Grand Marais Mayor Sue Hakes said she hoped to go into 2010 without a raise in taxes. However, Hakes says unallotments made by the governor totaling $31,000 along with the possibility of further cuts next year, made a 3 percent levy increase necessary.
The city adopted an $802,657.38 levy at its Wednesday meeting, which amounts to an additional $23,000 spread across the city tax base. Councilors discussed lowering the levy amount by cutting from its budget for special projects including funding for a joint maintenance facility, a safe harbor marina project and other capital improvements. But, the council decided it needed some money to work with in order to accomplish those objectives.
Earlier this week Governor Tim Pawlenty promised not to cut aid to local governments any further this year but he made no such promise for next year, leaving city officials wondering what’s down the road. Mayor Sue Hakes says she’s worried about having to make adjustments to next year’s budget if more cuts come from the state.
“LGA is still on the table for 2010 and I’d like to allocate funds to some of these priorities we’ve identified, but I’m nervous about 2010 unallotments,” said Hakes.
Councilor Tim Kennedy wondered if it was possible the governor might unallot all of the city’s $96,400 payment for 2010. City Administrator Mike Roth said he thought the Legislature wouldn’t allow that, but he added, “you can count on some of the $96,000 not getting here.”
Over the summer councilors met with city department heads to trim budgets in response to the Governor’s 2009 unallotments. Indications are that no further decision on cuts will be made before the end of the up-coming legislative session.