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City Council Discusses Embargo at FY19 Budget Meeting

By Staff | Feb 22, 2018

Editor’s Note: Due to the length of this article it will be run in two parts. This is part two of the story. Please see the Tuesday, Feb 20 edition of The Reporter for part one. A reporting error occurred in part 1 of the City Council Budget meeting. The budget will be voted on for approval at the next City Council meeting held on Feb. 26.

The City Council’s annual budget meeting was held on Monday, Feb 12 at Emmetsburg City Hall. Each city department that utilizes the City’s budget was asked to present their budget and reasons for why anything will increase or decrease.

Frank Kliegl presented on Roads, Bridges, and Sidewalks. Street lighting costs have decreased as a result of energy efficient LED light bulbs. Once changed to an LED bulb, the price per light decreases about 25%.

Kliegl also discussed City road use. A source of tension between the City of Emmetsburg and Palo Alto County has been 17th Street. 17th Street is often used for agricultural transportation, but it is within the city limits. In the street maintenance budget, Kliegl asked for a budget of $196,000 for the 17th Street repairs from Madison to Airport Road.

“It’s going to be included in this year’s budget [Supervisor’s budget], and whether it gets spent towards this project or filtered off to something else,” Kliegl explained. “If we’re going to do it, then they will have the money for their portion.”

“What percentage are we paying?” questioned Councilman Bill Burdick.

“We will pay for anything in the City limits and they will pay for outside the city limits,” Kliegl replied.

“And that road will turn into a city use only?” Burdick asked.

“I’m not in charge of that,” Kliegl stated.

The $196,000 figure was given to Kliegl from Walter Davis-Oeth, Palo Alto County Engineer.

“Which was higher than the original quote that I got from Blacktop Services,” Kliegl explicated. “Blacktop Services’ total quote from Madison to Airport Road was $207,700… $196,000 I’m not sure where he drew that number up, because the quote I have is $207,000 for the whole project.”

“Do we roughly know the ratio?” asked Councilman Brian Malm.

“It’s got to be 75/25,” City Administrator John Bird responded. “Bill raises a good point. So the County right now is saying that they’re going to pay for the south half of the road from the drainage ditch out to Airport Road. But we keep coming back to the fact that it’s not the locals and the F-150s that are causing the problems, it’s the agricultural traffic on it.”

“I’m on board for embargoing every road in the town,” stated Malm.

“I don’t see how $200,000 would go very far on that road to even fix it,” commented Burdick. “If we’re going to pay for it, I’m all for embargoing.”

“Do you want to do something this year with 17th Street? Do you want to keep working down that negotiation with the County?” Bird asked.

“I think we need to do something,” Councilman Mike Hermansen stated.

“I agree,” Burdick said.

“So leave it in there?” Bird questioned.

“For me to vote on that it would have to be embargoed,” Burdick stated.

“You need to have a serious conversation with the police department,” Bird explained. “We’ve just got to start getting enforcement if it’s going to do any good.”

“I agree with Bill. We’ve got to start limiting some of this traffic,” Hermansen affirmed.

“I think you should embargo it this year, and take it out of the budget this year,” Bird advised. “And have them come to the table and say ‘we’ll help you if you open it back up'”

Bird said that he believed it to be beneficial to embargo 17th Street for a year and not include the money in this year’s budget.

“That’s fine with me as long as everyone is on the same page,” Burdick said.

With some further discussion, the City decided that it would be best to enforce the roads that are already embargoed and add 17th Street to the embargo list.

With some discussion on various item lines, the City Council voted to adjourn the meeting. The vote to approve the 2018-19 fiscal year budget will be at the next meeting of the City Council on Feb. 26.