City of Marshall has Truth In Taxation meeting

MARSHALL – There wasn’t much public comment, but there was still some discussion about the city of Marshall’s proposed 2014 levy and budget on Tuesday night.

The Marshall City Council held a public hearing on the budget and levy during its regular meeting Tuesday. The hearing served as the city’s Truth In Taxation meeting for the 2014 levy. Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig gave a presentation on the proposed levy and budget adopted earlier this fall.

The council adopted a preliminary levy of about $5.1 million. This would be an increase of about $144,000, or 2.9 percent, from the 2013 levy, Martig said. Martig said the city’s tax capacity rates have stayed fairly steady over the past several years. Other factors that would affect the city’s 2014 budget and levy included an increase of about $340,000 in Local Government Aid funding from the state, Martig said.

Martig said the city will also not have much change in employees going into 2014, although there will be some changes in benefits and wages, after updates to the city’s pay scales. The updates are required by the state, Martig said.

Martig said the proposed budget for 2014 included about $10.4 million in expenditures.

During the overview of the proposed budget, council member Glenn Bayerkohler questioned the expenses budgeted for the city’s enterprise funds, which include wastewater and stormwater rates and the municipal liquor store. He said he was concerned that the enterprise funds were being used as “cash cows” for the city, instead of being allowed to build up a reserve. Enterprise funds are supposed to be self-sustaining, Bayerkohler said.

Martig said the final budget and levy would come before the council for adoption at its next regular meeting Dec. 17.

In other business Tuesday, council members held a public hearing on proposed amendments to city ordinances that affect the Marshall Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. Martig presented proposed amendments, which he said were meant to help improve diversity on the CVB board of directors, increase transparency and increase cooperation with the city and the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce. Under the amendments, the CVB board would be made up of one member of the Chamber, three active lodging operators, one member of the city council and five Marshall residents. If approved, the new ordinances would take effect Jan. 1, Martig said.

In addition to the ordinance change, Martig said changes to the CVB bylaws were recommended, as well as a service agreement making the CVB director an employee of the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce. The service agreement would need to be approved by the Chamber and the CVB, he said.

After the public hearing, council members voted to approve the new ordinances.

The council took action to accept two different gifts to the community at Tuesday’s meeting. The first was Robert and Phyllis Carr’s donation of a children’s wing for the Marshall-Lyon County Library. The Carrs announced on Friday that they would contribute a 6,000 square foot addition to the current library building at no cost to the city. The Marshall-Lyon County Library Board voted to accept the donation during its regular meeting on Monday. After the city council’s acceptance of the donation on Tuesday night, the agreement would go to the Lyon County Board for approval.

The council also accepted a donation of about $4,000 from the family of the late William “Bill” Versaevel for a veteran’s memorial project in Memorial Park. Marshall Community Services Director Harry Weilage said the memorial project is part of future development phases planned for the downtown park.

Council member Larry Doom thanked the Versaevel family for their gift.

“(Bill) was very dedicated to his community, and his country,” Doom said. The donation was a fitting way to remember him, he said.