Mayer’s preliminary levy up slightly

After approving its preliminary levy during the Sept. 10 regular meeting, the Mayer City Council is allowed under state law to decrease the number before it is finalized in December, but it can’t increase it. The council hopes that work on the budget between now and the end of the year will help lower it to a palatable number for residents.

The 2013 levy amount was set at $992,539, which is up a little less than three percent from 2012. The 2013 General Fund Budget is estimated at $1,282,441. This includes general government, public safety, public works-streets, parks and recreation, compost and operating EDA and debt payments.

The City will hold a Truth in Taxation meeting on Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the budget and final levy. The public is invited to attend.

Electronic sign
The city had to make an exception to its own rule in the case of the new electronic sign planned for installation at First Minnesota Bank at 101 Ash Ave. North. According to city ordinance for the C-2 Central Business District, signage must be limited to 50 square feet and include masonry-quality materials over at least 25 percent of the facade. The sign proposed by the city is 90 square feet and does not include the required exterior materials.

The electronic joint-use sign will include space for paid and unpaid public information. The city hopes it will become a revenue source in the future.

The council approved the purchase of an electronic sign at a cost of $25,713, which will be split between Mayer’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) and the Park Board.

Occasional sales
The Mayer City Council passed an ordinance allowing occasional sales, rummage, barn and/or yard sales under an interim use permit (IUP) in the city’s Ad District.

Such sales are intermittent/sporadic sale of goods by anyone, whether they are in the retail business or not. Sales can’t occur more than 15 times a year or exceed one extended weekend. All signage must be temporary and in harmony with the surrounding area, and parking must occur on site.

The new ordinance was the result of a request by Terry Hartman to hold a barn sale at 13385 Highway 7 in Mayer.

In other business, the Council:
• Heard ideas from Harley Baumann of the Mayer Baseball Club on how to repair and salvage the city’s three dying baseball fields. He explained that the fields were not watered properly after a former city employee allegedly turned off water to the fields at the ain. He discussed an idea to aerate the soil, add sand and lime to the mix, and re-seed. The council agreed that the first step is to get the fields watered. Next, they want to see proposals to fix the problem. The group also agreed on the need for an ongoing plan field maintenance.

• Voted to approve a request by Mayer Fire Chief Rod Maetzold for four fire fighters to attend the Chief’s Conference in Duluth. In addition, Mayor Chris Capaul requested that steps be made to change city policy regarding the sharing of hotel rooms while traveling on the city’s dime. The council agreed that Maetzold should be allowed to make travel decisions provided he stays within his budget.

— By Emily Hedges