BLUE EARTH - Blue Earth City Council voted Tuesday to raise the 2013 property tax levy by 6.7 percent.
Council members discussed how they could cut expenses and bring in more revenue. One assumption in the budget is that state aid to local governments will not increase.
"Should we be weaning ourselves off [state aid]?" asked Councilman John Huisman.
"The risk is if we do it, the state will look at us and figure we don't need it," said Councilman Glenn Gaylord.
"There are a lot of cities that are looking to wean themselves down, a small percentage at a time," said Councilman Russ Erichsrud.
"I can't see the state cutting it too much because the smaller cities are too dependent on it," said Mayor Rob Hammond.
Another concern is the library budget.
Blue Earth Community Library has three satellite libraries, said Kathy Bailey, city administrator. The Blue Earth library had been buying things for the system and spending more than it is getting reimbursed.
"Eva (Gaydon, library director) rounded off the budget to what they really needed," Bailey said.
Councilman Rick Scholtes wants to use existing resources to run errands and return merchandise.
"Use Prairie Express [transit bus]; pay $5 and send our employee down there [to the satellite libraries]," he said.
In other business, the council:
o Set Sept. 17 as the date for a public hearing at the Public Safety Center (police and fire building) for proposed assessments for Galbraith, 10th and 11th streets.
o Approved a grant agreement for the airport apron expansion that details Blue Earth's pledge to use federal entitlement money to pay for the project.
o Declared the old fire department radios as surplus property. The fire department has new 800 MHz radios. The old ones can be reprogrammed and used by farming operations, Bailey said.