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Russell City Council Considers Mill Levy Increase, Appoints New Councilman

Russell City Council 2013 JuneRussell residents could see higher property taxes next year as Russell City Councilmembers are considering a mill levy increase to fund additional city staff.

City Manager Jon Quinday brought forward a proposed budget Tuesday night at the Council's regular monthly meeting that would actually decrease the mill levy slightly, but after discussion, Councilmembers directed Quinday and City Finance Director Katrina Woelk to instead add the increase. The proposed two mill increase would fund a new code enforcement officer position.

Councilwoman Norma Jean Cook says she is in favor of adding the position.

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The increase will be included in the budget that is published in the newspaper. City Manager Quinday explains the Council can vote to remove the addition before it approves and finalizes next year's budget.

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The Council voted to set a public hearing date for the 2014 budget for August 6 at 4:30 PM, or just before its regular monthly work study. Russell citizens wanting to voice their opinions about the proposed budget are encouraged to attend the hearing.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, Tony Witt was appointed to the Council to fill the vacant Ward IV position. Witt will be sworn in Friday at 11 AM in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

Water was discussed as well. Public Works Director Arlyn Unrein said Big Creek is still dry and the city is relying solely on the Pfiefer wells for its water. Continued work with finding additional water sources and wells west of the Pfiefer wellfield was addressed also. The city remains under a Stage IV Water Emergency.

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