By Craig Moorhead

The Caledonia Argus

On October 28, Caledonia City Council members assessed a portion of the costs of last year’s sewer and water project along East South Street and South First Street.

The total cost of the project, which brought sanitary sewer to 20 parcels, and city water service to nine, now stands at an estimated $527,553 (excluding stormwater improvements). Of that, property owners will pay $109,247, which amounts to an assessment of $4,603 for each sewer, and $1,908 for each water service.

Following a public hearing attended by several residents, the council zeroed in on the terms of the assessments. Some residents favored a 30-year payback, but council members eventually decided to drop a 1% proposed interest charge on the charges, and collect the amounts over a 20 year time frame.

Some N. Kingston dollars available other work

City clerk/administrator Adam Swann reported that some funds which were transferred to an account set up to help pay for recent North Kingston Street paving and infrastructure improvements will be left over when all the bills are paid.

“I think we’ll be able to transfer at least $100,000 to the general fund, which had been the plan all along...” Swann told the council. “(Those dollars) can then be used to help pay for the West Washington/Old Highway Drive paving. And the good news is, it is also going to add some money to the reserves.”

Swann later explained: “We transferred funds from the Electric Fund and Capital Improvement Fund to help pay for the North Kingston project (in addition to the funds we received from bonding). Council made a portion of the transfer from the Electric Fund and Capital Improvement Fund permanent earlier this year, meaning some of the funds from the Electric Fund and Capital Improvement Fund did not have to be paid back to those funds.” 

As far as general fund reserves, boosting the city’s unassigned fund balance to 50% of yearly general fund expenditures has been a standing goal for the council. 

In a written report presented at the Oct. 28 session, Swann updated a plan that utilizes the 8% levy increase which the council proposed in September, plus cuts to the 2020 budget of $73,580 (mainly by postponing a $46,000 squad car purchase), and (most recently) seeking a grant of up to $50,000 from Rural Development to help pay for a new boiler at the Caledonia City Auditorium. That HVAC project is more complicated than just the boiler unit, and could total as much as $150,000, public works/zoning director Casey Klug stated. But if the $50,000 grant is secured, the end result is an anticipated 50.9% unassigned fund balance by the end of 2020.

The council also voted to promote part-time police officer Mike Rasmussen to full-time status, effective November 4, 2019. Rasmussen has been a member of the department since 2017. Another vote appointed Caledonia Ambulance Service member Mark Schiltz to the post of assistant director for that organization. Finally, as part of their consent agenda, members accepted the resignations of William Persons and Kendra Heim from the selfsame ambulance department

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