Elko New Market Council approves 2008 budget

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

The Elko New Market City Council had both its Truth-in-Taxation meeting and unanimously approved the city's budget for 2008 at its Thursday, Dec. 13, meeting. The meeting was the council's only one for December due to the Christmas holiday.

Elko New Market City Administrator Tom Terry addressed the council and a handful of residents at the state-mandated Truth-in-Taxation hearing. He explained that the city's proposed budget of approximately $4.4 million is about in the middle range for area communities. He noted there are several factors impacting the 2008 budget including a moderate growth in its tax base, a slowdown in development in the community, an increased demand for services and an increase in the maintenance of the city's infrastructure.

Terry listed other changes that affected the budget such as increasing the hours of the city clerk and deputy clerks and increasing funding for street maintenance and parks.

This year's budget is an increase of about 12 percent from the 2007 budget, which was approximately $3.9 million.

Terry pointed out that for a house valued at $150,000, the 2008 tax would be about $462 while for a house valued at $450,000 it will be about $1,667.

MUSA discussion

The council agreed to continue discussing its proposed 2030 Municipal Urban Service Area (MUSA) boundary at its January meeting.

The boundaries being considered are for an update to the city's Comprehensive Plan for 2008 that will be presented to the Metropolitan Council.

Rich Revering of Bolton & Menk, the city's engineering firm, informed the council there are a variety of areas city staff was recommending adding, removing or not changing from the boundaries. There were a number of issues identified for the parcels that could affect the plan, including engineering impacts such as traffic and utility extensions and the interest or non-interest of the landowners. Also noted was how services could be developed in the most efficient way.

There were six areas recommended for removal, three for inclusion and eight to be left alone. Open houses were held with owners of parcels affected by the recommendation, with some objecting to the removal of their area.

Revering noted that areas near Scott County Road 86 be left out since the county road was likely to become a major route in the future. Leaving open space near County Road 86 would allow for flexibility in its development.

Council member Jason Ponsonby said he could agree with the recommendations for leaving out some areas for safety reasons. Others he thought could be allowed into the boundary as they could be developed.

Terry said the boundary was not a black-and-white issue. As the city moves forward, some areas will change when it becomes clearer as to how that parcel of land is developed.

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