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Bailey proposes $278K in possible cuts

By Staff | Jan 26, 2009

Although she says there is no way to know what kind of revenue cuts the City of Blue Earth may face from the state this year, City Administrator Kathy Bailey is getting ready.

She presented a list of possible cuts to the 2009 budget, in case the state comes through with more rounds of unallotted local government aid (LGA) monies.

In December, the state cut those revenues to Blue Earth by just under $110,000.

“The city had been allotted $1,414,370 in LGA from the state in 2008,” Bailey told the city council at Monday night’s regular meeting. “We get that amount in two payments – one in July and one in December.”

Bailey says the League of Minnesota Cities is advising cities to get ready for similar cuts to the two payments coming in 2009.

“We had been told our LGA was going to be increased in 2009 to $1,671,337,” Bailey says. “Now it is unknown what we will get – how much will be cut.”In order to be prepared, Bailey told the council she met with departments of the city and looked for ways to trim 5 percent of the already passed 2009 budget.

Monday night she presented a list that totalled $278,259 in cuts to nearly every department.

“If we look at the worst case scenario in cuts, from December of 2008 to December of 2009, it could be $330,000,” Bailey said.

She added it might not be that much, and the total list of cuts may not be necessary.

“I want to keep the LGA discussion on the agenda at each meeting,” Mayor Rob Hammond said. “I think we may not know what the cuts are going to be until the last day of the legislative session.”

In other business at the meeting, Councilman Glenn Gaylord questioned another item in the 2009 budget – $50,000 to the new Go Minnesota county economic development group.

Bailey presented a contract to the council to authorize, which had been signed by both the city’s Economic Development Authority, and Go Minnesota.

The contract outlines services Go Minnesota will do for the city, and lists a monthly retainer fee of $4,166.67 – totalling $50,000 during the year.

“But what are we getting for this money,” Gaylord questioned.

Mayor Rob Hammond said they will get what they used to with their own EDA director, and more.

“We better be, for $50,000,” Gaylord said.

The council voted on another contract with a similar retainer fee. They OK’d hiring the firm of Frundt and Johnson as city attorney, with a monthly fee of $3,415.

The total bill for city attorney could be higher, depending on the number of court cases and other legal matters.

The total has gone down in recent years, from a high of $87,000 in 2006, to $70,300 in 2007 and $65,300 in 2008.