<CENTER><B>City levy may go up 5.2 percent</B></CENTER>

By Sara Quam

The Luverne City Council Monday set the preliminary tax levy for 2001 at a 5.2-percent increase over last year's levy.

That increase, after state aid, amounts to an extra $27,338 from the taxpayers. The total governmental budget for the city is $3,517,306.

In setting the preliminary levy, the city can't increase the overall figure but can lower it before finalizing the levy in December. The council is confident that the numbers will stay the same after spending time refining it throughout the summer.

A Truth in Taxation hearing is set for Dec. 11, when citizens may comment on the budget and five-year capital improvement plan.

Blandin Foundation

The Council also passed a resolution authorizing the city of Luverne to serve as the fiscal agent to distribute funds from the Blandin Foundation.

The Luverne Area Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau is a part of the Blandin Community Partnership Grant program already and needed to have a fiscal agent.

Blandin Coordinator and Chamber Director Dave Smith said most other communities receiving Blandin money have used cities as fiscal agents.

As the agent, the city of Luverne will distribute funds as the Blandin projects progress. Luverne has applied for a $124,000 grant from Blandin that includes projects like trail development, day care and after-school care, and youth leadership.

Of those projects, Blandin can prioritize or award a reduced grant, but Smith said he thinks it's likely Luverne will receive the full amount.

In other business Monday, the council:

  • Agreed to participate in a program that would grant mutual aid between publicly-owned utilities in the event of disasters and emergencies.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse costs provided the utilities publicly set a cost prior to any disaster.

    Of the 126 Minnesota Municipal Utilities, about 50 have signed on so far. Staff is checking into whether this will also allow reimbursement for helping communities in Iowa and South Dakota.

  • Approved a conditional use permit for the Rock County Developmental Achievement Center to expand its building. The building will be expanded to correct various code violations while preserving its existing operating space.

  • Granted a temporary on-sale liquor license to Blue Mound Liquor in order to conduct a wine-tasting event.

  • Cancelled the Sept. 25 meeting.
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