Monday night was full of all sorts of surprises as the St. Croix Falls City Council meeting was to hold their bi-monthly meeting an hour early to accommodate the 2019 budget hearing.
Though, as the meeting was about to be called to order, it was not possible to start at 6 p.m., due to the lack of a quorum.
It was previously known that Alderman Kirk Anderson was not going to be present due to a previous business commitment. Alderman/Council President Chris Chelberg was unable to make that time because he was dealing with livestock issues.
It was not until 7:02 p.m. that the budget hearing finally began. It was brief as the council approved the 2019 budget unanimously by the quorum of council members present.
The 2019 budget increased 9.58 percent from $1,714,119 in 2018 to $1,878,328 in 2019.
The city tax levy went up 1.32 percent ($0.818) from $6.7177 to $6.7995 per $1,000 assessed valuation.
One discussion had to do with whether or not the city had budgeted money for a city administrator, which they have been functioning without for quite some time.
There has been money budgeted for an administrator search in the 2019 budget.
Citizen Meg Luhrs, head of the Centennial Committee who is dealing with fundraising and other things pertaining to the Civic Auditorium enthusiastically supported the city moving forward and actively searching for an administrator.
“I am glad there is funding to search for a city administrator,” observed Luhrs. “I would encourage the city to move forward with it. It has been very helpful when we worked with an administrator in the past.”
The library board of trustees also sent a communique to the council that stated:
“The St. Croix Falls Public Library understands that the current financial situation of the City of St. Croix Falls will not allow for any budgetary increases and the library will work within the $120,000 budget for the next year with that in mind.
“We would like to make the Council aware that our desired request would be to restore funding to/at 2015 levels ($135,000) so the library can continue to provide quality services and resources for the community...”
Library Director Su Leslie was present to make her report to the council later in the actual council meeting. She noted that the libraries in Polk County are seeking to have the County fund more fully Act 150, that requires the county to reimburse the library for users outside their jurisdiction.
“Right now we are funded at about 80 percent,” observed Leslie. “It's like going to town and getting a $10 sandwich for $8. We would like to see it funded at 100 percent, but that is something the county decides and they are considering it at their (budget) meeting this week.”
Veterans Day Program includes everyone in Luck
By Lynda Berg Olds
Monday began for many with a passionate morning of music and choreography, involving every single student at Luck Schools, as they honored each man and woman, of each branch of this nation's military on the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day, which marks the end of World War I.
The large gymnasium was filled to the rafters, a sea of red, white and blue. Even the wee ones seemed to know something very rare and special was afoot, and behaved solemnly or with glee, depending on the nature and rhythm of the score.
The band played aggressively, with spirit and confidence. The kids sang with vitality and verve. Everyone got into the act and the large room was full to bursting with patriotism.
Liz Johnson, the Badger State Representative, talked about how “thank yous” are woefully inadequate, but sometimes all a grateful nation can express, at a loss with how to deal with the enormity of what wartime brings – and what it leaves, nee who it leaves, in its wake.
She talked about the courageousness of soldiers, sacrificing for an America full of strangers
“We cannot thank you enough for what you did for us...not only putting your lives on the line, but for leaving your families, to fight for our freedom...”
To the Scouts, to the American Legion, to the American Legion Auxiliary, to the Choir and Band Directors, and the choirs and bands, to all the speakers, and all who participated, like the seniors thanking the vets, to the Student Council, Special Ed kids, School Newspaper, FFA, Spanish Classes, 4K and Kindergarten, First through sixth grades, the Middle schoolers and basically all students - again – to all veterans, the Luck School and Community extends its gratitude.
Meeting challenges on the slopes
T.A. Doughty-St. Hilaire
Winter season is upon the County. It has descended upon the countryside as a quick hovering icy blanket that slaps a person's face awake as soon as they walk out their own front door.
There are, however, some people that thrive in this wintry landscape. There are even those who pray for snow so that they can participate in whatever their winter sport related passion is.
You have snowmobilers that watch the the snow coverage on the trails more closely the brokers watch the stock market. This hardy lot would desire snow by the foot to assure they will be able to ride their machines all winter long.
Then there are those hearty souls that like their cross country skiing. Filling their lungs with the fresh cold air as they take in the beauty of the countryside around them. Cross country skiing can be a great way to get some exercise and avoid cabin fever this winter.
It was clearly with some relief and no small amount of fatigue, that Polk County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dean Johansen announced the adoption of the 2019 budget at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night. The public hearing for the budget was held at 7 p.m., an hour into the almost six -hour meeting.
Only one person spoke during that public comment period and that was a plea for the supervisors to “fully reimburse” libraries for the services they provide to residents of Polk County who do not reside in the municipality where said library is located.
The minimum, by state statute, for this county reimbursement funding is 70 percent. Polk County has been paying 80 percent – and evidently some time ago they agreed to “fully fund” the libraries. On Tuesday night, after the requisite debate among supervisors, Brian Masters made the motion to amend the “100 percent resolution” to 90 percent. That amendment passed by a vote of 10 to 5. It was 9 to 6, but Supervisor Russ Arcand blew the whistle on Masters for not supporting his own amendment, according to Roberts Rules of Order (and the rules by which the county governs itself).
Those voting against the 90 percent amendment then were Supervisors Chris Nelson, Tracy LaBlanc, Jim Edgell, Kim O'Connell and Brad Olson.