COUNCIL CONTINUES BUDGET BATTLES - MAYOR WANTS MORE REDUCTIONS FOR 2003
Marisa Agha, Pioneer Press
December 10, 2002

The debate over Roseville's proposed 2003 budget continues.

During Monday's night continued public hearing, city leaders heatedly discussed what's in the budget, what should come out of the budget and what the budget actually says.

The City Council also debated who gets to decide all of the above.

Ultimately, the council likely will approve the budget at next Monday's council meeting. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m., but the budget typically isn't discussed before 7 p.m.

Mayor John Kysylyczyn remains opposed to the city's proposed $9 million levy, arguing that the staff's plan is too costly. On Monday, Kysylyczyn said the staff should reduce the city's 2003 budget by about $425,000.

"If we can't hold the line this year, does anybody really think anybody will want to hold the line next year?" he asked, adding that the proposed budget makes the prospect of a long discussed community center "improbable" with voters.

Other city officials and city staff, however, have argued that the proposed levy allows the city to maintain current services and staff.

Council Member Craig Klausing repeatedly asked the mayor to name what he wants to cut.

"You're unwilling to provide that information," Klausing told Kysylyczyn. "I don't see how that moves us forward."

Council Member Tom Kough said he wants to see a lower levy, which would require about $147,000 in cuts. He proposed moratoriums on pathway construction and playground equipment for one year as well as about $54,000 savings in outside legal fees.

"There's a number of ways," Kough said. "This is an opportune time for our city because we have paid off our debts."

According to city estimates and based on the county's average 10 percent property valuation increase, the owner of a $175,000 home would pay $506, or $8 to $9 less than what the homeowner paid on the 2002 city portion of the property tax bill.

City estimates do not factor in the state homestead credit that affects the whole tax bill. Homeowners need to check with Ramsey County to learn more about their individual homestead credit, city officials said.

The city must submit the final approved budget to county and state officials by Dec. 31.

The city's proposed 2003 budget is on the city's Web site at www.cityofroseville.com. For questions or hard copies, call the finance department at (651) 490-2210.

Marisa Agha, who covers north suburban Ramsey County, can be reached at magha@pioneer press.com or (651) 228-2109.

2002 St. Paul Pioneer Press and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
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