Downtown Christmas decorations made the cut off to get on the city budget wish list for 2022.
The lighted pole decorations, along with one portable speed sign, were funded for $20,000 after a motion by Mike Fargen to buy lights. Fargen said the council talked about new lights but they weren’t part of the proposed budget. He said they should be because of the poor condition of the old lights.
Fargen suggested cutting all five of the speed signs but compromised keeping one and taking $5,000 out of the surplus to help pay for both the lights and the electronic sign. The proposal passed unanimously.
The final budget is yet to pass.
In other city business:
•The city has received litter control signs that were suggested by student Titus Tollefson. The signs are in two designs and will be installed soon.
Tollefson approached the city council this summer about the problem he sees with trash and suggested signs reminding people not to litter. He used some of his own money to help pay for the signs.
•Council members discussed the medical cannabis rules and licensing fee but made no decisions during the first reading. The proposal, at this point, is for one dispensary – the city must allow at least one. The licensing fee is set at $5,000, which a lot of government bodies are using.
Brookings County has a $5,000 fee for example, while Minnehaha is considering $100,000.
Several council members said $5,000 seems too low. Mayor Dan Sutton suggested tying the number of dispensaries to the number of liquor licenses in the city, which is three.
“It would make it more competitive if you had more than one,” said alderman Brad Bjerke.
The council will take up the issue at the second reading.
•Police officers who speak both English and Spanish will be given a pay differential of $1,600 a year. The officer’s skills are needed in a growing diverse community, said Jeff Pederson, city administrator.
Currently, there is one Spanish-speaking officer on the force. He is able to connect with people with limited English, Pederson said.
Businesses do the same to recruit bi-lingual employees, said alderman Jason Unger.
“It’s a really good idea,” said Unger.