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NYM city council receives Minnesota cities report

More than four out of five Minnesota cities (79 percent) reported being less able to meet their financial needs in 2009 than in 2008. According to a report by the League of Minnesota Cities (LMS) in which the city of New York Mills participated. Some of the findings were presented in a letter from Executive Director Jim Miller to NY Mills city officials.

The letter was made public as part of the June 15th regular meeting of the New York Mills City Council.

Over 450 city officials throughout the state completed the Fiscal Conditions Survey. The response rate was 56 percent. Responses are used to help LMS' advocacy efforts on behalf of cities and to educate legislators and other officials about cities' financial circumstances.

The findings contrast 2006 when cities were roughly split between those better able to meet needs and those less able. Since, the share of cities optimistic about their fiscal condition has steadily declined.

More than 60 percent of cities across Minnesota reported property tax revenues fell short of budgeted amounts for 2009, more than double the share of cities with property tax shortfalls in 2003.

Cities also utilized a range of budget-balancing actions in 2009, including workforce cuts. 70 percent of cities enacted revenue increases, 46 percent made spending cuts, and 44 percent used their reserves.

The majority of cities expect to recover from the economic recession in two to five years.

Public works

Public Works Director Roger Salo reported the department started the irrigation of wastewater the first week of May. There were some problems. North Woods Electric did some electrical work, which ended up being some bad fuses. Also, the screen at the pump became plugged, so workers had to have Valley Irrigation from Wadena pull the motor, piping and pump to get to the screen below, which they removed. The irrigation process is time consuming as two of the pivots are four miles from town, and they need to be checked at least daily.

"We are trying to communicate with the farmers to get the most benefits for their crops," Salo said.

There have been some sidewalk issues with someone falling up town. There are numerous areas that have potential problems, but most are within the possible 2012 street renewal.

•The public works department hosted a one-day training session on the large regulators, which the gas department has at the regulator station south of town. It was very informative and a great reminder as to how to do maintenance on the regulators. People from Hawley, Lake Park, Perham, and New York Mills attended.

•The annual Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety inspection of the natural gas system was done on May 25 and 26. This inspection was mainly on the O and M and Emergency Manuals, along with a walk around to inspect some of the larger meter/regulator sets. The inspectors said there should be no warning letters forth coming. This system was the first municipal system to be inspected in 2010.

•Leading Edge Welding set a new permanent gas meter/regulator at the grain dryer as was mentioned some time ago. Twenty-five percent of the final cost will be billed to Leaf River Ag. The public works department billed the same way for Lund Boats earlier. Also, the old gas line going to Lund Boats was abandoned. This was before the final lift of tar was laid on the street.

The council voted to approve an increase for in-town gas service installation for residential customers at the request of Salo.

Prior to the vote, $75 was charged for in town gas service installation for residential customers. Now $75 will be charged for materials and $1 per foot for installation. Residents outside of city limits would have twice the charge.

•Leases are all paid for equipment purchased for the public works department. A request to trade a Grasshopper mower and attachments in for a new Husler mower was approved by the board.

•The final tar was laid on the 2009 street project. There are some water valves that will be raised. Manholes are down a little because in a year or so the tar will conform around them and the public works department doesn't want them higher than the surface.

•The opening of bids for the 2010 S. Main project is June 23.

Country View playground on hold

A proposed playground in the Country View development is on hold for the time being. After donations of $5,000 from the NY Mills Lions Club, $500 by the New York Mills Civic & Commerce, $200 by Mid-State Auction Service, $200 from Tender Hearts Home Care were received, the NY Mills Park Board decided the space provided for the location was not suitable for the equipment.

Garden Club donation

The New York Mills Garden Club has donated $100 to the Park Board for flowers planted in the city parks.

ROLA Grass Drags & Swap Meet

The board voted to grant permission for the 2010 ROLA Grass Drags & Swap Meet to be held at the old airport, August 7.

Kevin Dreyer, representing the event, said they will start preparing the site ahead of time and the location is great for the event.

Mills Liquors

Revenues for May were $59,263.77. Revenues year to date are $269, 848.43 and profits are $10,276.10.

New Happy Hours are noon-2 p.m. and 4-6:30 p.m.

Pool opens

The New York Mills Community Pool officially opened Monday, June 4.

The equipment is running properly.

The council discussed the possibility of raising money to install a slide at the pool to give kids something to do and make up for the loss of the diving board due to depth restrictions.

There will be a Free Swim Day July 2.