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Detroit Lakes is feeling the crunch of possible local government aid cuts. But there are other cities with worse cuts and some that won't feel the cuts much at all. With Detroit Lakes, a total of $187,493 is proposed to be cut from the $1 million 2009 LGA allotment. In 2010, there's a proposed $391,518 cut in LGA. The way LGA cuts are determined, "they take what you levy and what your state aid is, find a total and the deduct 5.1 percent," City Finance Officer Lou Guzek explained.
A small group of people voiced concerns Tuesday evening to about half of the Detroit Lakes City Council about the proposed cuts the city plans to make next week, cutting $250,000 from the 2009 budget. Most of the public comment came when it was time to discuss dismissing lifeguards on the beach and a change in the summer recreation program. The city sets a budget for the following year in mid-September each year. By the time the new year comes around though, "a lot of time we have to look at shortfalls," City Administrator Bob Louiseau told a couple dozen citizens making up the audience.
There are some big changes on the horizon for Detroit Lakes Community Education and Recreation. "This is the biggest change in my 34 years. I didn't think it would washout like this," Director Mark Greenig said. Due to potential cuts in local government aid and the April 1 retirement of Greenig, the community education and recreation program is changing. There are two sides to the community education and recreation coin. The recreation portion is funded through the city of Detroit Lakes. The community education portion is funded through the Detroit Lakes Public Schools.
The city of Detroit Lakes is bracing for $250,000 in cuts this year. That's because it expects to lose almost 19 percent of its Local Government Aid, which will be a $180,000 hit to its $5 million general fund budget. The other $70,000 in cuts will be needed because of reduced earnings on working capital, ($35,000) and lower building permit fees ($35,000). Each city department will feel those cuts -- and residents will as well. City staff has put together 11 money saving proposals, and on Tuesday, the city is hosting a public meeting at 5 p.m.
Since she was young, Erika Frikken had wanted to find her birth father. Her mother chose to let her pursue the search after she turned 18.
Valentine's Day is coming up and area organizations are asking people to have a heart. Lakes Crisis and Resource Center and Angels of Courage Retreats have been chosen to participate in Dakota Medical Foundation's Giving Hearts Day on Feb. 12. For one day only, the foundation will match any donation of $10 or more given online up to $5,000. The organizations were required to fill out applications and were then selected as participants. There are about 100 organizations throughout Minnesota and North Dakota participating.
For the most part, the Highway 10 project is finished. It's now up to the city of Detroit Lakes to complete the redevelopment and beautification work around town. When the project bid was let a couple years ago, Hoffman Construction of Black River Falls, Wis., was awarded the second phase of the project -- the major portion of it -- with a price tag of $32.5 million. That made up for about half of the total project cost. After 85 work orders and 16 supplement agreements, the construction phase of the project increased to $33.8 million total.
The City of Detroit Lakes will likely move forward on possibly selling the Lincoln skating rink property to MeritCare and relocate the rink to Peoples Park, next to the skate park. The Community Development Committee met Thursday afternoon to discuss MeritCare's request to purchase the property for enlarging its existing facility, as well as parking and stormwater retention. "We don't necessarily want to sell the property, but because of who they are and where they are, we might have a willingness," Community Development Director Larry Remmen said.
Rather than spending $240 a hour to take a snow plow truck out for training, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is doing the same training, only more conveniently, for only $30 an hour. Statewide coordinator Andy Kubista was in Detroit Lakes earlier this week, training MnDOT snowplow drivers on a simulator, to prepare them for any situation they could encounter on the highways. Kubista said MnDOT started looking at the simulators eight years ago for "training for drivers to reduce accidents.
After a two-week redraw, Union Central LLC came back to the Detroit Lakes Development Authority with an updated proposal to redevelop the former Washington Elementary School, and this time went away with some assistance. Union Central LLC -- named for being at the corner of Union Street and Central Avenue -- representatives Roger Winter and Bob Bristlin appeared before the authority members to ask for $350,000 in tax increment financing for their $2.7 million project.