Levy flat, budget down in Hamburg

Hamburg residents will pay no more in property taxes during 2013 than they did this year, nor will they pay any less.

The Hamburg City Council approved the exact same tax levy for 2013 as was in place for this year during its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The city will collect $395,210 in taxes next year, the same amount to the dollar that was collected in 2012.

Expenditures in the overall general fund budget are dropping roughly $6,500 from 2012 levels to $438,000 since the city is not budgeting for Local Government Aid (LGA) this year. If and when any LGA money is received, it will be used for street improvements or set aside for capital purchases.

The difference between property taxes collected and budgeted expenses will be covered by permits, service charges, fees etc.

A public hearing was held on the budget and levy during the meeting, but no residents attended the hearing to speak.

In other business, the council:
• Approved a three percent wage increase for city employees in 2013.

• Will hold a public hearing regarding the 2013 fee schedule at 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8, and will likely approve the fee schedule following that hearing.

• Will declare a vacancy and appoint a council member to fill an open seat in January after John Barnes and Larry Mueller leave the council at the turn of the year. Only one individual, Richard Odoms, filed for those two open seats in the November election. Odoms will fill one of the vacant seats.

• Approved a $12,750 contract with Carver County for policing services in 2013. That contract rate was up about two percent from the 2012 level, while coverage will essentially remain the same.

• Approved an estimate of $2,940 to install LED lighting at the community center and fire hall. The LED bulbs will provide better and most cost efficient lighting. City Clerk Jeremy Gruenhagen guessed that the payback in energy savings would arrive in three to five years.

• Discussed updating the city’s assessment policy for street and utility work over this winter, with the intention of having an updated policy in place next spring for any work that might take place in 2013.

• Approved 2013 membership with the NYA Area Chamber of Commerce.

• Noted that the city office will be closed on Dec. 24 and 25 for Christmas.

• Noted that the fire department banquet and dance will be held on Jan. 12.

• Approved a cigarette license for Parkside Tavern.