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Welcome council approves ’20 budget

WELCOME — Welcome City Council this week held its Truth-in-Taxation public hearing on the 2020 budget and property tax levy.

Officials say Welcome’s property tax bill will be about the same as for this year, or somewhat lower.

Officials noted that the Valero ethanol plant is coming off its JOBZ tax break, meaning it will start paying higher local property taxes. This is expected to benefit local residents, who will not see their taxes go up.

The council discussed and approved the 2020 budget, with an adjustment to health insurance for police officers, making their benefits the same as other city employees.

In other business, the council tackled a suggestion about the litigation process, with council members saying that litigation is discussed in closed meetings only for privacy reasons.

The council also passed an ordinance to annex 3-plus acres of land. Officials say the land owners will pay for city water and sewer hookup just like others in town.

In other action, the council:

o Heard a report that Minnesota Energy Resources has requested placing a pole near the fire hall to meter electrical use. Council members voiced concerns about existing interference with power lines and poles in the vicinity. The council tabled a decision until a Minnesota Energy Resources representative can offer more information to the group.

o Heard a report from Travis Winter, engineer from Bolton & Menk, who explained that quotes for the bypass plans have not yet been received. The council also discussed the four-plex plans for spring, and Winter will begin planning for construction.

o Went into closed session for contract negotiations with the police department.

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