1/3/2013 8:58:00 AM Levy set; update
on business aid
presented by county
by DENISE MARTIN
The main item before the full Lindstrom City Council December 20 was adopting the levy for next year. Council decided to act on a final levy that’s smaller than what was preliminarily adopted last fall. The result is that what Lindstrom property owners are actually going to be billed, will be somewhat less than estimated taxes on the statement sent out a couple months ago. The total budget needed to run Lindstrom is increasing in 2013. Departments like police, public works, and city hall staff and capital needs are seeing growth. Lindstrom’s local levy will be $1,575,978 in 2013 compared to $1,532,820 for 2012. The rate used to calculate Lindstrom taxes is going up, from 45.4 percent to about 52 percent.
City Finance Dept. head Kay Mattson reminded council, though, that Lindstrom is still well below average tax rates of Minnesota cities of similar size. Lindstrom is losing tax capacity for 2013, just as other cities and the county itself is experiencing due to real estate market indicators and new state taxing formulas. Lindstrom’s ability to assess taxes is based on a total valuation for 2013 that is a decrease of about nine percent from the city’s total valuation for 2012. Help for businesses The council also spent time going over the downtown business reparations request. A number of business owners at the end of November came to the council seeking financial aid; related to loss of customers and loss of sales revenues during the Highway 8 rebuild. Council advised the interested businesspersons to review their situations with the county HRA/EDA Executive Director Nancy Hoffman to see if they qualify for any existing economic assistance program, or see their personal bankers for help.
There was a request for an analysis on net income for the businesspersons in the seven month span of the highway project, but council received only a report on revenues. Properties are only identified by a random number assigned. Hoffman announced Dec. 20 that she’s ready to match applicants with two public “micro-loan” programs that have $60,000 total available with low interest rates. Hoffman said these programs are not meant to recoup claimed revenue losses, however. She said these are short term LOANS meant to provide some working capital of $5,000 to $10,000 individually.
These include 90 day interest-only reduced payments. The loans are open to apply for until March 31, 2013. On-line applications are at mnsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/ClientPresignup.action?centerID=8. About 45 (out of an estimated 75) downtown area businesses, have been involved in seeking this aid. Council also directed staff to send a letter advocating for relief for downtown property owners that will be sent to state and federal elected officials. A land survey unearthed an issue with the location of a residential garage and shed on city right-of-way, in the downtown commercial business zone. This zone has “zero setback” meaning many structures went in with no consideration to specifically determining proximity to any lot line. Over the years landowners guess-timated where they could place structures because setbacks are not defined. The encroachment into city right-of-way was rectified with council voting to enter into an encroachment agreement. This contract with Gerald and GayLynn Adams basically allows their structures to remain until such time the city would deem the land necessary for some public use. It was explained that a contract like this “cleans up the title” should the Adams want to sell. The city is not, however, giving up rights to the underlying land, according to City Attorney Soren Mattick The Adams’ structures encroach into an unbuilt street that’s platted east-west between Linden and Park Streets, north of First.
The Adams home is at 12692 First Ave. The unimproved right-of-way runs along the back of their lot. The council didn’t support the request to vacate the whole right-of-way, and wished to preserve what’s been a historic unimproved “trail” or alleyway. Also, a lot split was unanimously okayed for applicant Audrey Lease. The lot being broken off is within the Seasons on the Lake development project, near the county park, south of Glader Blvd. The plat was approved in 2005 but has not been filed at the county. The two acre site being split-off contains a house, storage building, two sheds and a silo, and the council made immediate removal of the silo a condition of approving the lot split. The meeting Dec. 20 was Roger Lindgren’s final session. He was recognized by council for his service both as mayor and on the council. His expiring seat was won in November by William Schlumbohm, who will be sworn-in during the annual organizational session Jan. 3; along with re-elected Council member Joe Wishy and Keith Carlson, who was unopposed for mayor.