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Forum staff reports, Published December 15 2010

Dilworth freezes spending for 2011

The Dilworth City Council froze the city’s spending Monday night.

After the state of Minnesota cut local government aid to the city in 2008 and 2009, then coupled a decrease in funding with Gov. Tim Palwenty’s unallotments in 2010, Dilworth faced a shortfall of more than $200,000 this year.

Dilworth City Administrator Ken Parke said Tuesday that the City Council decided to play it safe in 2011. Money was set on reserve in the general fund and spending was cut, even though the state has said it will increase aid to the city next year.

“Well, we’re a little skeptical. What we are doing is setting aside in our budget for 2011,” Parke said.

About $87,000 will be set aside for potential cuts in state aid. In addition, the city will not replace a needed police squad car, saving $20,000. Also, $10,000 will be frozen in the capital outlay budget, park improvement plans will be delayed and $6,000 in the enterprise fund will be frozen.

Parke said the spending freeze will likely hold until the end of the legislative session, when amounts of local aid have been determined.

“Right now it’s a very unstable revenue source from the state. We need to be prepared,” Parke said.

He added Dilworth residents will not see an increase in city property taxes in 2011 unless property values increased.