December 3, 2018 Truth-in-Taxation Public Hearing and Input Meeting Minutes


December 3, 2018 City Council Truth-in-Taxation

Public Hearing and Input Minutes

6:00 P.M.


A Truth-in-Taxation Public Hearing and Input meeting of the City Council of the City of International Falls, Minnesota, was held in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building on the 3rd day of December, 2018 at the hour of 6:00 P.M.


MEMBERS PRESENT:     Councilors Briggs, Droba, Jaksa, Krause and Mayor Anderson.


STAFF PRESENT:    Kenneth Anderson, City Administrator

    Betty Bergstrom, Deputy City Administrator

    Brad Ettestad, Finance Officer

    Ted Brokaw, Street/Water Commissioner

    Emma Rud, Administration Support Specialist    

OTHERS PRESENT:    Councilor-elect Walt Buller

    Councilor-elect Leon Ditsch

    Scott Gerlach

Julie Melstrom

    Judy Potter



  1. Presentation of proposed City of International Falls 2019 Budget and Levy Collectible in 2019, Kenneth R. Anderson, City Administrator.
  2. City Council questions/comments.
  3. Public input/questions/comments.
  4. Close the public hearing or recess to continue at a future date (Council action-motion).


Presentation of proposed City of International Falls 2018 Budget and Levy Collectible in 2018

City Administrator Kenneth Anderson indicated an information packet that was prepared by staff included the following items: 1) Summary of the 2019 proposed Budget and Levy – Highlights in Review; 2) Draft Resolution Approving the Final 2018 Tax Levy, Collectible 2019 and 2019 Budget for the City of International Falls, MN, with Exhibit A anticipated to be adopted December 17, 2018; 3) Pie charts illustrating Proposed 2019 Revenues and Expenditures, 4) Local Government Aid (LGA) bar chart for amounts received in years 2006 through 2019 (Proposed); 5) Bar chart reflecting LGA and Property Tax Levy Trends for 2010 through 2019 (Proposed); 6) Table of LGA for years 2002 – 2019 illustrating $1,105,150 in past reductions/unallotments of actual LGA paid to the City; 7) LGA and Property Tax Levy Trends and Changes for years 2010 – 2019; 8) 2019 Summary of Partnership Agency Funding; and finally, 9) background information from the League of Minnesota Cities including preliminary local government levy changes statewide.


Administrator Anderson started his presentation with a review of highlights and expenditures by fund as listed in Exhibit A. He noted that LGA was certified to increase by $5,865 in 2019. The total amount of LGA from the State is proposed to be $4,129,956. The actual tax levy was proposed to increase in the amount of $230,488 or 9% over the levy for 2018. The statewide average increase in the 2018 preliminary levies for all cities is 6.2%. The total property tax levy is proposed to be $2,791,464.



Public input/questions/comments

Mayor Anderson welcomed comments from the audience at 6:45 P.M. Julie Melstrom of 904 6th Street; Judy Potter of 2729 2nd Avenue East; and Scott Gerlach of 309 Shorewood Drive were present to address the City Council. Discussion ensued about appropriations for other organizations, tax increases based on changes in property valuation, and Airport revenues.


City Council questions/comments 

Councilor Droba expressed that he was disappointed with the fact that the goal for the 2019 budget was to put more money towards permanent improvements and only $49,287 is being budgeted from property taxes for permanent improvements. Meanwhile, Councilor Droba stated we are expecting to fund certain outside agencies $118,500 for 2019. He said the City is proposing to pull money from reserves, raise the property tax levy, use the LGA increase, cut department requests, yet still give our nonprofits, that are wonderful and provide very necessary services, all that they ask. He is really struggling to raise the levy and pull from reserves and not cut the appropriations to others. Councilor Droba stated that unless outside agency funding is cut further, he will not vote to approve the 2019 budget.


Councilor Briggs stated that he agrees with Councilor Droba and he will not vote to approve the 2019 budget unless there are changes made to outside agency funding.


MOTION by Councilor Droba to make the following adjustments to appropriations and to further discuss the 2019 levy and budget at the December 10, 2018 Budget and Finance meeting at 1:00 P.M:

  • Music in the Park: $800
  • Senior Center: $2,000
  • Bronko Foundation/Museum: $24,800
  • Citizens for Backus/AB: $45,000
  • KCC-TV: $4,000
  • Forest Hill Cemetery Association: $5,000
  • RRCC Health Care Initiative: $0

Motion seconded by Councilor Jaksa. Motion passed 4-1 with Councilors Briggs, Droba, Jaksa, and Krause voting “yea,” and Mayor Anderson voting “nay”. Mayor Anderson opposed due to funding KCC-TV and not more for the cemetery. Staff was directed to prepare a revised budget for the December 10, 2018 Budget and Finance Committee Meeting with appropriations as shown above and restoring funds to the General Fund or streets/infrastructure.


CLOSED the public hearing

There being no further public comment, Mayor Anderson closed the public input meeting and hearing at 7:55 P.M.

Mayor Anderson further explained the proposed Resolution Approving the Final 2018 Tax Levy, Collectible 2019 and 2019 Budget for the City of International Falls, MN, would be on the December 17, 2018 regular meeting agenda for action by the City Council.



Mayor Anderson adjourned the meeting at 7:55 P.M.




ATTEST:                        Robert W. Anderson, Mayor




Kenneth R. Anderson, City Administrator

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