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City Council approves 2019 tax levy and budget

The Perham City Council approved the 2019 tax levy and budget during the regular council meeting Monday night. The residential tax rate increases from 48.25 percent in the 2018 levy to 48.4 percent in the 2019 final levy. A home valued at $138,00...

The Perham City Council approved the 2019 tax levy and budget during the regular council meeting Monday night. The residential tax rate increases from 48.25 percent in the 2018 levy to 48.4 percent in the 2019 final levy. A home valued at $138,000 will see an increase of $1.72 according to a sample residential tax calculation presented by City Manager Jonathan Smith. Perham's tax rate was the 7th lowest in Otter Tail County with Richville being the lowest at over 20 percent and Rothsay the highest at over 100 percent according to Smith's presentation.

The city also went forward with a Request for Proposals on a new fire truck to replace engine 3 in 2019. The council initially budgeted $400,000 for a new truck, but that price is now projected to reach upwards of $600,000. The city isn't committed to purchasing a truck after approving the Request for Proposals. "Going through the RFP process gives us an opportunity to see a real number on paper so we're not playing a guessing game," City Manager Jonathan Smith said. The outgoing fire engine is worth between $25,000 and $65,000 according to Fire Chief Mark Schmidt. The RFP is good for 30-60 days which gives a timeframe to order a new truck in January before prices are projected to increase 3 to 5 percent in February.

The council refused to approve lobbying services from O'Rourke Strategic Consulting to gain legislative approval for the local option sales tax. Smith said no other cities with the same sales tax option have approved lobbying, and it doesn't warrant the additional cost of $22,000.

The council approved GASB 75 actuarial services from Van Iwaarden Associates.

The council approved an amended Tax Increment Financing Agreement for NMTD, LLC. The amendment keeps the term and dollar agreements the same but lowers the job goal from 8 retained and 11 new jobs to 3 new jobs and 8 retained.

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The council approved a conditional use permit for The Backyard to allow for dog boarding/ daycare.

The council approved a conditional use permit from Pamela Osterfeld to rezone the old St. Paul's Church from Service to Commercial to Downtown Commercial. This allows for more employee parking.

County Road 8 will remain closed until late May 2019. Tuffy's has agreed to purchase flashing beacons for the Main Street stop signs to assist with the detour.

The Department of Health has approved the Wellhead Protection Plan Part II. This will be the guiding plan for the Wellhead Protection Committee for the next ten years.

The council approved a request by the Boys and Girls Club and Empowering Kids to allowing them to hang large red hearts on sign posts down Main Street and 3rd Avenue as part of the Giving Hearts Day fundraiser on February 14, 2019.

The next regular city council meeting will be held on Monday, January 14, 2019.

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