By Anna Jauhola
The Hallock City Council approved its proposed 2021 budget at a special meeting on Monday, Sept. 28.
After lengthy budget committee meetings this summer, the council agreed to an operating budget of $877,993. This does not include the sewer, water and gas funds. While several items such as the general property taxes, local government aid and airport hangar rents increased, others projected revenues decreased, partially due to concerns over COVID-19. City Administrator Aimee Sugden said city hall rent is estimated at $1,500 compared to $2,370 from 2019 because fewer events will be happening. She estimates the pool revenue will be around $20,000 compared with 2019’s $25,640. This year, even though it was a shortened swimming season, the pool took in $17,938.73.
Sugden began the budgeting process with a clean slate for 2021.
“I looked at the previous years’ budgets and there hasn’t been a lot of consistency,” she said after the meeting. “I did the revenue section first and used that as a guiding number.”
In budget discussions, she said the council determined street maintenance and repair was a top priority, so she made sure to budget a larger number for that particular fund at $75,000.
This has given the council a starting place to build a sustainable, dedicated street fund.
The council discussed at length the budget numbers for the Hallock Swimming Pool. After the filter for the main pool blew in August 2019, the city has put in some money toward updating the pool equipment, but the city was reimbursed for most of it by insurance. However, along with these changes the city decided to also repair and reinstate the kiddie pool. The budget for repairs and maintenance for 2021, however, is listed at $12,000.
Maintenance Superin-tendent Dan Larson said the new equipment for the kiddie pool could cost around $10,000.
“The first time you gave me this (budget), Aimee, the pool fund had a lot in there,” said Mayor Dave Treumer. “You said we don’t need that much, but we need what’s remaining for the baby pool.”
Once the overall preliminary budget is set, the city can lower it, but cannot increase the amount.
“We really haven’t spent as much on the pool as we thought we would this year,” Sugden said. “I’d say we’re probably 50 to 60 percent of our budget for the pool, considering what we were reimbursed.”
In budget discussions, the committee talked about creating a street committee at the start of 2021. This group will evaluate the condition of Hallock’s streets and start putting a plan in place for 2022.
“We’d have to do a bond is my guess,” Sugden said of funding any street projects.
The council will approve a final budget in December.
In other business, the council:
• Approved a zoning permit for Matt Kuznia to build a new 120-by-90 foot commercial shop on property at 1265 Columbus Ave. SW in Hallock. This is located just north of County Road 33 and west of Strata Concrete.
• Approved a zoning permit for Kevin Waller, council member, to replace a 12-by-16 foot utility shed that was destroyed by a fallen tree, plus an extra 8-by-16 foot concrete slab. Waller abstained from the vote.
By Anna Jauhola