LGA boost gives Sleepy Eye options for 2014 budget

SLEEPY EYE – The Sleepy Eye City Council received a report Tuesday from City Manager Mark Kober on the possibility that property taxes could be reduced in the next budget due to a windfall in Local Government Aid (LGA) funding.

In the 2013 session, the Minnesota Legislature passed a $80 million increase in LGA funding as well as a reform of the LGA funding mechanisms. Those measures translated into an additional $150,000 in funding for Sleepy Eye. The increased funding is particularly important because approximately 50 percent of the city’s total budget comes from state aid.

Kober said that due to the numerous years of cuts to state aid by the Legislature, this LGA boost only brings Sleepy Eye back up to its 2007 levels. He said the City primarily plans to save up the money as a buffer against expected new cuts to LGA into the future. However, he said the city also plans to spend this increase to make up a few capital improvement projects put off in the lean years and to reduce property taxes. The amount of reduction in property taxes is still pending because the 2014 budget is not yet complete.

The first budget meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 30 at noon. Other meetings will follow with late August as the wrap up timeline for the budget.

The Council also received an update that the Snow Farm property project is roughly 95 percent completed. The project seeks to create residential, commercial and industrial property within the city limits just south of Highway 14 on the east end of town. The City developed the infrastructure for this area and will sell the lots.

The Council tabled any action on the Snow Farm project because the gravel roads in the area were not completed by the July 1 deadline. The work will continue at a fast pace and must be completed by the end of the month to stay on schedule. The entire project should be done by mid August.

(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at jmoniz@nujournal.com)

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