Final approval for city tax on short hold

MARSHALL – Lodging, food and beverage taxes passed by Marshall voters in November are poised to take effect this summer. However, the Marshall City Council voted to temporarily hold off on giving them final approval Tuesday night. Council members said the move will give them a little extra time to review a proposed resolution needed to put the taxes in effect.

Although voters passed the 1.5 percent lodging, food and beverage tax, the matter went back to the Minnesota Legislature this session to receive a technical correction allowing the city to implement it. The Legislature made the correction in the omnibus tax bill, said Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig. He presented the council with an updated resolution that would put the lodging, food and beverage tax into effect on or before July 1.

Council member Glenn Bayerkohler said he was concerned that he hadn’t had a chance to read through the updated resolution before being asked to act on it.

“I don’t feel like it would be right to vote on it,” Bayerkohler said. He said Martig had done a good job in the past of giving informational material to council members in advance of their meetings.

Martig said he received the updated resolution from the city bond agent on Tuesday.

“I thought it would be timely to bring it forward tonight,” he said.

Martig said he didn’t think there were changes in the content of the updated resolution.

Bayerkohler suggested that the council table the resolution until its next meeting, so everyone would get a chance to review it. Council member Mike Boedigheimer agreed. Martig cautioned that council members would need to give him questions or comments on the resolution in advance of the next meeting, so he would have time to contact the bond agent.

The council voted 3-2 to table the resolution, with Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes and council member Larry Doom voting against the proposal. Council member Ellayne Conyers abstained from the vote.

The council approved two special vehicle permits to transport nursing home residents of Morningside Heights Care Center and clients of Daybreak Adult Day Services on outings and special events. The permits will allow two “Gator” vehicles to tow a trailer where passengers can sit. Marshall Public Safety Director Rob Yant recommended that the vehicles be driven during daylight hours, have turf tires, and a beacon light attached to the rear of the vehicle. The vehicles may not be permitted to go faster than 20 miles per hour.

The council heard a 2012 year-end report from Daniel DeSmet of North Memorial Ambulance in Marshall. DeSmet said one of the big developments for the ambulance service in the past year was moving into a new, larger base of operations near the former city ambulance garage.

“That has been a good location for us,” he said.

North Memorial has also continued to be involved in training and emergency-response planning efforts in the region. DeSmet said the ambulance service has also worked together with Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center to develop a program to help reduce trauma deaths in the region.

Bayerkohler noted that the year-end finances for North Memorial in Marshall showed a higher profit margin than anticipated in the 2012 budget. DeSmet said the difference came from several factors. While North Memorial has “a good group of people helping to keep expenses down,” DeSmet said, the ambulance service also responded to nearly 200 more calls than anticipated. That lead to increased revenues.

The council recognized three Marshall citizens who have completed terms serving on city boards and commissions. Byrnes thanked Joyce Arends for serving on the Police Advisory Board, David Patterson for serving on the Senior Citizen Center Commission and Jeff Kruse for serving on the Community Services Advisory Board.