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Marshall City Council hears budget presentation

December 5, 2012
By Deb Gau , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - It was a public hearing, but there was only a very small audience Tuesday night, as Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig gave a presentation on the city's proposed tax levy and budget for 2013. Martig talked about the proposals during a hearing at a special meeting of the Marshall City Council, but there wasn't any feedback from members of the public. Martig said he hadn't received any written comments on the proposals either.

Martig said the city has certified a preliminary levy of $4.97 million for 2013. If that levy is adopted, it will be a 3.5 percent increase over 2012. Martig said the recommended city budget accompanying the proposed levy also has an increase of 3.5 percent.

The majority of Marshall municipal property tax revenue goes into the city's general fund, which is used for expenses including governmental operations, public safety and public works, Martig said. The Marshall-Lyon County Library, city economic development and debt service also receive property tax dollars.

When presenting the proposed 2013 budget, Martig noted one feature that was new. Starting in 2013, he said Marshall would have a separate capital equipment fund in the budget, instead of making capital equipment expenses part of the general fund. Martig said the change would go along with the five-year capital improvement plan the city has been looking at adopting.

The council will act to adopt a levy and budget for 2013 during one of its regular December meetings.

In other business, members of the city council approved two changes to the city charter, which would move the appointments of the mayor, council members and the Marshall city attorney to January instead of December. Martig said Marshall is currently required to swear in its new council members and appoint its city attorney during a regular meeting in December, after elections.

"We found it a little bit unusual," Martig said. Not many other cities did December appointments, he said. There was also a potential for confusion or disruption if new council members took office in December, especially if they were then immediately called on to make a decision on the next year's levy or budget.

Marshall Charter Commission member David Sturrock said the group recommended amending the city charter to have January appointments.

"The logic of it was pretty apparent to us," Sturrock said.

A pair of motions to amend the city charter regarding the appointment of the mayor and council members, and the city attorney, were passed unanimously.

Martig said the changes would take effect with the next city election, so council members elected this November would be sworn in at a regular council meeting this month.



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