By Anna Jauhola
The Hallock City Council presented its certified 2020 levy during the annual Truth in Taxation meeting, which was held at the regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 2. The total levy will decrease by 3 percent over last year.
The total levy request from the city is $461,738, which combines the city’s tax capacity of $396,450 and the general levy of $191,128.
For comparison, the 2019 city levy request was $472,613.
The city’s total budget for 2020 is $1,118,276, which includes four bond payments. To get the certified levy amount, the city subtracts $403,481 in property local government aid and $253,057 in other resources from the total budget number.
In other business, the council:
• Approved a 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase for city employees.
• Approved adding new City Clerk/Administrator Aimee Sugden as a signatory on accounts at United Valley Bank and American Federal Bank.
• Discussed and tabled the request to implement a $30 NSF check fee for the city. The city usually gets only two or three bad checks a year, but the fee would only be to get the money back. Sugden will check if the city needs to do this beyond what the Kittson County Sheriff’s Office already does to collect on bad checks.
• Heard from Police Chief Mike Docken he applied for a $15,000 grant through TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, to update the town’s emergency siren system. He will hear after the new year if Hallock received the grant.
• Approved a second amendment to an agreement between the city and Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson, Inc., for additional construction administration and construction observation on the hangar project at the Hallock airport. These are additional engineering services from the company and the amendment is $8,000. The first amendment was $8,000. Because the construction company failed to complete the project on time, they are being fined $16,000, so the city is not out any extra money on the project.
• Approved a $1,000 refund for Jeremy Seng’s aerial applicator fee for 2020.
• Approved liquor licenses for Hallock Curling Club, Hallock Eagles Club, Last Chance Trading Post, Red Barn Liquor and Revelation Ale Works. Shamrock Lanes and Grill decided not to renew its liquor license.
• Approved Hallock’s election polling place as Hallock City Hall.
• Discussed a drafted letter sent to delinquent city utility accounts, many of which are tied to people who rented houses or apartments in Hallock but have moved out of town. If the city wanted to collect delinquent utility costs through adding them to a property owner’s tax bill, the council would need to pass an ordinance. Sugden said she would look into it.
• Approved giving city employees a paid holiday for Christmas Eve.
• Discussed purchasing more Christmas decorations for the street lights, deciding to hold off any purchases until February when they are on sale. The older street light decorations are beginning to fall apart and light bulbs are getting more expensive. The new decorations would be similar to the LED-lighted snowflakes currently on the street lights along Second Avenue.
By Anna Jauhola