The Ways & Means Committee met on Monday evening in the Council Chambers at City Hall.  The committee considered an update to the City Council liaison to the temporary Crookston Visitor’s Bureau board and discussed the upcoming 2021 levy.

The preliminary levy, set in September, was for six percent with the City Council requesting staff make cuts to reduce the levy to at least five percent. Crookston Finance Director Angel Weasner informed the committee Monday cuts had been made by moving some LGA funds from street improvement revenue to the general fund and removing the City Council’s contribution to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Several councilmembers stated they were okay with a five percent levy as previously discussed but would like to see the tax capacity numbers from the county before giving a final recommendation.  City Administrator Amy Finch said that one meeting of the Ways & Means Committee remains before the Truth-In-Taxation meeting in December to approve or change the budget presented by Weasner on Monday. “At the Council’s request she brought back some changes that now reflect a five percent increase,” said Finch. “There was some discussion today that Council really wanted to wait and see what the tax impact from the county was before they finalized that. We’re hoping we’ll see that by the November 23 Ways & Means. If we don’t, I think they are prepared to make final recommendations then. Truth in Taxation will be on December 14. So, we have one more Ways & Means to give a little more time to get some numbers from the county to make a recommendation on leaving it at a five percent increase over last year or seeing a further reduction.”

The committee also moved a vote having Councilman Joe Kresl replace Councilman Jake Fee on the Crookston Visitor’s Bureau board ahead to the next City Council meeting. Finch added she believes the CVB will likely submit other required documents for the next meeting, setting up a change in the board’s status from temporary to permanent. “I believe the intent of the temporary board and the request from the CVB was to establish some continuity on the board,” said Finch. “They are just getting started and had their first meeting recently. I thought there were some good discussions and considerations. Councilman Fee and Kresl agreed and I believe if we get everything back we will hopefully be seeing a draft for the CVB agreement in final form as well as a draft for the bylaws for the Council’s approval. That will also then determine their permanent board.”