The City of Deer River will see just a small eight percent increase from 2019, in the final 2020 tax levy collectible in 2020. Deer River City Council approved their final tax levy on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019 at the regular city council meeting for $934,852.00, with a breakdown as follows: $779,030 (general levy), $31,000 (fire levy), $21,195 (G.O. 2015 bond) and $103,627 (G.O. 2018 bond).
“What percentage increase?” Councilor Barb Serfling asked.
“I’m not sure what the percentage was, but it was $70,000,” Assistant City Administrator Sarah Nelson said.
During open forum, a Deer River resident expressed his concerns about taxes increasing on his property by $1,000. He explained how for a retired person, that is quite a hike for a social security check. His taxes increased 37 percent on one property and 26 percent on the other property.
The truth in taxation meeting will be this Spring, and the Mayor suggested he attend that, but it was also suggested that he contact Itasca County to have his properties reassessed.
“Are we going to quit spending, or what’s going to happen?” The resident asked.
“Eventually we will be done with road projects,” Councilor Chris Reed said. “Your not as high as you use to be. I still agree with you that seems huge.”
In other business:
“Quite month, for calls,” stated Fire Chief Steve Jurvelin, with only one call during deer hunting. “Remer right now does not have a pumper, they are having it refurbished. They have two tanker pumpers, which is what they are using. If they get a structure fire they are calling for mutual aid,” explained Jurvelin.
“What year is the vehicle that is running down there?” Councilor Pat Richards asked.
“It’s a 2009,” Jurvelin said. “I don’t expect a bunch of more calls, but that is why we mutual aided with Remer.”
Jurvelin explained the new truck is on schedule to be delivered January 2020, and changes to the fire department roster will start taking effect come February 2020.
“I’ve had a great 28 years, I’m not leaving because I hate doing it,” Jurvelin said of his coming retirement. “The fire department was here before I started, and it will be here when I am gone. We are on an up-swing right now when it is the right time.”
Deer River Police Chief Tammy Perry stated there were 231 calls for the month of October, up from 157 in 2018.
“I’m not exactly sure why,” Perry said.
With plans for her own retirement next year, Perry explained her position was posted internally, with one applicant.
“The applicant that applied is more than qualified,” Perry said, with her recommendation for the council to move forward and accept the position be given to Brian Castellano.
She asked to go ahead and post to fill the position for a full-time officer, and it was added that if an internal part-timer applies, to go ahead and post the position for a part-timer so she doesn’t have to bring it back to the council.
Jason Lundquist, with public works, stated he had to order a new computer for the well house and had been “working on that the last couple days,” adding lately it has just been computer maintenance, and a few upgrades.
Lundquist asked for the approval for the Children’s First sledding event for Jan. 11, 2019.
“I’m looking for a yay or a nay,” Lundquist said, explaining they are thinking it would start around noon, still having a bonfire that evening.
In regard to the regular meeting minutes from Nov. 12, 2019, Councilor Richards had a few changes, but wanted to reserve the right to come back to the next meeting in case he had additional changes as he didn’t get a chance to go over everything. There were a few punctuation, spelling and grammar changes. The council also approved the minutes from the 2018 South End Assessments public hearing on Nov. 12, 2019.
The council approved bills in the amount of $16,401.79.
The council approved resolution 2019-43 to set a primary election for Tuesday, March 3, Tuesday, August 13, and a general election for Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 at Deer River City Hall.
The council approved resolution 2019-45, establishing procedures relating to compliance with reimbursement bond regulations under the internal revenue code, in relation to the new fire truck.
Resolution 2019-46 was approved, a purchase agreement for a property to the Deer River Bushwackers Snowmobile Club, for the sum of $13,100.
The council approved residential water rates at $41.65, the minimum; on top of that, a $15 per month service line fee, effective January 2020. A complete list of water rates can be viewed at City Hall or on the City of Deer River’s website.
“Either way we are going to have some questions,” Reed said. “It’s a small increase that keeps us ahead. It keeps us not subsidizing our enterprise funds.”
A work session was scheduled for Tuesday, November 26.
The annual license bureau open house will be December 12-16, 2019 with food and refreshments.
It was mentioned the drivers license bureau would hopefully be open January 2020, after renovations at city hall are complete.
“Just to let everyone know, we are going to start selling drivers licenses here,” Mayor Steve Geving said.
Sarah Carling, with Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA), was looking for the council to decide on dates to set for a brainstorming session.
“By the time I get to your community, I will be an expert,” Carling said, adding she would prefer to have the brainstorming session complete by mid January 2020. “I personally would just like to help you guys out as much as possible.
Their brainstorming session would be set for either Dec. 10 or Jan. 4 during a 4 p.m. work session. Carling was hired through Itasca County, to help areas of the county with economic development.
All council members were present.