The Lake Shore City Council on Aug. 29 approved a 2013 preliminary tax levy of $788,165 and a 2013 preliminary budget of $846,887.
The preliminary levy is $15,651 (2 percent) more than the 2012 levy of $772,514. It is still lower than the 2011 levy, which was $799,795.
The increase comes from little items, not one major factor. Two areas that are unpredictable for cities are snowfalls and new home construction. Winters with a lot of snowstorms mean cities pay more for plowing. More new homes being built mean more money for cities.
So the council accounted for those predictions in the 2013 levy and budget, jostling costs based on current spending trends and last year’s costs.
Cities were required to certify a preliminary levy to counties by Sept. 15. After that, levies can decrease, but cannot increase before final adoption in December.
A truth in taxation meeting to approve the final levy and budget will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, at the council’s regular monthly meeting.
The council agreed to pursue a Parks and Trails Legacy Grant from the DNR for the proposed recreational trail along County Road 77.
At this point, the city is looking into funding sources for the trail. The Legacy grant application is to construct 2.3 miles of paved trail along County Road 77.
The grant could require a 10 percent match.
One resident spoke in support of the application, saying a trail would solve safety hazard on County Road 77 and provide a great recreational opportunity.
The first phase of the trail project likely would be the lower third, from Sherwood Forest to Sandy Point Road. This would be the easiest, least expensive and most beautiful section of the trail, according to the Trail 77 Team, the group spearheading the project.
Cass County land at the southern end can be used in the future for a trailhead parking lot and additional loop trails could be added in county land, then possibly funded by other sources, according to Trail 77 Team committee minutes.
Preliminary cost estimates for the lower third of the trail totaled $609,800, which would include wetland credits. Matt Reid of Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH), the firm the city hired as consultant for the project, told the committee his firm tried to stay on the high side of projected costs and the cost estimate is very preliminary.
For updated information on the trail, go to www.cityoflakeshore.com and click on “Trail 77 Team.” A section on frequently asked questions will continue to be updated and meeting minutes will be added.
The police department sold its 2007 GMC Yukon, a DWI forfeiture, for $17,551. The Cass County attorney’s office receives 30 percent of the net proceeds ($5,019) from the sale, and the remainder of the funds are distributed to the police department for alcohol and traffic enforcement equipment.
Police chief Steve Sundstrom asked that the funds be distributed as follows, and the council agreed: $4,800 for in-squad video camera for the new squad; $4,400 for radar speed display sign; and $3,332 for new equipment that will be determined.
From Aug. 27 to Sept. 23, police reported 61 traffic-related incidents and 50 miscellaneous calls. Traffic calls included eight citations, 48 warnings, three DWI arrests and one hit and run property damage crash.
Miscellaneous calls included five alarms, four medicals, six public assists, three suspicious activity, eight disturbance complaints, one motor vehicle theft, one theft complaint, two property damage complaints.
Lake Shore police assisted Cass County deputies three times, Crow Wing County deputies once and Nisswa police five times.
Planning and zoning
The council approved an ordinance amendment that pertains to the short-term (six months) rental of homes. Ordinance changes basically reflect the requirement of having an inspection done by the Minnesota Health Department.
Since adopting the ordinance in 2010, the city has not had many problems and compliance is good. The problem the city sees is the condition of homes, including lack of smoke detectors, mold, etc.
The city believes that requiring a health department inspection will help with this issue.
The city issued six building permits in August for a total valuation of $225,450. Permits included one residential addition, four accessory structures and one deck/porch/patio.
That compares to 12 permits issued in August 2011 for a total valuation of $1,198,400.
To date this year, the city has issued 32 permits for a total valuation of $1,179,950. That compares to 36 permits issued by this time last year for a total valuation of $3,471,660.
In other business Monday, the council:
• Appointed seven election judges.
• Learned two rain gardens were installed at Sherwood Forest, and the Environmental Committee is looking into the possibility of curbside recycling.