Cambridge sets no increase for 2014 levy

The Cambridge City Council approved no increase for its 2014 levy during its meeting Monday, Dec. 2.

Finance Director Caroline Moe explained the notices sent to property owners earlier this year were based on a proposed 1 percent levy tax increase.

“We have had a lot of discussions on our 2014 budget, and we are recommending a 0 percent tax levy increase, which is the same as last year,” Moe said. “Our long-range planning continues to be a key factor in how we run our business and how we run our city. It’s critical for us to maintain that discipline.”

The levy collectible in 2014 is set at $4,844,174. The general fund operating levy, which is nearly $4 million, makes up 82 percent of levy. Other factors in the levy are City Hall bonds, industrial park bonds and various street improvement bonds.

Moe noted the comprehensive plan for the city for the next 10 years includes a complete plan for financing.

“Our goal is always to reduce the burden on our taxpayers,” Moe said. “We also continue to support economic development to provide jobs and provide job creation.”

Moe said the city has a balanced budget of revenues and expenditures set at $5.7 million for 2014. Operating expenditures include general government, $1.3 million; public safety, $2 million; public works, $1.4 million; parks and recreation, $322,000; and transfer to other funds, $632,235.

The majority of the city’s revenue comes from taxes, with nearly $4 million in taxes collected. Moe also noted the city will receive a transfer from the liquor store fund into the city’s general fund of $350,000.

Moe mentioned the budget includes an additional full-time fire position for the Fire Department, totaling $90,000, with a hiring date no earlier than March. It also includes a full-time code enforcement position for the Community Development Department, totaling $58,000, with a hiring date no earlier than March.

As for revenue sources, Moe said local government aid from the state will be $263,000 greater in 2014 than 2013. All other revenue sources are expected to stay flat.

City Council had much praise for Moe’s work.

“Caroline (Moe), thank you for all the work you put into this, and City Administrator Lynda Woulfe as well,” said Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer. “As you can tell, things have gone as well as they can, and we’ve got all the background information we needed, as well as all of our questions answered.”

Fire Department positions

Cambridge Fire Chief Sean Okerlund presented the council with a list of the 2014 Fire Department officer positions. Okerlund explained firefighters interested in having a position applied for the position, and then a committee reviewed all applicants. He said the Fire Department also supported the recommendations, and it needs to go before the City Council for final approval.

The appointments were approved as follows: Okerlund, fire chief; Todd Tomczik, assistant chief; Dave Matchinsky, training captain; Jim Lentz, training lieutenant; Todd Schwab, equipment captain; Branden Sward, equipment lieutenant; and Lucas Milz, tech rescue lieutenant.

Okerlund explained the department received 14 applications for five open Fire Department positions. He said this process also involved a hiring committee and was recommended for approval by the entire Fire Department.

The five departments volunteer firefighters were approved: Ryan Bustrom, Brian Dorsey, Cory Haley, Jim Kowalik and Andrew Mix.

Council Member Corey Bustrom abstained from the vote, since Ryan Bustrom is his son.