No levy increase foreseen in Braham’s 2012 preliminary budget

While studying the 2012 preliminary budget at the Sept. 6 regular meeting, the Braham Council adopted a $530,535 preliminary levy which shows no increase from the 2011 budget.

City Administrator Sally Hoy explained that as part of the resolve of the state shutdown, the Market Value Credit Aid Program has been eliminated, meaning taxpayers will no longer get the MVCA credit adjustment on their tax bill, and they will be billed 100 percent of their share of the city, county and school total levies, with no subsidizing from the state.

In exchange, the state is enacting a new “Market Value Exclusion” which will reduce the taxable market value of homes.  Therefore, the tax base will be reduced, which will, in effect, increase the tax rate. Hoy said this conversion will affect city, county and school property taxes.

Hoy added that because no one knows how the MVCA Program conversion will actually play out on the overall property taxes, the Budget Committee recommended holding Braham’s total 2012 levy the same as 2011, with a 0 percent increase.

Highlights in the 2012 Preliminary Budget: adopting 3 percent wage and step increases for the first time in four years;

• continuing the BPD squad replacement plan;

• starting the $20,000 principal payments on the Industrial Park Debt Service;

• determining a preliminary 2012 Sewer Rate increase of $.70/1,000 gallons to meet the USDA’s budget requirements for the grant/loan on the Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvements.

The council adopted the Preliminary 2012 Budget and Salary Schedule, with total Revenues set at $6,225,891 and total Expenditures set at $6,215,350, which includes the WWTF Construction Project and Financing.

Truth in Taxation meeting

The 2012 Truth in Taxation meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 6, at Braham City Hall; public comment will be received at the meeting.

Wellhead Protection Plan adopted

Also at the meeting, Dave Neiman from the Minnesota Rural Water Association presented the final draft of the city’s Wellhead Protection Plan to the council. He noted part of the plan was to identify potential contamination sources to the city’s public water supply, identifying the major threats as private wells and storage tanks.

He noted that the goals and objectives of the city is simple– to provide a good source of water to the public, to prevent contaminants from impacting the water supply system, and to give the residents sufficient information and resources to help address any issues they may have.

Neiman noted that it was a pleasure working with Mayor Ceaglske, Administrator Hoy, Operator Mike Piha, and the WHP team, noting they were really involved and “on top” people.

The council approved the Wellhead Protection Plan by a 5-0 vote. Appreciation was expressed to Neiman for all the work he performed on the plan. Thanks also goes to the Minnesota Dept. of Health and the Minnesota Geological Survey staff for their assistance in the project and related televising and gamma-logging of the city’s Well No. 3.

Hydrant flushing Sept.  19

The city of Braham will be flushing hydrants starting on Monday, Sept. 19. Residents may experience a change in water pressure or slight discoloration. The water system should return to normal within two days of the flushing.

Next meeting: Tuesday, Oct. 4, 7 p.m.