Marshall budget discussion continues

MARSHALL – The 2014 budget process continued for members of the Marshall City Council during a work session Tuesday night. Council members received preliminary budget information and requests from city departments, including wastewater and the Marshall Economic Development Authority.

In city staff discussion of Marshall’s wastewater and storm sewer services, the possibility of smaller rate increases was examined. Based on past analysis, the city had planned for wastewater rates to go up 4.5 percent a year between 2012 and 2017, said Bob VanMoer, Marshall wastewater superintendent. However, because of changing conditions it might be possible to go with a 2 percent increase instead.

City staff also recommended that stormwater rates stay the same in 2014.

VanMoer and Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig cautioned that the city’s wastewater and stormwater infrastructure may still face some significant costs in the future. Updates to the wastewater treatment plant may be coming in the next five years, both to replace aging equipment and to bring the city into compliance with new higher standards for chemicals in discharged wastewater.

Martig said he and city staff were also working on a draft resolution for a preliminary 2014 levy.

“This will kind of give a view of where we’re going,” Martig said, as he presented a possible resolution. The draft resolution showed a total levy of about $5 million for 2014, compared to a $4.9 million total levy in 2013. The difference was primarily because of increases in debt service.

The council will need to approve a preliminary budget and levy by Sept. 15. The adopted preliminary levy may be lowered, but not increased.