Council looks at budget, hears reports from entities

By Marcie Klomp

The city of Lime Springs can be broken down into six groups: fire department, library, community center, pool, parks and general expenses to run the city.

The City runs on what it collects for property taxes. The next fiscal year it is estimated the City will receive $85,809.

The city’s portion is about 42 percent and includes police protection (which was $1,000 but raised to $5,000 this year), office supplies, payroll, elections, legal procedures, lawyer fees, equipment maintenance, mileage for training, advertising and insurance. Water and sewer is supposed to be self-sustaining. Roads, including snow removal, street lights and trees, is a separate account as well.

At the Feb. 4 City Council meeting, members looked at the new proposed budget that included the other five departments’ budgets. The total available to those groups is about $47,500.

In the past, the pool has received 21 percent of that amount, the library 19 percent, the parks eight percent and the fire department and community center five percent each.

Councilman Kevin Bill suggested changing the percentages, pointing out the pool is open for two-and-a-half months a year while the library is open 12 months. He thought switching the library and pool percentages around would be more fair. He also recommended the fire department switch with the parks.

The other members seemed to agree. Council is having a work session on Feb. 18, where they will discuss the budget. The budget hearing will be held at the next council meeting, on March 4.

• Jill Johnson, president of the Library Board, reported, “The library has started a handiwork circle. It is a chance for local people to come, sit and work on any kind of craft projects. It’s also a chance for some to learn to knit or crochet from others.”

She also stated the book discussion group continues to meet after 10 years. The Warm Reads for Cold Winter Nights adult reading program began Feb. 1 and will continue through March 31. Bingo is still the best-attended program offered by the library for adults.

The kids enjoyed a Lego workshop, with 35 attending! They worked in groups to build something. Three judges awarded six prizes.

A book signing by Carol Edwards Denekas is scheduled for March 29. The author attended Lime Springs-Chester Elementary.

• Councilman Tary Kolek gave the Fire Department’s report due to the absence of Chief Nate Schwickerath.

He explained the three newest firefighters (Tom Roberts, Jason Munkel and Bill Mahr) are taking FireFighter One (FF1) classes in New Hampton.

“We are trying to get a FireFighter 2 class going. We’re seeing if Jeff Wendel will teach it. If we have a lot of FF2s, that helps us in grants. Frank Engelhart was voted back into the department after he moved back to town.

• Silverware and totes were purchased for the Community Center.

• Mayor Barb Robinson appointed Marcie Klomp as chair of the Pool and Park Board, with the other four voting members being Heather Knutson, Darcy Moser, Tina Rahlf and Jill Tibbals. The entire board has about 13 individuals dedicated to the pool and parks. Anyone is invited to help, as well.

The group wrote four grants in January, two for pool and two for parks.

~ Pool: Public Works Director Casey Sebastian recently completed his CPO (Certified Pool Operator) training. He stated ADA compliancy will be a big issue. Compliancy would mean putting a wheelchair ramp into the pool, taking away part of the swimming area. This costly venture would most likely be the demise of the 59-year-old pool.

Councilman Jim Miller questioned if the council should start deciding whether to close the pool or not.

Leann Thomas, usually the soft-spoken council member, stated, “I will not be on the council that closes the pool.”

This discussion is not over. A survey may be going out in water bills asking the public’s opinion on where the city’s money should be spent.

~ Parks: The newest event at the ball field is a snoball softball tournament, being headed up by Rahlf. It is scheduled for March 8.

Bill announced his wife, Melissa, would not be volunteering to mow Brown Park this summer . . . but would mow the pool and ball park, a much larger area.

Anyone interested in volunteering to mow Brown or Kitchen Parks can call City Hall. With some research needed, volunteers could probably use the town mower.

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