City of Northfield 2009 budget: soon to be approved

budget-presentation-sshot  Kathleen 'Mac' McBride  budget-handout-sshot

Kathleen ‘Mac’ McBride, the City of Northfield’s Finance Director, presented a draft of the 2009 budget at a public hearing during  Monday’s Council meeting. She emailed me her Budget Handout (one page PDF) as well as her Powerpoint presentation of the budget (25 page PDF).

See the Nfld News article titled Hearing on budget brings few speakers for more.

The proposed budget is expected to increase city property taxes on a $250,000 home by about $36 a year, or 3.7 percent. Tobe Barksdale, a First Street resident, pointed out that the levy had increased dramatically, almost 25 percent since 2006.

Another resident, Victor Summa, who recently ran for city council, applauded the efforts of the city’s finance director, while expressing distress that in order to balance the budget, city officials had to cut nine city jobs. The net effect of those cuts, city Finance Director Kathleen McBride said, is $317,000 for 2009.

The State of Minnesota releases its budget forecast today. The Strib is reporting this morning that:

State budget officials will release a two-year economic projection today that is expected to show Minnesota facing a deficit of anywhere from $4.5 billion to as much as $6 billion.


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    On page 18 of Mac’s PPT: “Northfield receives significant amounts of state aids (27% of the GF Budget) – this leaves the City vulnerable to further cuts.”

    So when the shit hits the fan today at the Capitol, will we have to wait till the end of the legislative session in May 2009 before we know how much LGA money the city will receive?

    December 4, 2008
  2. Kathleen McBride said:


    We have already received notice of our 2009 state aid amounts. The dilemma is what the potential cuts could be and when they would be made. It is possible that the governor – and the legislature could “un-allot” 2009 aid in 2009. This would cause local governments to have to make mid-year budget reductions.

    The City does have a $722,000 “revenue stabilization” reserve for this very purpose. This at least allows us some wiggle room should the cuts occur suddenly.


    December 4, 2008
  3. Jane McWilliams said:

    Griff – does this remind you of the early 80’s when the school board closed Longfellow, rearranged the elementary schools and made other cuts – in response to a similar economic plight? If I recall, the Wigleys played a large role in creating Castle Rock School in response.

    Sometimes emergencies result in creative solutions!

    December 4, 2008
  4. Felicity Enders said:

    In the 25 page pdf, on slide 16 (bottom line for commercial properties) I’m confused because I can’t tell whether changes are due to differences in the tax or the change in the market value for 2008 vs 2009. Can anyone help me out?


    December 4, 2008
  5. Peter Millin said:

    Somebody on the Northfield News has complained that not more people had showed up for the hearing on the budget.

    IMHO this is a sign that most people feel helpless when it comes to influence taxation, this includes me.

    December 4, 2008
  6. Tracy Davis said:

    Peter, our founding fathers (and mothers) would be spinning in their graves at the thought that the democracy they sacrificed to create would be received a few generations later with such fatalism and inertia!

    December 5, 2008
  7. Peter Millin said:


    That might be so but the fact remains that most poeple are simply turned off by the process.

    How else would you explain that close to 50% ofof the people don’t even show up to vote??

    There is a sense of helplessness that “we can’t do anything anyway”, which has given the few that still care all the power.
    Taxes are a prime example of the overwhelming power of government to control our lives.

    I just received my property tax bill and they went up again, despite falling home values????

    Yes I can protest and I will, but does anyone seriously belief that it will be lowered?

    90% of elected officials are in for a career and not for principal.
    Politics is a business and we the pay the price.

    December 5, 2008
  8. Stephanie Henriksen said:

    If Bob Jacobsen were still here, he’d have been at the budget hearing.

    December 8, 2008
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    Joel Walinski has this in last week’s Friday Memo, just posted:

    The State of Minnesota budget forecasts presented yesterday estimated the State’s current shortfall of $426 million in FY 2008-09 and the future forecasts of $4.847 billion in the coming biennium. The implications on the City of Northfield’s budgets have yet to determined. The City currently receives $2.89 million in Local Government Aid (LGA). This makes up twenty-eight percent (28%) of the City’s general operating fund. Depending on the actions taken by the State this amount or a portion of this amount could be unallocated for the remainder of FY 08-09 or reduced in future years.

    The City Council in recent years has developed a reserve fund to ease the impacts of unallotment or under funding of LGA, however careful consideration of existing and any new spending will be needed to address this long-term if reductions in the LGA amounts should occur. Although the 2009 Budget work is completed, Finance Director Ms. McBride and I are beginning a more thorough review of current City spending patterns and service levels. The goal is to present a more detailed look at the City’s funding for providing various services to the Mayor and Council in February/March of 2009.

    December 11, 2008
  10. Griff Wigley said:

    Joel Walinski has a report posted to the Northfield News website titled: City could lose funding from state yet this year.

    The Editor’s Note reads:

    Several city officials went to St. Paul on Wednesday for hearings with state legislators on possible cuts to Local Government Aid during the current budget biennium, which ends in June 2009. The News asked interim City Administrator Joel Walinski to write a column about the trip to St. Paul. It is below. It will also be shared in his weekly memo.

    December 12, 2008

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