St. Boni lowers levy for third year in a row

By Emily Hedges

During the Dec. 5 regular meeting, the St. Boni City Council adopted a final tax levy of  $654,733. The levy represents a 5.7 percent decrease over 2012, although the total budget rose from $2,415,647 in 2012 to $2,621,122 for 2013.
According to Mayor Rick Weible, the budget increase for 2013 is the result of street, sewer and water projects. He pointed to Local Government Aid (LGA) is an important reason the levy stayed low.
Last year, the council had feared a major cut in LGA that never materialized.
“Contrary to what most people think, as we’ve been cutting our budget over the years, our LGA has been stable and has sometimes gone up,” said Weible.
Weible pointed out that if St. Boni had increased its levy each year since 2003 by a two percent rate of inflation, this year’s levy would have been $770,539.
“Many members of this council have done well to keep the tax levy below the rate of inflation,” said Weible.

Plans for new Community
Center move forward
Contained in the 2013 budget was $140,000 to turn the public works building attached to City Hall into a community center. The budget number was the result of informal estimates by local experts based on broad goals for the center.
The council had asked residents to comment if they did not want to see the city spend the money on new community center, and no negative calls were received.
According to Weible, the facility will not have extensive kitchen facilities found at local churches, and the floor plan will be left open to allow greater flexibility for local groups. The planning committee is tasked with moving forward with the project that the council hopes might be completed by fall of 2013.

In other business, the council:
• Discussed the new speed sign southbound on Co. Rd. 92. Between Nov. 27 and Dec. 3, the signed counted 15,275 cars going an average speed of 26.8 miles per hour. The council members agreed that the sign needs to be relocated to better gauge speed and safety. They also discussed the need for a turn lane off of Co. Rd. 92 on to Partridge Street.
• Voted to close the St. Boni City Office on Monday, Dec. 24.
• Discussed plans to work with the City of Minnetrista on a new business task force, which would look at ways to attract more business to the area.