WHITE BEAR TOWNSHIP — The Board of Supervisors asked and staff complied, trimming budgets another 2% below the residents' request last March.
Budget changes included a 10% reduction — or $6,700 — in engineering services and a $25,000 savings in the equipment maintenance and repair budget. The biggest ticket item was a $60,000 reduction in sign replacement. The savings comes by spreading the job out over three years instead of two. In total, by trimming expenditures and increasing some fees, Finance Director Tom Kelly reported a levy savings of $190,200.
“We are trying to be respectful and cognizant of what residents can tolerate with property tax increases,” Kelly said. “We know we are not the only ones making up the tax bill. The school district will have a hefty increase in taxes for constructions, and the county isn't going to cut much.”
Supervisor Scott McClune noted that some budget cuts were substantial; some were delayed line items. “I want to make sure we're not deferring necessary maintenance that will be more expensive down the road,” he told Kelly. The finance director assured the board the town will have time to recover from budget cuts before maintenance is needed.
The preliminary tax levy will be approved Sept. 16. It must be certified to Ramsey County by Sept. 30. The final levy, approved in December, can be reduced but not increased.
In other business Sept. 4, the board:
• Deleted from the agenda a request for a minor subdivision at Schwing America on Centerville Road. Northwoods Entertainment, owners of the White Bear Township Theatre, requested approval to provide access to its pylon sign.
• Approved permit for Redlin Electric, 2350 Leibel St.
The business is constructing a 6,500-square-foot addition on the south side. A setback is required due to wetlands on the property. Town Engineer Jim Studenski recommended delaying approval of the plan until several issues were addressed, mostly regarding drainage and parking lot design. Owner Craig Marshall hired builder Jim Faulkner, who represented him at the meeting. Faulkner said most of the items on the engineer's list have been addressed.
The builder complained that the project has been challenging. “In all honesty, we've had tremendous difficulty with township engineering,” he said. “We've delayed this project before the town board twice now.”
Supervisor Steve Ruzek told Faulkner that some of the reluctance is that the engineer's conditions don't have time frames, and they drag on. “Things get pushed aside or forgotten,” added Chair Ed Prudhon.
“We try to be township nice but sometimes things come back to bite us.”
Ruzek said he was comfortable making the motion to approve at this time.
• Approved a deer hunting request by John Duxbury to bow hunt on township property near State Tool from Sept. 15 through Dec. 31.
• Tabled quote approval for flow monitoring of sanitary sewer discharge from the city of North Oaks.
Three flow meters would be placed at six locations for two months to assess discharge. The lowest bid was $18,800. Supervisor Prudhon questioned why the township was picking up the tab and not the city of North Oaks. The decision was tabled to give staff opportunity to review the joint powers agreement to determine who is responsible for the cost.