The Nisswa City Council on Wednesday, Dec. 4, approved the 2014 budget and a general revenue tax levy of $1,930,308, with council member Jan Pierce opposed.
That’s 4.28 percent higher than the 2013 tax levy of $1,847,652.
The final levy also is $36,000 lower than the preliminary levy of $1,966,308 that the city approved in September.
According to draft meeting minutes, the council removed $15,000 from the budget because comprehensive plan quotes came in less than anticipated, and it removed $21,000 budgeted for a generator.
The levy includes a budgeted 3 percent raise for all employees (but union negotiations will determine the actual amount) and $16,456 in estimated sales tax savings because the state is exempting cities from taxes on certain goods and services.
The council discussed across-the-board 3 percent wage increases, with some council members worried about that amount. Mayor Brian Lehman suggested that after union negotiations, a committee discuss a process for employee evaluations.
Supervisory employees recently voted to have union representation.
Several residents spoke at the city’s truth in taxation meeting Dec. 4. In addition to employee raises, money budgeted for Nisswa Lake Park plans and other items, money budgeted to insulate a cold storage building was questioned. They were told insulation was needed to warm up hydraulics.
Pierce wondered if the council could wait until its regular monthly meeting Dec. 18 to adopt the final levy to allow time to get more information on insulating the cold storage building. However, Lehman said he wanted a decision at the Dec. 4 meeting.
Council member Tina Foster was absent from the Dec. 4 meeting.