RC’s proposed tax levy slightly increased

Rush City taxpayers now have an idea of what may cause the city portion of their property tax bills to fluctuate or perhaps stay the same next year.

The city council on Sept. 10 certified the preliminary 2013 levy at $448,012, which is an increase of $17,816 over this year’s levy in figuring the burden that city taxpayers will help pay for city services.

The amount includes an Economic Development Authority (EDA) levy of $16,500 and a debt levy of $194,500.

Presenting the preliminary 2013 levy was financial consultant Kay Mattson who highlighted the following factors as to why there’s an increase over the 2012 levy:

• Contracted services with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office. Though the actual increase is unknown at this time, this will be determined before the final levy in December.

• Health insurance. The actual increase, if any, also is unknown at this time, so a 15 percent hike was put in the budget as a safety net. This will be adjusted when the true cost is known sometime in early November.

• Public Works Department. Due in part to wider sidewalks from the summer’s big road improvement project, Mattson explained, a part-time employee is needed to clean the sidewalks in the winter for a total of 120 hours.

• Salaries. The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) was included, and this will be discussed as the budget committee meets in October and November.

Other factors on the budget — in terms of revenues and expenditures — include the rising cost of airplane fuel and the county’s radio upgrade, Mattson pointed out.

The city’s final levy that’s adopted in December may not be more, but may be less than the proposed levy. The date of the truth in taxation public hearing has been set for Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Next, the budget committee will review the budget and levy again in October and November as more information on the total amount of market values within the city, sheriff’s contract and health insurance premium notice becomes available from the county.

In other news, the council:

• Approved transferring $29,018 out of the Fire Equipment Fund into the General Fund, along with transferring the same amount out of the General Fund into the EDA fund to pay for the purchase of the Bronson Erickson vacant land and any associated costs.

• Approved mill and overlay bids from Prefer Paving and Ready Mix, Inc., with Councilor Jamie Amundson abstaining from the vote.

• Approved a skid steer snowblower in the amount of $6,407 for Rush City Public Works.

• Tabled action, until the next council meeting, on adopting the Chisago County All-Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Events in Rush City

The Rush City Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring its 6th Annual Fall Golf Classic Friday, Sept. 21 at Bulrush Golf Course in Rush City. Register by Monday, Sept. 17 for this 18-hole, four-person scramble that includes lunch and a chance to win a new car, cash and other prizes.

The Rush City Lions and Rush City Fire Department are hosting their first annual gun raffle and spaghetti banquet Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. at Chucker’s Bowl.

Experience a Halloween wine tasting event, complete with costume contest, on Friday, Oct. 26 from 6-8 p.m. in the Spare Room at Chucker’s Bowl and Lounge. Sponsored by the chamber, this event includes games, food and music with a DJ. Also, the first 144 people to purchase tickets will take home an etched wine glass. For more information, call 320-358-4639.

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