New Richland City Council

Staff Writer

The 2018 preliminary budget and tax levy, along with the resignations of two council members, were approved during the New Richland City Council’s second meeting of the month on Monday, Sept. 25. All members were present to pass a 19.94% increase in the tax levy, which stands at $468,802 compared to last year’s levy of $390,861. The preliminary levy can be adjusted before the final budget is approved in December, but the total amount cannot increase from the proposed amount.

The proposed budget reflects an increase in pay scale and adjustment of pay grades in accordance with a collective bargaining contract between the City of New Richland and the Law Enforcement Labor Services, which was also approved during the meeting. Proposed pay increases in the 2018 budget by department are as follows: Administration—$86,061 wage budget, increase from $76,405 in 2017; includes city clerk/treasurer at $29.88/hour, 40 hours/week (no overtime) and assistant clerk at $16.94/hour, 32 hours/week; Police—$111,837 full-time wage budget, increase from $95,810 in 2017 and $26,273 part-time wage budget, increase from $18,321; includes police chief at $26.15/hour with overtime pay and benefits, one full-time officer at $20.44/hour and benefits and part-time officers at $16.94/hour; Maintenance—$64,527 full-time wage budget, increase from $45,405; includes one full-time employee at $23.01/hour and a second at $17.79/hour, both with overtime pay and benefits, and a casual employee at $9.65/hour,; St. Olaf Lake—$18,550 wage budget, increase from $14,142; Ambulance—$56,517 wage budget, increase from $54,032.

Resolution 17-13 adopted the preliminary budget and tax levy, setting a date for public input on the budget of Monday, Dec. 11 at 6:35 p.m. during the regular council meeting.

Council members Amy Ihrke and Sandy Neumann submitted letters of resignation, which were approved with Resolutions 17-14 and 17-15. Ihrke’s resignation is due to her moving out of city limits, and will be effective Oct. 24 following the council meeting Oct. 23.

Neumann, who has served on the council for the last five years, stated in her letter, “I am grateful for the opportunity, but I feel that I need to move on and let another person who has more insight and a stronger voice to serve this seat.”

Neumann’s resignation is effective after the last council meeting of the year. She thanked all who voted for her to serve as councilperson for New Richland.

Personnel policy changes were made with the approval of Resolution 17-12, including the addition of Christmas Eve as a holiday for city employees.

Brad Field presented the PeopleService report, which included a purchase request for repairs of two submersible raw sewage pumps at a cost of $3,212, approved. Field noted that annual service inspections showed no major issues with city lift stations.

Ryan Nissen presented the maintenance report, stating that 20 delinquent bills/disconnect notices were delivered last month resulting in three shut off, two of which have been reconnected. Nissen also announced that the skating rink on the north edge of town is ready for the season.

Don Alexander presented the care center report, noting that the center’s 2018 budget includes a $0.30/hour cost of living wage increase , and some positions have had increases in pay to remain competitive.

Before concluding the report, Alexander informed the council of his planned departure from the care center next summer. Alexander has decided to move back to Duluth with his wife.

A presentation was made by Tony Martens, police chief, on the 2016 flood in New Richland, Waseca and surrounding areas. Approximately 12,420 people were impacted by the flood.

Pam Goehring thanked Chad Neitzel, Ryan Nissen and Eric Hendrickson for fixing the “Welcome to New Richland” signs at the town entrances recently before the meeting adjourned at 7:24 p.m.