City Council approves the 2022 municipal budget | News, Sports, Jobs
NEW ULM – New Ulm City Council unanimously passed the 2022 budget of $ 22.98 million at its meeting on Tuesday.
This budget calls for a property tax levy of $ 8.75 million, which represents a 5.86% increase in the total levy.
No comments were made during the Dec. 7 hearing on the truth about tax matters. No changes were made to the preliminary budget.
The city’s fiscal capacity has increased 1.78% over the past year. Due to the increase, the impact of the levy is an increase in the tourist tax of 3.19%.
Councilor Les Schultz brought forward the motion to accept the final 2022 budget and the levy with a second from Councilor David Christian. It was approved unanimously.
Mayor Terry Sveine congratulated the city’s department heads and the financial administration for their work on the budget.
Board Chair Andrea Boettger acknowledged they had done a great job and said next year will bring bigger changes and they will have their work cut out for them.
The city has designated polling stations for the 2022 election, selecting the Lutheran Church of Our Savior as the new polling station for Ward 4.
Each year, the city must designate polling stations. In 2020, the city of New Ulm had four polling stations; The Redeemer Lutheran Church for Ward 1, the New Ulm Community Center for Ward 2, the New Ulm Civic Center for Ward 3 and St John’s Lutheran Church for Ward 4. These same locations were nominated in 2021 even though there were no elections scheduled.
In 2022, the city decided to keep the same voting sites for everyone except Ward 4. The Ward 4 polling station was previously located in the New Ulm Park & Recreation building before the start of the construction. Construction is complete and this location is available again. However, when the election is held at the Recreation Center, fitness classes are suspended for three days. Staff are concerned about traffic inside and outside the building during the election and are unsure how to arrange the space if COVID restrictions are still in place for the election.
St John’s Lutheran Church and Our Savior Lutheran Church have been identified as large spaces that will work well if social distancing is required for the voting booths. The council believed Our Savior had the advantage of parking.
Councilor David Christian brought forward the motion to approve the voting sites for the Redeemer Lutheran Church for Ward 1, the New Ulm Community Center for Ward 2 and the new Ulm Civic Center for Ward 3. The motion included Our Savior as a polling location for Ward 4 with St John’s as a backup location.
It was approved unanimously.
The council allowed a court application to appoint Michelle Markgraf to the city’s Charter Commission. On October 19, the council authorized the City Charter Commission to meet in 2021 to continue the Home Rule Charter review process. However, on October 21, Charter Commission member Sue Kimmel resigned due to moving to another community. A new member was to be appointed to fulfill Kimmel’s unexpired term.
A new charter commission member must be appointed by resolution asking the district court to formally appoint the new member.
One of the main reasons for convening the charter commission is to review the nepotism clause that prevents immediate family members of city employees from sitting on town hall or city council.
Michelle Markgraf and Carl Zeidler have expressed interest in serving on the committee. The board found that both Markgraf and Zeidler were qualified for the job.
Boettger said she would agree with either. She first looked into Zeidler’s appointment due to her previous involvement in researching information about the city’s charter.
Schultz leaned towards Markgraf because she had new ideas and had actively participated in city council meetings in the past. She was present at this meeting.
Christian said he liked to look at the city commission in terms of representation and that the charter commission was overly represented by men. He also believed that Markgraf could represent new ideas.
Schultz brought forward the motion to name Markgraf as the person named on the petition. The motion was unanimously approved by the board of directors.
Markgraf will serve on the committee until the end of Kimmel’s tenure in April 2022.
The council approved a recommendation to reduce the membership of the Parks and Recreation Commission from nine to seven.
Currently, nine members serve on the commission, but two members leave the commission at the end of this year, when their terms of office expire. By approving the reduction in membership now, no new members will need to be removed from the council and Mayor Sveine will not need to appoint additional members.
The Parks and Recreation Committee unanimously recommended the reduction at their last meeting.
Christian proposed to reduce the commission to seven members with a second from Schultz. The motion was approved unanimously.
Council authorized the request for the proposed legal service.
Law firm Blethen Berens currently manages the city’s legal services, but the deal will officially end on November 10, 2022. The city will need to appoint a new firm or individuals to provide legal services.
The proposed timeline is to submit a request for proposals by January 10, 2022; review proposals by March 11, 2022 and start a new contract by June 1, 2022.
The board supported efforts to find a replacement board, but was concerned that no company would submit proposals.
Schultz favored seeking proposals, but warned the city may need to find other options for legal services.
“There aren’t a lot of people who are suing”, Schultz said. He suggested possibly creating an internal post.
Current city attorney Roger Hippert said he couldn’t think of any local law firm that could serve as legal counsel in New Ulm. It is difficult to find a lawyer willing to work outside of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. He said many communities outside of the Twin Cities contract with federal offices for legal services. This includes Mankato.
The board has agreed to begin the process of finding a new legal department. The city will know if local options are available by February.
The city passed a resolution authorizing City Manager Chris Dalton to sign the Minnesota State Opioid Subdivision Memorandum of Understanding.
This deal determines how much money Minnesota will receive from the recent opioid regulations.
Counties, cities and the state of Minnesota have entered into an agreement that will govern how funds from recently announced settlements with opioid companies will be distributed in Minnesota.
To finalize this deal, the city must sign the State-Subdivision Memorandum of Understanding (MN MOA) and also join the two settlements with opioid distributors McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health, and opioid maker Johnson & Johnson d ‘by January 2, 2022..
Minnesota is expected to receive more than $ 300 million from settlements, but the state needs cities and counties to adhere to settlements in order to maximize resources to fight the outbreak.
The more cities and counties that sign by January 2, 2022, the more money the state will have for treatment, prevention and a whole host of programs and strategies to reduce the opioid crisis.
The Minnesota Autism Center located at 11 N. Minnesota Street requested and was granted the use of three parking spaces in front of the building.
The board approved the request after discussing alternative options. The proposed location of the center has limited parking. Three stands have been requested in front of the building to be reserved for depositing and taking care of customers.
The times requested are from 8:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Their hours of operation are Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm There are no night or weekend hours. The facility would operate year round.
The Minnesota Autism Center is looking to open a center in New Ulm. The Minnesota Autism Center is a non-profit organization that provides center-based therapy services to children and adolescents affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), promotes the general education and well-being of people with ASD, and supports the development of healthy families. As some clients have special needs, the school wants parking a short distance from the building.
Councilor Les Schultz had concerns about evening parking between 4:15 p.m. and 5 p.m. He was concerned that this would occupy three parking spaces during a busy period.
Councilor David Christian said he was ready to give it a try because it was only for a 45 minute window.
Councilor Eric Warmka offered to approve the request with a Boettger second. It was approved unanimously
The city chooses to review and modify the parking requirements at a later date if deemed necessary.
The city awarded a contract to replace the airport terminal furnace and air conditioner to GSM, Inc. for $ 15,700.
Funding from the America Rescue Plan (ARPA) and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) could be used for the project. New Ulm will receive $ 32,000 in ARPA grants and $ 13,000 CRRSA. The funds are intended to be used in operations, personnel, cleaning, sanitation, janitorial services, controlling the spread of pathogens at the airport, and debt service payments. Furnace units listed include an air filtration system that will fight the spread of pathogens.
Mayor Sveine reported on a Highway 14 partnership meeting held in Owatonna. The expansion of the four-lane to New Ulm is expected to begin in March or April, depending on weather conditions. Highway 14 will be relocated north of Courtland. The project is estimated at the end of October next year.
Boettger also attended the meeting and said the project was imminent and nothing else will stop construction.