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City budget, tax levy increase of 6.58 percent approved

The Perham city council discussed and approved the 2018 final tax levy and budget Monday night with no public comment heard.

The tax levy showed an increase of 6.58 percent over this year going from $1,288,086 to $1,372,802. City manager Jonathan Smith noted increases could be contributed to the addition of a full-time police officer, adding about $70,000 to the general fund. He also explained the debt service fund and insurance costs added to the increase.

Smith gave a presentation, which showed debt service remains the largest part of the tax levy using 33 percent of the total. That was followed by the general fund (31 percent), capital improvements (11 percent), library (10 percent), fire (8 percent) and EDA (5 percent).

Based on the tax levy, a homeowner with a home valued at $138,000 would see an increase of $10.56 annually to their property tax.

A commercial property valued at $200,000 would see an increase of about $30 annually.

Utility increases for 2018 included an increase to the residential water rate of a little under $1 per month per residence, and gas would increase about 26 cents per month per residence.

Gas fee increases are based on what the city pays for the utility.

The council approved the budget and levy with all in favor. Council member James Johnson said Perham residents are getting a good bang for their buck in terms of services they receive for the taxes paid.

In other business the council:

• Approved the 2018 fee schedule.

• Approved a two-year police contract with the Perham Police Department. The contract includes a 3-percent wage increase per year for the next two years.

• Approved the council meeting schedule to include Jan. 8, Feb. 12, March 12, April 9, May 14, June 11, July 9, Aug. 13, Sept. 10, Oct. 8, Nov. 13 and Dec. 10.

• Approved a resolution to allow the city to accept donations to be used towards the construction of the Perham Lakeside Golf Course Event Center. The resolution details that the city manager is to write receipts for all donations the city receives towards the event center.

• Approved the payment of city claims.

• Authorized the submission of the Wellhead Protection Plan to the Minnesota Department of Health for approval with all commissioners in favor. If approved by the department of health, the plan will be effective for 10 years.

Michael Johnson

Johnson is a graduate of Verndale Public School. He earned his associate's degree from Central Lakes College with an emphasis in English and natural resources. He earned his bachelor's degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead, where he graduated cum laude in 2008. While there, he double-majored in English and Print Journalism. He's reported for The Advocate, student newspaper of MSUM; The Barnesville Record Review in Barnesville, Minn.; Clay County Historical Society in Moorhead, Minn.; Gillette News Record in Gillette Wyo.; Underwood News in Underwood, N.D.; and The Leader-News in Washburn, N.D. and the Brainerd Dispatch in Brainerd, Minn. Johnson has worked as a reporter for the Pioneer Journal and Perham Focus since Nov. 2017.

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