At the beginning of the Osakis City Council meeting last Monday, Dec. 9, the agenda halted for a public truth-in-taxation hearing about the proposed 2020 city budget and an increase in the property tax levy.

The council approved a 6% increase in the 2020 overall budget, raising it from $3,415,950 in 2019 to $3,619,046 for the coming year.

Also, in 2020, the city plans to collect 3% more in property taxes from the previous year. In 2019, Osakis levied $737,500, which will increase to $759,750 in 2020.

A handful of Osakis residents attended the meeting to find out more information about the 2020 budget. Citizens were encouraged to show up and ask questions about the proceedings. Those in attendance received a 2020 budget highlight sheet that explained the changes for the general fund budget, which increased by 3%.

Winter parking request

After the public hearing, the regular meeting resumed. One of the highlights was Dirk Hagedon’s ordinance change request regarding winter parking.

Hagedon pleaded to the council about the lack of parking in Osakis. He asked the council members if they would consider street parking during the winter, except during the period of a snow emergency.

The current ordinance states that when existing or forecasted weather conditions require snow plow operation, no vehicles can park on any street during the periods of snow removal. Any violators will be towed when the city crew begins to work.

The ordinance also states that there is no parking on public streets from November to April between the hours of midnight to 6 a.m. Hagedon asked the council if it would consider amending this section of the ordinance to allow parking on nights without harsh incoming weather.

The council listened to Hagedon and could come to a decision at a later meeting.

Lastly, the council discussed the potential upcoming hearing about the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency case regarding the discharge of phosphorus from the city’s wastewater system. The Osakis attorneys recommended the council draft a letter to the MPCA stating that they would like to hold a meeting regarding their permit limit, and hear why the interim limit meets the standards of water quality.

The council is requesting assistance from state senators Bill Ingebrigtsen and Paul Gazelka to be involved with the process. They feel this issue can be resolved by meeting and discussing the facts and avoid a lengthy court case.