Preview of city’s proposed levy shows a 4.11 percent increase

By Joyce Moran

The Little Falls City Council was given, at its Monday evening planning meeting, what will most likely be the 2008 proposed levy for the city.

The amount is $2,764,000, down from the original $2,814,000 given the county. The proposed amount is a 4.11 percent increase over the 2007 levy of $2,655,000. However, Lori Kasella, acting co-city administrator, said property taxes will not necessarily increase since the market value for the city has seen a 10 percent increase.

The city’s truth in taxation hearing is scheduled for Dec. 10. The motion to adopt the city’s budget and levy will come before the Council Dec. 17.

In other business at their planning meeting, the Council members:

• Met with members of the Friends of the Zoo board. While presenting the Council with proposed budgets through 2010, members also asked that the city “forgive” the $5,000 payment due this year on the $25,000 loan the city gave them for the operating costs of the new managers. Tina Wheeler, chair of the board, also reported the zoo “could really use a different truck,” and that the admission fee to the zoo will be raised next spring.

Responding to the request, Kasella reported the $5,000 was slated for the revolving loan fund and its absence would not affect any other budgeted item.

Several Council members complimented the Friends board members on what has been accomplished at the zoo over the last two years. “It’s a good fit for the city,” said Mayor Cathy VanRisseghem. “It takes a while to be successful.”

She went on to say that both Rep. Al Doty and Sen. Paul Koering had said they were confident they could get some lottery money for the zoo.

Concluding, she said, “It’s phenomenal what you’ve done and in such a short time. It’s amazing; you have very dedicated volunteers.”

Responding, Zoo Director Marnita VanHoecke said, “We’re appreciative of the support you’ve given us.”

Council President Michael LeMieur told the members, “We’ll consider what you’re asking for.”

Following the departure of the board members, Kasella pointed out to the council that there was “no stipulation” that the Friends had to pay back $5,000 of the loan each year. She further suggested the five-year loan agreement could be extended a few years;

• Were informed over 300 people had visited Linden Hill over the weekend for Christmas at the Mansions;

• Were informed of a “nice” 2004 Ford truck that had been seized as a drug forfeiture. While listed at $7,590, there is still $5,160 owed on it to the bank; and

• Discussed the need for businesses to obtain a “going-out-of-business” permit. “We passed the ordinance for such after some businesses advertised they were going out of business and then brought in truck loads of goods,” said Council member Mike Doucette. The cost for the permit is currently $25. Doucette went on to point out there is no need to get a permit if the business does not advertise it is going out of business.

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