Discussion on Parks & Rec, Public Works budgets to be followed by Information Technology, Building Official departments

    Members of the Crookston City Council, along with City Administrator Shannon Stassen, Mayor Wayne Melbye and City department heads have embarked on the process of arriving at a 2019 City of Crookston budget and levy.

    This week, the council’s Ways & Means Committee sat down with Parks & Recreation Director Scott Riopelle and Public Works Director Pat Kelly to go through their proposed 2019 budgets line by line. Monday evening, Aug. 13, the committee will meet with Information Technology Director Philip Barton and Building Official Matt Johnson to do the same. Subsequent meeting for the remainder of this month will be held with Police Chief Paul Biermaier, Fire Chief Tim Froeber, and other department heads.

    Stassen said it’s about detailing operating and capital needs in each department in advance of the council approving a preliminary 2019 budget and levy in September, and then continuing discussions in the subsequent months until a final 2019 budget and levy is passed in December.

    “We will come to a strategy together for setting the levy and the possible use of reserves for one-time expenses,” Stassen added.

    Asked if he or anyone else has any number in mind at this point as far as a City property tax levy for 2019, Stassen didn’t offer up a number.

    Capital improvement items are a big part of the budgeting process, with the Parks & Recreation and Public Works departments typically having several significant capital needs for the council to consider.

    Riopelle tells the Times that Parks & Rec capital improvement expenditures for 2019 being considered include a new mower with multiple attachments, the resurfacing of the Highland Park tennis courts, and a new pickup.

    As for Public Works, Kelly tells the Times that potential capital improvements for next year include a new pickup, but his biggest capital request is a new dump truck with a plow.

    Kelly said there’s a desire to add more LED bulbs to streetlights around town, and a streetlight reserve fund is being implemented to address future light replacement and potentially more LED lighting.