Clarkfield council preliminary tax levy of six percent

Ethan Groothuis Staff Writer
Clarkfield City Hall

The Clarkfield City Council agreed to raise the levy by six percent at the Tuesday City Council meeting.

Some additions to the budget included the creation of a part-time position, with the expectations of hiring an individual with an accounting or finance undergraduate degree to assist with the separation of duties for city government and mapping out city finances. Another position discussed was a $2500 student internship to handle added issues like grant writing.

City Administrator Scott Weske proposed a plan to buy new accounting software for the city. The current software is only used by a  handful of cities, making maintenance and assistance costs nearly double that of the proposed software, which included one-time fee of roughly $7000 and $1500 for any further maintenance.

Another addition to the budget for 2014 included on-call EMTs that would be on duty from 6 p.m. on Fridays to 6 a.m. on Mondays, costing an estimated $13000 for a full year of weekend service.

One instance of added revenue, not reflected in the current levy projection, was charging Boyd more for the use of Clarkfield’s sewer system. A fluke in the budget in the early 2000’s caused the original deal of the city of Boyd to pay $.75 extra per mile to disappear. The proposal, also being discussed within the Boyd city government, would not only return Boyd to a flat rate for sewer services, but also negate the city from being asked to recoup any of the maintenance costs in the case of future sewer system damage. Final figured numbers have yet to be presented.

The last item, and bulk of discussion, concerned the Clarkfield Care Center and increasing their ECPN (the Equitable Cost sharing for Publically Owned Nursing Facilities). A deal was struck that the council would approve fronting the bill from a previously existing Care Center reserved fund, helping the facility combat the increasing cost and competition of elderly care.

The ECPN is a federal program that matches city funds for senior citizen care by a rate of nearly three to one, currently used at a maxed-out rate by several surrounding cities.

Future discussion of the levy and budget approval is planned for Sept. 16 and Dec. 17 city council meetings.