WORTHINGTON – During a budget meeting Wednesday morning, the Worthington City Council tentatively set a not-to-exceed levy increase for 2016 at 6.79 percent, which will be voted on at the September 14 meeting.
The original net budget presented at a meeting August 26 was for $3.6 million, but already some changes have been made to bring that number down to $3.4 million. Those cuts include reducing the Clean Water Partnership budget from $100,000 to $50,000; eliminating a proposed Grand Avenue project, saving the city $125,900; and reducing health insurance costs by decreasing the increase from 10 percent to 7 percent.
During Wednesday’s meeting, the council heard from the Parks Department, where the biggest requests in capital improvement funding came from an upgrade in electric service at Olson Park campsites for $12,000 and an overlay at the Centennial tennis courts for $35,000.
In Public Works, there is a decrease in wages due to coding, according to interim director Todd Wietzema, and an increase in signs and signals. He also upped his budget request for money spent on the annual spring clean-up, explaining to the council that more money is being spent using Schaap Sanitation to get the process done faster, rather than let the items sit on the curb for more than a week.
Wietzema would like to purchase a ¾ ton pickup using the state contract, and keep the current ½ ton pickup on the revolving schedule as a spare. He said the truck has no maintenance issues, and they are often using a large truck to run parts because they don’t have an available spare pickup.
There was also discussion of moving some of their snow removal equipment to larger sizes, from single axle to tandem axle as they are replaces according to the equipment revolving schedule.
While addressing the Memorial Auditorium budget, Worthington’s director of finance Brian Kolander prefaced the discussion by stating that in the 2015 figures, a mistake was made that nobody caught. For some reason, numbers were entered changing the expected revenues from $42,000 in 2014 to $80,000 in 2015, something Kolander said was unrealistic and overly optimistic.
Manager Tammy Makram said she her goal is to increase use of the building to bring more people in. In the past year, lobby use has increased, she said, and they have doubled the amount of shows. They just received a grant to upgrade sound and light equipment.
Prairie View Golf Links was also discussed briefly, with City Administrator Steve Robinson stating they were budgeting for full expenses for 2016. Even if they do end up closing the course, he said, there would be expenses incurred with the decommissioning of the course.
HERON LAKE – The Heron Lake Police Department received a report of a phone scam involving Federated Rural Electric in Jackson, stating an $800 deposit needed to be sent via money order or power would not be connected to their business.
A news release sent out by Federated Rural Electric states Heron Lake Police Chief Anthony Fauglid has posted alerts on their Facebook page and on flyers regarding the scam. Federated’s general manager Rick Burud said the company sends out disconnect notices and follows up with phone calls, but advises customers to come into the office or call the telephone numbers posted on their bills to discuss any problems. Burud said a good way to scare off scammers is to ask for their name and phone number. He suggested not relying on caller ID, as scammers can now impersonate phone numbers.
ADRIAN – County Seed Inc of Adrian was recently recognized as a silver level elite dealer for its NK sales by the Southern Minnesota Syngenta Sales District. County Sales Inc was founded in 1977 by Adrian native Bob Wolf and has sold NK seed for 38 years. County Seed sells NK corn, soybean and Syngenta branded chemicals. The company also provides crop consulting services to area farmers.
ORANGE CITY, Iowa — For his role in burglarizing four separate businesses in the Hawarden area between November 2014 and January 2015, 18-year-old Brendan Michael Schurman of Hawarden was sentenced on Tuesday to a suspended prison term on burglary and criminal mischief charges. Schurman had been charged, along with several co-defendants, with Burglary in the Third Degree, a Class D Felony, and Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree, a Serious Misdemeanor.
Schurman was sentenced to five years in prison on the felony burglary charge and to 365 days in jail on the misdemeanor charge. The prison and jail terms were suspended, and Schurman was placed on probation for three years and ordered to pay restitution. He was ordered by the court to complete a substance abuse evaluation and follow any recommended treatment, abstain from all mood-altering chemicals including alcohol, obtain and maintain gainful employment or be enrolled as a full time student, complete his high school equivalency, and provide random urinalyses upon request as well as a DNA sample for profiling.
MINNESOTA - One of the two manufacturers of medical marijuana in Minnesota is delaying the opening of two dispensaries until next year.
Minnesota Medical Solutions, which produces its medical cannabis at a facility in Otsego, currently has dispensaries in Minneapolis and Rochester. It had planned to open two others – one in Moorhead and one in the western Twin Cities suburbs – sometime this fall.
But the company announced Wednesday it’s decided to wait until next year.
“At a point where patient numbers in this new program remain modest, we need to control costs in order to keep medication prices as affordable as possible for our patients,” said Dr. Kyle Kingsley, CEO of the company. “In the meantime, we appreciate the community’s support and patience.”
Kingsley added the two new clinics will be open in the spring, well ahead of the legal deadline of July 1, 2016.
he Associated Press notes the delay will be hardest on residents of western Minnesota who will face long drives to Minneapolis to buy their medication.
The other manufacturer, Cottage Grove-based LeafLine Labs, currently has one dispensary in Eagan for its patients. LeafLine will eventually have three others in St. Paul, St. Cloud and Hibbing.
Medical marijuana became legal in Minnesota on July 1. The number of people who have registered with the state to use it has been growing slowly over the past several weeks.
As of the end of August, 699 patients had applied and have been certified by their doctors to use medical marijuana, according to the state’s Office of Medical Cannabis. Of those, 395 are fully registered and able to purchase the drug.
Minnesota’s medical marijuana program is considered one of the strictest in the country. It only allows the drug to be dispensed to patients in liquid or pill form – it can’t be smoked.