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City Budget: Where does money go?

Budget breakdown How will Alexandria's $10.16 million budget "pie" be sliced? Here's the proposed breakdown, from biggest to smallest: Police - $2.3 million General government - $1.93 million Streets - $1.38 million Debt retirement - $723,644 Parks - $701,225 Runestone Community Center (RCC) - $564,930 Fire protection - $524,218 ALASD - $500,211 Capital improvement fund - $250,000 Building department - $221,710 Street equipment fund - $168,000 Street paving program - $140,000 Airport - $117...

Here are some highlights of Alexandria's proposed 2011 budget of $10.16 million:

• The overall levy is $5.29 million, an 8.46 percent increase from 2010's $4.88 million levy. This is well under the 19 percent levy limit increase allowed by state law.

• Significant changes on the expense side of the budget include: general government - $15,000 for making building repairs at City Hall, $80,000 in payments to townships for tax reimbursements in annexation areas, $7,500 for an intern in the planner's office; police department - the addition of a dispatcher/receptionist, utility/ backup generator costs for the new police station, a community service officer; parks department - $5,000 for utilities at the new park department building; other changes - reinstatement of employee benefit and planning commission development funds that had been eliminated because of local government aid (LGA) unallotment in 2010; $65,000 for a street paving program to address deteriorating street conditions; and a 20 percent increase in various equipment funds to reflect higher replacement costs.

• Significant changes on the revenue side of the budget include: a $125,000 reduction in the franchise and delinquent taxes budget, primarily because of decreased natural gas sales; and a $446,000 increase in intergovernmental revenue because of reinstated LGA.

• The budget reflects a 2 percent increase in employee wages. Also, planned salary adjustments for department heads, which were delayed in 2010, are now included in the 2011 budget.

• $250,000 is included for capital improvement projects that have been delayed because of past LGA cuts.

• The retirement benefits the volunteer firefighters receive for every year of service will increase 2 percent - from $6,190 in 2010 to $6,314 in 2011.

• Actual taxes paid by property owners depend on market value, tax capacity and the budgets of the taxing authorities. In 2010, the city's share of property taxes for a typical residential property represented about 27 percent of the total property tax.

• The city's budget committee interviewed about 20 individuals or organizations during the budgeting process.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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