City of Grand Marais sets preliminary levy at 5.91 percent
WTIP file photo

City of Grand Marais sets preliminary levy at 5.91 percent

The city council held a two-hour work session with department heads prior to the September 14 city council meeting to discuss setting the 2023 preliminary levy. 

During the work session, the city council addressed inflation, increased personnel costs, and capital expenditures. 

The work session began with a proposed levy of 1,108,317.77, or an 8.8% increase. However, following the work session, the council settled on a proposed levy of 1,079,036.27, or a 5.91% increase. 

During the meeting, City Administrator Mike Roth said, “The 5.91% is a fair place to start, but it’s not necessarily where you want to end.”

Grand Marais Mayor Jay DeCoux said the entire council shares that sentiment. “The council is looking at working to bring that number down even more.”

The council will better understand year-end personnel costs and capital expenditures as we near November and December. In addition, once the city receives the year-end numbers from the top two revenue generators, the liquor store and recreation park, they will have a better idea of what to expect for the 2023 budget. 

DeCoux said the council wants to set the levy “As low as we can make it and still have it be an accurate budget.”

“We’re going to take a look at the numbers as they develop and then adjust that number down as much as we can while still feeling like it’s a responsible place to be for the reserves and the other operations of the city,” DeCoux said. 

In other city news, during the September 14 meeting, the council approved a conditional use permit for the Dairy Queen. 

Seth McDonald, the owner of Dairy Queen, initially approached the planning and zoning commission on September 7 for a conditional use permit to update the building to corporate standards. The planning commission approved a one-year conditional use permit.

The city council moved forward with the final approval of the permit during the September 14 meeting. 

Also during the meeting, the city council discussed the wastewater treatment plant and the retirement of Tom Nelson. “Tom has been an incredible asset to the community and to the wastewater treatment plant for a very long time,” DeCoux said. 

As Nelson enters retirement, Neil Hansen will step into the position until a long-term replacement is found. The city is actively hiring for the position, and interested individuals can contact the city for additional information. 

“He is a very difficult person to replace. We wish him all the best in his retirement,” DeCoux said. 

WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins spoke with DeCoux following the September 14 city council meeting. Audio from the interview is below.