Cottage Grove’s budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year was approved May 7 during a public meeting of the Budget Committee. The adopted budget totaled $41,963,970, an increase of about $3.6 million from the previous year.
The total included about $11.5 million in grants and loans for water and wastewater projects and the Safe Routes to School program.
The adoption of the budget also authorized the continuation of the city’s full permanent tax rate at $7.2087 per $1,000 of assessed property value, which is expected to generate about $4.7 million of collectable tax revenue.
New employees were also included in the budget.
In response to this year’s snowstorm, two part-time city employees were taken on to work full-time in the Public Works department and will continue employment into the next fiscal year as cleanup continues.
A part-time community coordinator assistant position was also made full-time to continue ongoing community service projects such as housing and assisted living.
Other new positions in the adopted budget included a human resources director/assistant to the city manager, part-time engineering aide, part-time finance clerk, a library intern and six new seasonal employees who will be employed full-time for two and a half months.
A current planning technician position will also be reclassified as an assistant city planner.
The new positions were said in the budget message to be “essential in helping to complete projects this year or are a direct result of the grants.”
Additionally, an aging workforce among city staff is expected to see the retirement of several employees in the next six months and the hirings are regarded as a way to make up for the predicted shortfall in staff.
Major city projects in the next fiscal year will include the reconstruction of the Swinging Bridge, roadway preservation, the Safe Routes to Schools program, continuation of three bridge repairs, restoration of the Armory and improvement or replacement of water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure.
Renovations are also underway for the Warren H. Daugherty Aquatic Center, a community facility that will include a new warm water pool, replacing the current therapy pool in the Community Center.
The adopted budget includes $20,000 for operational savings and $50,000 for the HVAC system. An additional $75,000 will be budgeted to support operation costs for after-hour community use of the new aquatic center.
City water rates under the adopted budget will see a $3.42 monthly increase for residents using 5,000 gallons per year and a “typically-sized meter,” with rates differing depending on meter size, consumption and type of use.
No other fee or rate increases were proposed in the new budget.
Overall, there was agreement on the state of the proposed budget at Tuesday’s budget meeting.
A budget message to the committee stated that “the funds are generally healthy and are able to continue current levels of service.”