Braham sets preliminary 1.5 percent levy increase for 2014

The Braham City Council adopted its preliminary general fund levy to be collected in 2014 during the Sept. 3 council meeting.

An amount of $528,263 will be assessed to taxable property in the city of Braham to benefit general fund operations. These operations include general equipment bonds, the industrial park bond and funding for the 2013 street improvement project bond in the amount of $21,957.

The proposed levy has been increased by 1.5 percent from last year due to an increased cost of living report from the League of Minnesota Cities of 1.8 percent. The levy will therefore be assessed to reflect this increase in the amount of $7,728 over the 2012 levy amount.

An assessment hearing for the street improvement project has been set for 7 p.m. Oct. 7 after the council approved the proposed cost for street improvements in the city for the total cost of $437,935.

Property owners to benefit from the street construction will be responsible for $114,600 of the costs. The assessments are being set to begin on or before the first Monday in January 2014, and property owners will be given a period of 10 years, at an interest rate of 4.8 percent, to pay these assessments.

The amount of each specific assessment will be calculated by the city clerk and the city engineer for each assessable property. All persons owning property affected by the street improvements will have an opportunity to address the council in regard to the assessments at the assessment hearing.

A preliminary budget and salary schedule was approved by the council for 2014. The budget is being proposed in the amount of $3,471,065 in expenses and $3,506,262 in revenues.

The city sought to increase wages by 2 percent for city employees, accommodating the increase in cost of living. Given also a potential increase of 15-20 percent in the cost of health insurance for city employees, the council agreed that a 2 percent increase is fair and reasonable. The median income for the city of Braham, according to the American Community Survey, is $42,188.

A new sales tax exemption for cities, starting in 2014, will potentially save the city $15,941 in operations in the city’s Fire Department, water and sewer funds and savings in the general fund. Based on the 2012 year-end financial report, the city of Braham saved $11,185 due to the sales tax exemption last year.

Home Town Liquor has boasted an increase of profit after the finish of construction and generated a net profit of $36,069 at the end of July. The liquor store is expected to see an increase in revenue of $65,100 in the year 2014.

In other action the council: 

• Set the truth and taxation meeting for Monday, Dec. 9. The budget and levy will be discussed and the public will be allowed to comment.

• Approved a temporary on-sale liquor license to Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church to serve alcohol during its fall dinner Sept. 21. The license has been approved on an annual basis in the past.