8, 2013 at City Hall; and
• Bidding farewell with many thanks to retiring Council Member Al Doty. “It’s been a tremendous benefit to our Council and our city to have Al serving,” said Mayor Andrea Lauer. “This is the best crew I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” Doty said. “The whole group is trying to do what’s best for this community. It was fun to get to see things happening. Thank you for letting me be part of the great job you are doing.”
The next regularly scheduled Royalton City Council meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the City Complex.