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Council OKs preliminary levy; tables ice arena lease deal

The Worthington City Council approved during its Monday evening meeting a resolution regarding the city's proposed tax levy for 2023.

The city's preliminary levy amount is $6,646,866, which breaks down into an operating levy of $5,620,093 and special tax levies of $1,026,773. The proposed levy represents a 17.0% increase over 2022.

Worthington Mayor Mike Kuhle stressed that the preliminary represents a maximum amount to be levied, and that the total levy can still be lowered. He said the budget represents inflationary pressures, and that it contains “no fluff.” He added that a lot of work remains to be done in an attempt to trim the levy amount further.

Also approved by council was the Housing and Redevelopment Authority's 2023 proposed levy of $151,000, an increase of $6,000 over 2022.

Council members are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 to discuss the final 2023 budget and levy. A truth-in-taxation Hearing will be held at this time, where public input will be taken prior to adoption.

Also Monday, the council approved a purchase agreement for acquisition of real property parcels that are the site of the long-closed Butcher Lakeshore Service. The agreed-upon purchase price is $380,000. These acquisition funds can be reimbursed through tax increment finance revenue, as a TIF district including the properties was approved earlier this year.

Also approved was a proposal from Midwest Alarms to furnish and install a video security system at the city's Event Center. The proposal is to install four cameras in the ballrooms and three cameras in the corridor areas. The server has the capacity to store 30 days of video. The proposed cost is $12,416.13, and funds from the Event Center Reserve Account will be used for the purchase.

Tabled Monday night by the council was a proposed lease agreement for the Worthington Ice Arena.

The one-year lease of the arena from the Worthington Hockey Association to the city of Worthington would be for the sum of $1. The lease would renew annually unless one of the parties gives written notice.

The city’s responsibilities would include: the inside and outside maintenance of the facilities; scheduling of events; managing and staffing of any arena programs including open skate times; and maintaining all facility equipment. The Worthington Hockey Association would pay the city a lump sum fee of $75,000 for 880 hours of specified ice time, with additional hours available at a rate of $85.00. The association would also assist in the instillation of the ice surface, maintain the concession stand and be responsible for everything hockey-related, other than ice maintenance.

Council members will further discuss the matter and specifics involved during a work session scheduled for Sept. 21.

The council approved the appointment of Citlali Chavez Vega to fill the unexpired term of Angie del Carmen Hurtado Rivera on the Cross Cultural Advisory Committee; that term expires Dec. 31 of this year. The appointment of Mike Hoeft to fill the unexpired term of Drake Hagen on the Planning Commission was also approved. That term expires March 31, 2023.

Council members also approved a resolution requesting review of the Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic study performed in August along Crailsheim Road. It was noted that the study took place while none of the schools and facilities located in that corridor were in session, and it’s asked that another study be undertaken.

Also approved was an application from Ayano Badassa of USA Transportation Service, LLC of Worthington to operate a taxi service in Worthington and the surrounding area. Hours of operation are Monday–Sunday, 24-hour service.

At the end of the meeting Monday, Kuhle offered thanks to Dana Oberloh, Glenn Thuringer, Matt Selof, Jorge Lopez, Galen Kaufmann, the Worthington High School football team and others for their assistance in the Sept. 10 Rebuilding Together Day program.

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