Waconia, county honor Schmakel

In honor of a brave, courageous man who dedicated his life to public service, officials with the city of Waconia and Carver County proclaimed Tuesday, Sept. 4 as Walt Schmakel Day. Schmakel was a career military man (1948-69) and long-time advocate for area veterans through his work with American Legion 150 of Waconia and the Waconia VFW. Schmakel, who lived in Waconia, passed away on July 31 at the age of 82.
Jim Nash, mayor of Waconia, made the proclamation during the Waconia City Council meeting held on Sept. 4.
Nash urged all citizens to honor and recognize the accomplishments and contributions Schmakel made in the community, whether it was Schmakel’s military past, his work at the Waconia VFW and American Legion, his promotion of Memorial Day and Veterans Day events, or his commitment to making sure that the city had American flags on street poles and local schools had American flags in classrooms.
After Nash’s presentation, the city council members presented a framed copy of the proclamation to Dee Schmakel, Walt’s wife, and Debra Thompson, Walt’s daughter (see photo on Page 8).
Following the presentation, Carver County Commissioners Tim Lynch and Jim Ische informed those present that they and their fellow commissioners had also proclaimed Sept. 4 to be Walt Schmakel Day in Carver County.

Council adopts prelim levy
Also during the meeting, the council adopted the 2013 Preliminary Levy at $5,255,444, an amount that, if approved, would represent an 8 percent increase over 2012 levels.
Cities are required to adopt a preliminary levy in September. Finance Director Nicole Lueck noted that the preliminary levy cannot be increased but can be decreased before it and the 2013 budget are officially adopted in December.
Nash commented that city officials still have to comb through the budget for next year and indicated that spending cuts could result in a decrease to the final levy.
Lueck explained that the increase in the preliminary levy was related to information received from the county regarding the city’s property market value and tax capacity.
She noted that from last year, the city’s overall taxable market value has decreased approximately $81,000,000 (9 percent) and subsequent tax capacity decreased approximately $733,000 (7 percent). As a result, the amount of market value available to spread the tax obligations is less.
The preliminary levy includes an increase in the general property tax levy of $300,000 from the 2012 level in order to get the general fund balance back to the current policy standard of 40 percent, along with capital equipment replacement and other maintenance functions. Other increases are related to a shift in current debt schedules.
If adopted, the preliminary levy would represent a 6 percent increase on the average home in Waconia compared to what homeowners paid last year. Taxpayers will have a chance to comment on the final budget and levy during a meeting in December.

2013 improvements
The council approved survey work and feasibility study for the 2013 Improvements that are proposed within the 2013-2022 Capital Improvement Plan.
The work includes the full reconstruction of Olive, Vine and Cherry streets between Lake and Main streets; street improvements (such as mill and overlay) in the Ravenwood and Hilltop developments and on Sparrow Road from Hwy 284 to Niagra Street; trail reconstruction in the Ravenwood and Hilltop developments; and the construction of a new trail in Sugarbush Park (in an area that would not be affected by flooding).
At this time, there is no cost estimate for the project and assessments could be included for part of the project. As explained by City Administrator Susan Arntz, the only aspect of the project that might include assessments is the reconstruction of Olive, Vine and Cherry streets between Lake and Main streets (there are 15 properties in this area).
Arntz said that city policy requires that the city pay for mill and overlay work while reconstruction is assessable. She added that there are no water or sewer utilities in the project area so the elements of assessment would include street, curb and gutter and storm water improvements.
A public hearing and neighborhood meetings for citizens affected by the project will be held later in the fall. City officials are looking to approve the final design and authorize the project for bid by January 2013.
In other matters:
• The council authorized the purchase of $110,000 in playground equipment for Brook Peterson Park. The purchase was provided for in the Capital Improvement Plan budget and includes $77,814.46 in equipment from Minnesota Wisconsin Playground and $10,404.28 from Clearwater Recreation.
Similar to the installation of new park equipment in City Square Park last year, the city is planning to install most of the new equipment during a community build day that will start at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22. All are welcome to help with this project — just show before noon. For more information, contact Jan Mullen at 442-5802.
The city will be donating the park’s old equipment for use elsewhere.
• The council approved the final plat by Ryland Homes for the Interlaken 5th Addition. The plat features 13 single family home lots that are located to the east of the Interlaken 4th Addition right off of Interlaken Parkway N. It is the most easterly portion of the development and is adjacent to Reitz Lake.
Ryland plans to install utilities and construct streets before the winter sets in so work can start in the spring. The homes are located on approximately 39.7 acres in Laketown Township. The process has been set in motion to annex those acres into Waconia.
• In recent weeks, the city has received complaints regarding the presence of a garden that features temporary borders/mesh material covering located on a single family residential lot. The covering is used to protect pumpkins from the elements.
After reviewing city code, the council determined that the property owner had not violated any city ordinances with the use of the covering, which was deemed to be a temporary structure.
• The city’s composting site will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on Sept. 15 and 29, Oct. 6, 20 and 27, and Nov. 3. All of these dates are Saturdays.
• The Waconia Fire Department will be hosting its Fall Pancake, French Toast and Sausage Breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7. The event will be held at the fire station. Tickets are $6 (children age 5 and under admitted free). Tickets are available from any firefighter and at the door.
• The council approved a change to the city’s Revolving Loan Policy that increases the loan maximum from $75,000 to $149,999. The change is expected to provide more adequate assistance to businesses looking to take advantage of the loan.
To receive a loan, businesses will still have to meet the same criteria as before, such as being able to capitalize and collateralize their loans. Businesses usually use the loans for acquisition, construction and/or equipment purchases.
The city has offered this program since 1994 and has made approximately 75 to 80 loans during that time. According to Arntz, the loan program has been quite successful, as maybe only three of those loans have gone bad for the city.
• City officials remind citizens that eligible voters who have recently moved, changed their name or address, or have not voted in an election within the past four years are encouraged to pre-register to vote in the Nov. 6, 2012 general election.
Pre-registration will significantly decrease the amount of time one spends at the polling place on Election Day and it must be completed by Oct. 16. For more information, stop by Waconia City Hall or visit www.waconia.org.
One can also register on Election Day. A valid driver’s license with a current address is the best form of identification for Election Day registration.
• A bid was awarded to Ti-Zack Concrete, Inc., to provide $14,250 in sidewalk improvements at city hall. About 1,950 square feet of concrete will be addressed. Areas of concern include the southwest portion of the main entrance and the northern area by the police entrance. The project will be done in late September or early October and the work is not expected to impede access to city hall.
• The city added MidCountry Bank to its list of depositories, which already include First National Bank, Security Bank, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, and Wells Fargo.
The move was designed, in part, to give the city greater flexibility in attempts to increase its interest revenue.
• The council’s next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17.