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Afton begins budget talks

Even though it's only August, Afton City Council has already started thinking ahead to 2014.

City Council held its first budget work session on Aug. 12.

The proposed 2014 preliminary budget reflectes an increase of 1.7 percent, or $18,272 in expenditures, totalling $1,085,817.

The proposed 2014 levy is $1,648,929, which is an increase of $46,160 or 2.88 percent.

Based on the proposed levy, the city's tax rate will increase from 30.06 percent to 30.28 percent.

The impact on a property valued at $200,000 would be $563.67 annually, which is an increase of $20.21. or 3.72 percent.

Some of the key items affecting Afton's expenditures are:

  • Building Inspection fees are up $3,550, or 21.6 percent, to reflect actual feeds due to additional construction activity. The fee expense is offset by increased building permit revenue however.
  • Fire and Ambulance service expenditures are up $14,528, or 7.3 percent, to reflect the Lower St. Croix Valley Fire Department's 2014 budget and a large cost share for Afton due to the cost allocation formula.
  • Fire Relief Association expenditure is down $3,000 to reflect that the deficit in pension funding has been eliminated.
  • Police Service expenditures are up $2,344, or 1.4 percent, based on the estimated cost increase from the Washington County Sheriff's Department.
  • Snow and ice control expenditures are up $5,000, or 4.8 percent, to reflect actual expenditures.
  • Street surface maintenance, sweeping and pothole repair expenditures are proposed to increase by $9,000, or 42.9 percent, to reflect actual expenditures and increasing needs.
  • Brush, tree trimming, mowing and culver repair expenditures are reduced by $8,000, or 24.2 percent, to reflect actual expenditure levels.
  • Gas lamps capital expenditures have been reduced from $3,000 to $0 due to the completion of the multi-year project to upgrade all of the main street lamps.
  • Park maintenance expenditures have been reduced from $5,200 to 1,2000 to reflect actual expenditures, and $2,000 of the reduction was added to the transfer for parks capital repairs to be used for parks and repair expenditures that are significant in size but not eligible for funding from the park dedication fund.

The preliminary 2014 budget reflects no significant revenue changes.

In terms of transfers, the following changes were made:

  • The transfer to the street improvement fund is proposed to increase from $190,000 to $200,000, an increase of 5.3 percent
  • The transfer to unemployment compensation has been reduced from $10,000 to $3,000 to reflect adequate funding for unemployment compensation liability.
  • The transfer to sidewalk has been changed to a transfer for parks capital repairs, and has been increased from $2,000 to $4,000.
Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

(651) 702-0976