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2013 tax levy precertification approved

WORTHINGTON -- A pre-certification for the 2013 tax levy increase of 2 percent was approved by the Worthington City Council during its Monday night meeting.

The effective tax increase would be 1.59 percent. The final 2013 budget and levy will be discussed at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 in the council chambers at City Hall. A Truth-in-Taxation Hearing will take place at this time, during which public input is welcome.

"This budget tries to maintain a fiscally conservative approach as we move forward," said Craig Clark, Worthington's city administrator.

In other business, the council approved a resolution to temporarily allow the Hickory Lodge Bar & Grill to serve alcohol during certain performances at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center.

According to an administrative services memo distributed to council members, the Memorial Auditorium Advisory Board "is interested in increasing the performance experience of events ... by allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages."

Only a limited selection of alcohol will be available for a short time before the performance and at intermission.

The choice to sell alcohol at the auditorium is not intended to generate revenue for the city, but to enhance the overall experience, Clark said.

The original test dates for alcohol sales were Sept. 13-15, but the council agreed to extend the contract until the end of the year to provide a longer test period. If the test period is well received by all parties, the auditorium board will "solicit all of the on-sale liquor license holders within the community for an annual agreement."

Alcohol will not be sold on Sunday performances, or children-themed and high school productions.

In other business, the council:

* Approved the renewal of the Joint Powers Agreement for the Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The Worthington Police Department has been a member of the program since 2008. It provides training for case investigations and computer forensics as it relates to child pornography cases.

* Awarded a masonry contract for the Event Center to M & L Masonry of Sioux Falls, S.D. The base quote is $71,600.

* Authorized a grant agreement for Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Transportation Economic Development Program (TED) funding to be used for infrastructure improvements along U.S. 59 near the city's Biosience Park.. The grant will fund 50 percent of the costs for non- trunk highway work up to $500,000.

* Appointed councilmen Lyle Ten Haken and Ron Wood (alternate) to the Southwest Minnesota Regional Public Safety Board.

* Approved a permit to vacate part of a structure located over a portion of an electric distribution easement in McLean's Sub-Division.

* Approved the second reading of an ordinance allowing the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to temporarily lessen restrictions regarding the use of park property.

* Approved a call for hearings on proposed assesments for the Oct. 8 council meeting.

Daily Globe Reporter Kayla Strayer may be reached at 376-7322.