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Blackduck Council approves budget; terminates police chief contract

Members of the Blackduck City Council met in special session Dec. 19 to review and approve the 2012 general fund budget and final levy for payable 2012.

As Mayor Jason Riggs was unable to attend the meeting, Vice-Mayor Daryl Lundberg called the special meeting to order.

After reviewing the numbers, council members voted to approve the following recommended revisions:


• Changing the General Property Tax entry from $142,718 to $132,718


• Other Professional services from $6,700 to $4,400

• Office Equip/Furnishings $2,500 to $1,200

• Fire Pension Contribution from $14,113 to $6,234

These revisions brought the total expenses down from $23,313 to $11,834.

The council further discussed cost saving measures and further reviewed the 2012 General Fund Budget.

The discussion included terminating the contract of Police Administration Agreement in an effort to relieve additional tax burden to Blackduck property owners.

Councilman Scott Palmer offered an overview of the original intention of the agreement, in which he noted that at the time, the city had hired two new police officers with limited experience with Beltrami County Sheriff's Deputy Scott Wherley performing the duties of police chief.

The creation of this agreement allowed the two officers time to gain experience in the field and eventually have one of them move into the position of chief.

He noted that this agreement originated five and a half years ago. The council agreed that in light of economic factors, it would be appropriate to terminate this contract and begin hiring practices for the position of Chief of Police.

In addition, the council will terminate the Police Administrative Contract and notice of termination will be effective Jan. 1 and administrative services will end 45 days thereafter.

Following more discussion, the council voted to accept this money-saving option before giving its approval for Resolution 2011-18 Resolution Adopting the Final Property Tax Levy Payable 2012 as presented.

The next council meeting will be held Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers of city hall.