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Council approves WREDC budget request

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington City Council approved a request of $76,000 from Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. at a special meeting Thursday.

WREDC manager Glenn Thuringer presented the economic development budget for 2012. The anticipated revenue for the corporation is $210,320 -- reflecting a 1.4 percent decrease from the 2011 year-end actual revenue. Projected expenditure for 2012 is $211,665 -- up by approximately 1.6 percent from the previous year.

Thuringer said the committee has strived to maintain the total stakeholders' (city, Nobles County, Worthington Public Utilities) dues of $140,900 as the year before. The corporation's request for $76,000 from the city is lower than the allotted $86,000 of EDA tax levy that was approved by council in 2009.

The EDA tax levy is part of the city's overall tax levy. The not-to-exceed levy for 2012 is $3 million -- an 11.9 percent increase from the previous year's levy.

"If we do a large reduction (in the precertified levy), I think we could find ourselves digging through every reserve," Alderman Ron Wood said in reference to the possibility of the city receiving less than the amount it is slated to receive from the state. "Even though this is a non-budget year, they have done stuff in this session during the last several years."

Alderman Lyle Ten Haken cautioned that if the precertified number is decided as the final levy, the city does not necessarily spend all the money collected.

"We, traditionally, have underspent our budget, year after year," Ten Haken said. "I think the public has to take a little bit of comfort in the fact that we don't spend unless we have to."

The increase in the precertified levy, as was discussed during the budget meeting last month, is primarily caused by three factors -- decertification of TIF District 7 which increased the levy by 7.6 percent; a decrease in Local Government Aid (LGA) by about $325,000 and a loss in market value credit of $204,000.

In other business, liquor store manager Dan Wycoff presented the store's budget to council members.

"Sales are at an 8 or 9 percent increase from last year," Wycoff said. "I'm still saying I can probably get you a 10 percent increase by the end of the year because we have the biggest quarter of the year coming."

Anticipated revenue for the liquor store next year is $3 million --up by almost 17 percent from the year before. Operations expenditures for 2012 are expected to be $2.6 million, up by almost 14 percent from 2011. There will not be any significant capital improvements for the store next year, Wycoff said.

"Routine maintenance versus replacement is probably the way I want to go next year," he added.