homepage logo

Proposed cuts will hit hard

By Staff | Feb 21, 2010

Talk of local economic development shifted to the state’s budget woes during a Wells City Council special meeting held Tuesday night.

Council members had few questions regarding resolutions passed to aid the Singleteary Food Solutions project.

They also approved a forgivable loan of $150,000 in city held HUD and Department of Employment and Economic Development funds for the new venture.

What really peaked the council’s interest was the news of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s proposed ‘unallotments’ in state aid.

City Administrator Jeremy Germann says the city stands to lose an additional $135,573 under the governor’s budget proposal.

Jeremy Germann

“We worked hard on budget and to now have it tossed out the window,” says Germann.

City officials needed to trim $118,300 when putting together the 2010 budget.

Germann says there will be “a lot of number crunching” before the next council meeting.

“There are different things we can look into, but not everyone is going to be ecstatic about it,” he says.For 2010, Wells initially was expected to receive $1.012 million in Local Government Aid. If the second ‘unallotment’is approved by the Legislature, that amount would be reduced to $758,310.

“I don’t know where we are going to find the cuts, but we’ll have to,” says Mayor Shannon Savick.

Winnebago is anticipating losing another $84,173. The city’s first ‘unallotment’ from its state aid of $578,416 was $75,106.

City Administrator Jennifer Feely expects the ‘unallotment’ will be discussed at the council’s March meeting, but she isn’t waiting until then to address the proposed reduction.

“I’m going to be meeting with all the department heads and go over their budgets to find out where additional cuts can be made,” she says.

If the governor gets his way, towns with populations of less than 1,000 aren’t going to escape this round of ‘unallotments.’

For this year, Elmore was expecting $223,197 in state aid — $6,197 more than last year.

City Clerk Dianne Nowak says they have been notified the state wants to withhold $36,058.

“Any cut that is made is going to be difficult to deal with. But, that’s a huge amount,” she says. “It will just mean something else in our budget will need to be cut.”

From 2001-2008, Nowak says the city’s LGA has been reduced by $58,315.

Other city councils are all in the same boat.

Kiester is slated to lose $33,700; Bricelyn, $21,464; Easton, $12,656; Frost, $12,434; and Delavan, $12,382

Like most other city governments, Kiester City Clerk Kari Jacobson says they already are operating on a “bare-bones” budget.

“We don’t have much we can cut. It’s going to be tough. What do we do, ‘Turn off the city lights?” she says. “We certainty can’t pass this on to our taxpayers. I know that.”