State to reduce aid to Fairmont

FAIRMONT – Fairmont City Council received some mixed news Monday.

Bradley Peterson, a lobbyist for the 85-member the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, which includes Fairmont, said the city’s local government aid from the state will drop about $100,000 next year. The decrease is the result of Fairmont’s tax base, which is strong and increasing.

“Fairmont is one of 115 cities to decrease,” Peterson said. “Fairmont gets a relatively high amount of LGA, more per capita than Winona and Duluth.”

The LGA formula is complicated, factoring in need versus the tax base which, in Fairmont, is “more than the greater Minnesota average,” he said. “The combination of those things reduces LGA.”

Fairmont’s growth “is very good for the community, but it does have a downward effect” on LGA, Peterson said.

LGA accounts for almost half of the city’s general fund, according to Paul Hoye, city finance director.

In other action Monday, the council set a public hearing for Aug. 11 to gather public input on a proposed ordinance to begin charging for fire calls.

“This charge could potentially raise $50,000 a year,” said Mike Humpal, city administrator.

Funds generated could be used to purchase new fire trucks or upgrade existing ones.

“A lot of [departments] who we partner with now are already charging. It’s not a huge cost,” said Humpal, adding that the cost frequently is covered by insurance.

The proposed ordinance has two rates: $500 for fire calls and $250 for rescue calls not requiring a pumper truck or a ladder truck.

Three parties are affected: owners of property within the city, anyone who receives fire service as a result of a motor vehicle fire within the city, and owners of property in communities to which the city provides service through a contract.

In other city news, Joe Kallemeyn, council representative from Ward 3, announced he does not plan to run for re-election.