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City deals with end-of-year business

The Wadena City Council had a variety of year-end business items at its December regular meeting.

The city appointed or re-appointed the following people to city boards: Terry Lynk, Wadena Development Authority; Gary Sellman, Housing and Redevelopment Authority; Carmen Pederson, Doris Veden and Pete Phillips, Library; and Sara Ross, Park Advisory. The Park Advisory Board will also have an open position starting with the new year.

The council authorized annual municipal licenses for massage, cigarette sales, exotic animals, on-sale beer, off-sale beer, liquor, pawn shop, refuse hauling, salvage yard-recycle, tattoo and wine.

In other routine end-of-year action, the council approved electric, water and sewer accounts and accounts receivable write-offs.

"Again I'm going to give kudos to staff in my office for doing really hard work keeping up on these," City Administrator Brad Swenson said.

Mayor Wayne Wolden said he was concerned the city was not deposit-friendly for renters and homeowners.

Wolden, who is also the business manager of M State, said students take additional loans and that renters have to put up a lot of money up front if they happen to live at a place where the previous tenant racked up high utility bills.

Council member Toby Pierce said that on top of rent, new tenants have to front money for two different deposits - the regular rent deposit, and then the utilities deposit.

The council also approved writing off bad checks at the liquor store - including four from the same person.

The yearly Fees and Changes resolution was approved. Changes included some increased golf course fees, some increased public works and electric equipment rates and the slight increase in water rates approved at the previous special meeting.

Nobody attended the Truth and Taxation public hearing, but City Administrator Brad Swenson said that Wadena actually decreased taxes. He said the figures in recent years were hard to compare because of FEMA funding after the tornado.

The council approved the 2012 tax levy adoption.

Wolden said that the county did not raise the levy, while the city did not even raise taxes.

The city's total 2012 property tax levy is $604,193.

2012 budget adoptions for general and enterprise funds were also approved.

Liquor funds would be transferred to cover a deficit from the golf course, not to exceed $90,000.

Part time employee wage adjustments for a 2 percent increase were approved to match the increase for full time employees, taking effect at the new year.

A wage agreement was reached with the public works and police department, and the council gave authorization to proceed.

The council gave years of service awards to three city employees who could not make it to the annual Christmas party.