MARISA AGHA, Pioneer Press
December 17, 2002

It took about three hours, several motions and much wrangling, but the Roseville City Council on Monday night approved a 2003 levy and budget.

The new levy is about $95,000 less than in 2002, bringing it to about $8.8 million.

The two key changes made to the proposed budget include: the elimination of new pathway construction (a $100,000 cut) for a year and a $5,000 donation to the Roseville Ambassador Foundation (a $1,000 increase over what the council approved earlier this year).

Based on city estimates and the county's average 10 percent property valuation increase, the owner of a $175,000 home would pay about $492, or $23 less than the 2002 city portion of the bill.

In a 4-1 vote, the council agreed to a $34.6 million 2003 budget with council member Dean Maschka dissenting. Maschka spoke in favor of keeping the pathway construction, arguing that the allocation goes back into the economy and helps stimulate jobs.

Mayor John Kysylyczyn, who admitted during the meeting that he considers voting "no" on the city budget a "badge of honor," voted for this one.

"I think the budget is rather poor," Kysylyczyn said. "This is the best product that we're going to get here this evening."

In a separate 3-2 vote, the council adopted the $8.8 million levy. Council dissenters were Maschka and Craig Klausing. Klausing said he was "troubled" by the council's elimination of pathway funding and its impact on the Larpenteur Avenue pathway project.

"I suspect that we're just going to begin to hear from people along Larpenteur when they hear that we've killed their project," Klausing said.

The roughly $300,000 project is largely federally funded. The city's share would be 20 percent or about $40,000. Kysylyczyn said that the council likely will take the matter up at a later date, and he contended that the city did not kill the project. Staff told the council that the city is now facing the prospect of losing the federal funds.

The budget in Roseville has been a source of contention for months. While staff members have asserted that its proposals would maintain current services and employees, the mayor and some council members countered that there was room for a lower levy.

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

City Attorney Scott Anderson advised Kysylyczyn to hold off on motions related to the elimination of the deputy police chief and assistant city manager jobs as part of motions related to the budget. Anderson will report back at a future meeting on that issue.

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

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