WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --     WWG — Although the council had reviewed the budget levy proposal at the November meeting, they formally adopted the 2017 budget at the December meeting. The budget approved was set at $353,360 for a 12.2 percent increase over the 2016 budget.

    City Clerk Katie Steen  talked about some  of the reasons for the increase. She says adding a full time street crew member, increased insurance premiums, maintenance for the pool, and increase in wages made up most of the increases. However she says they also received an increase in license fees with Bonnie and Clyde’s 2 opening their business, along with an increase in community center use to help out with the budget.

    Steen also talked about an email she received from Ehlers Municipal Advisors telling that the conditions for the City’s Street Improvement Bond refinance project is no longer feasible due to the current  market instability. They recommended that the city not pursue the refinancing of the bonds at this time.

    Mayor Dennis Phelps said, “it is something we may want to do when things get better.”

    Clerk Steen told the council the sewer project repairs have been completed, however they should wait until there is evidence that the leaks will not reoccur before making the final payment for the project. The council also discussed paying the landowners where the work was done for crop losses. The area was measured by the engineer, and the total damaged area was less than one  acre.

    Dan Joel, superintendent  of the utilities, requested that Jim Schmidt be reappointed to the Utilities Commission. There were no other applicants for the position.

    Ambulance director Dan Joel  asked the council for approval for changes in the ambulance bylaws. The council approved the changes.

    The council approved a request from Sara  Anderson, assistant director of Lutheran  Social Services, for continued use of the senior center for Senior Dining.

    The council discussed mowing charges issued to property owners for not mowing their grass in a timely manner. According to clerk Steen there is only one property that is in arrears. She asked the council to put the charges on the property owners as an assessment on their county tax statement. The council approved putting  the $1,750 bill on the property taxes.