The Ways and Means Committee met immediately following the city council meeting on Monday night in the City Hall council chambers. During the meeting, the committee discussed building an official budget discussion, the Crookston Police Department preliminary budget, and the Information Technology initial budget.


The budget discussions kicked off with Crookston Building Official Greg Hefta. Hefta estimated in the preliminary stages, he will need $148,209 for the total budget. It is reported that Hefta has no added charges estimated from his 2022-23 budget. Hefta was asked how his rates compare to other cities across the state. “Council did ask me to look at current rates for other cities,” said Hefta, “They would like me to compare it to the 2024 budget year so that I will be looking at that for them.” The change in rates would be proposed to the council in December or early January of 2024, and all other changes to the budget.


The following information Technology budget was discussed to Ways and Means. Information Technology Director Chad Palm got his preliminary budget, including upgrading many systems and software. “As far as improvements go, we are looking at a major upgrade to our ERP, AKA our financial software across the city; we are also looking into electronic timekeeping management, which is essentially electronic timecards for the city.” Said Palm. Palm also mentioned purchasing a document imaging platform and a website add-on that would give a complete overview of the city code book. Palm also stated that the city wants to switch gears and forget about using Google as a primary email platform. “We have since migrated to what is now called Microsoft 365,” said Palm, “This licensing includes email hosting, and within this new system, we intend to have an email address for every city employee.”


The final budget discussed during Monday’s meeting was for the Crookston Police Department. Chief of Police Darin Selzler estimated a total budget increase for 2024 of $210,000, with reportedly $106,858 of that increase to be used for salary increases at the department. Selzler reported that the department should receive a PA1 grant worth up to $135,000 from Minnesota in 2024 and that the grant is meant to subsidize the retirement contributions for the officers.

The police department is also looking to upgrade equipment, including tasers, increasing the contractual fees portion of their budget. The current Tasers at the police department are out of service and will not be supported after the end of 2023. “For 2024, we are suggesting increasing that fund by $3,000,” said Selzler, “We also have money we reserved over the last few years for the purchase of tasers. We recently learned that our current model is out of service.”

Selzler also has plans to replace a couple of current squad cars. “We had two dollar amounts that we’re suggesting,” said Selzler, “The one-dollar amount is replacing the black and white squad cars that you see every day.” The black and white squad cars are currently on a five-year replacement plan. The other vehicles are a travel vehicle and a loading vehicle, which do not possess replacement plans. It was proposed to the committee that the Police Department could put money aside each year so those vehicles could be on a five-to-seven-year replacement plan.

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