Compared to how inflation has shot up over 6% this year, the City of Scandia’s budget increase in 2022 perhaps doesn’t seem so bad.  

Following its Truth in Taxation hearing last week, the Scandia City Council is set to approve a $2,579,051 local tax levy, an increase of 2.68% over 2021, at the city’s final meeting of the year.

According to the budget hearing presentation, city taxpayers can anticipate a 30.128% local tax rate, after market value growth is factored, or roughly $3.01 per $1,000 of value.

The 2022 budget includes more than $1 million in capital infrastructure improvements, including $319,000 for broadband internet expansion, $51,000 for a new HVAC system and other repairs at the Community Center, $100,000 for new playground equipment at the Community Center, $26,000 for an additional storm warning siren, and up to $572,000 for stormwater improvements in the Bliss neighborhood west of Big Marine Lake, though cost-sharing grants are likely to significantly reduce that figure.

Other capital improvements include replacing the ditch mowing tractor and attachments ($172,640), a fire department grass rig ($72,800), a fire department rescue boat ($26,000). Reconstruction of parts of 238th Street North, 235th Street North, and Melanie Trail will be the annual road improvements project, to the tune of $707,000.

The budget also calls for $24,900 in salary and wage increases, including the decision this year to hire the new Public Works Director at a higher rate of pay, wage increases for unionized public works employees, and adding a seasonal worker next summer.

The budget also earmarks $20,000 for additional law enforcement, targeting noise and traffic complaints in the downtown area; and $15,000 for development of a Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces Master Plan.

The city will have $441,892 in American Rescue Plan Act funding it has yet to earmark that must be utilized by 2024. 

Final budget adoption is set to occur at the council’s Dec. 21 meeting.

Last year, the city adopted a final levy of $2,510,824, a 3.3% increase over 2020, after utilizing federal CARES Act funding to help reduce the local tax burden.

 

Legal services

The council agreed to release a Request For Proposals for both civil and criminal prosecution legal services.

City Administrator Ken Cammilleri initially asked the council for permission to seek proposals for criminal prosecution, citing concerns with the services of the city’s current firm, Hebert, Welch & Humphreys.

The council, however, decided to release the RFP for all legal services, in hopes of improving services overall and possibly getting better rates.

“We need to vet out everybody,” Councilman Steve Kronmiller said.

 

Other business:

• The council hired James Gribble as a part-time on-call snowplow driver for the winter season. Gribble will make $18 per hour.

The next Scandia City Council meeting will be held Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.

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