by Dennis Dalman
The Sartell City Council approved a preliminary 2013 budget of $5.7 million at its Aug. 27 meeting, which is a 4.2 percent increase from this year.
The tax levy of $4.9 million – the major share to fund that budget – shows an increase of $226,000 – about a 2 percent increase from this year.
That budget is a preliminary budget only. A final budget will be considered in December by the council. That budget can be reduced from the preliminary-budget amount, but it cannot be increased once a preliminary budget is approved, said Sartell Financial Director Mary Degiovanni.
The main reasons the budget had to be increased are the need for seal-coating next year ($65,000) and the cost of hiring a new police officer, plus training, fuel and supply costs for both the fire and police departments, Degiovanni noted.
Sartell Mayor Joe Perske said he and others on the council were very reluctant to increase the budget. They met many times with city staff and department heads to cut every cost they could think of. But Perske said the council had no choice because maintenance of streets for public safety is so important, as well as the need for fuel, training, supplies and a new police officer.
Council member Sarah Jane Nicoll said it is still possible the council will decrease the budget between now and December.
It is not yet known how the budget will impact taxpayers because the city’s tax-capacity rate has not yet been released by the state.