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Final city tax levy is taking shape

There's a whole lot of number crunching going on this week at Farmington City Hall.

By the end of the week, city administrator Peter Herlofsky hopes to have a final 2011 budget document ready for the Farmington City Council to look over during the weekend. With any luck, council members will agree with what they see and approve the document so the 2011 budget and tax levy can be finalized by the Dec. 15 deadline.

There are several departments working with the final numbers, trying to firm up what will be presented at the next council meeting on Monday. Getting a set of final numbers has been a bit of a struggle this year. Council members directed Herlofsky and finance director Teresa Walters to trim $425,000 from the preliminary budget accepted in September.

A number of recommendations have come out since then - some to cut programs, others to cut supplies. Herlofsky has tried to spare jobs, though council members have called for the elimination of staff positions.

At a Nov. 22 budget workshop, council members directed Herlofsky to cut a management staff position in place of some of the other cuts he'd proposed. Herlofsky would not confirm this year that he has identified a position, but pointed out that council members have previously identified which positions they feel are expendable. At a Sept. 27 budget workshop, council members identified both the economic development specialist position and the administrative services director. The latter is a management position.

Identifying a position to cut is easier said than done, which is why Herlofsky is not ready to disclose which one it would be at this time. Eliminating the position will mean shifting the work done by the individual who holds the position, but it will also mean training new people to do that work. If the position cut is the administrative services director, someone else will have to learn all of the rules and laws surrounding elections.

"If this was easy, anybody could do it, I guess," Herlofsky said. "If this were an easy thing to come to, we could have come to it a long time ago. It's difficult and it will continue to be difficult until it's done."

Herlofsky plans to have the final budget recommendation completed by the end of the week so that council members have the weekend to sift through the numbers and weigh the options.

"We want to make sure they have as much time as possible to look at it," he said.

Unless he needs further clarification from the city council before Monday's meeting, Herlofsky also plans to post the information on the city's web site so residents can view it before the meeting, as well.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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