The 2015 budget and tax levy of $799.957 for the city of Manawa was approved during a public hearing on Monday, Nov. 17.
The budget is up $3,770 from 2014 and includes a 3 percent raise for city employees.
The mill rate is set at $10.07, compared to the 2014 mill rate of $9.55.
During the budget hearing, Mayor John Smith noted that everyone worked together to keep the city running smoothly.
During the past year, the roof was replaced on the municipal building and the boiler system was replaced. Both upgrades were done without an increase to the city taxpayer.
Also, City Clerk Cheryl Hass worked to bring insurance costs down and is currently working on refinancing the city’s debt to save about $75,000 in interest payments.
No members of the public attended the budget hearing.
Dogs in the city
Dog issues were discussed by the Manawa Common Council at its Nov. 17 meeting, which followed the budget hearing.
Stephanie Lubahn presented a request to be allowed to have three dogs at her residence. The current city ordinance does not allow more than two dogs per residence.
Getting rid of a dog “is not an option,” she said.
The family recently moved from a city that allowed three dogs. “We assumed, since it was the same county, we could have three dogs,” Lubahn said.
Two of her family members have what Lubahn termed as depression and other “special circumstances.” She expressed concern that these family members would have problems coping on a daily basis without their “companion” dogs.
The third dog has been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor and reportedly only has about eight months to live. Lubahn said the family would want to be able to replace the sick dog.
The council indicated that this would violate the ordinance, but they were willing to not make an issue about the third (dying) dog at this time.
“We don’t want to break any ordinance,” Lubahn said.
“I can definitely sympathize with the situation,” Smith said.
Hass said the ordinance was needed because there are a lot of dogs in Manawa.
Council members agreed there were also a lot of dog-related issues in the city, such as excessive barking and dogs running at-large.
Changing the ordinance would require a public hearing and public notices, according to Hass.
She asked Lubahn to back up her claims. “If you are going to say these things, I need proof,” Hass said.
The council concluded that ordinances are written to protect all citizens, and everyone should be treated the same.
The Protection & Welfare Committee will investigate how Manawa’s dog ordinance differs from other municipalities in the area.
In other business, the council discussed refinancing its debt and the impact of the state’s new Husbandry Law.
“This law basically affects townships more than the city,” Hass said.
The council also received information that any recording of meeting information by an alderperson must be kept as a public record for seven years.
“We had a request for one of our council members to take minutes for a local media,” Smith said. “I don’t think that’s anything we want to get into.”
“The council is here to do city council work and not someone else’s work,” Hass said.
The council approved operator’s licenses after a discussion on the state allowing 18 year old high school students, including athletes, to serve liquor.
“Technically they are 18,” Ald. Mary Eck said, “so our hands are tied.”
The council concluded that they had no choice but to approve operator’s licenses for 18 year olds.
Smith reported that a town of Little Wolf resident recently complimented Manawa’s city workers on “a job well done.”
The mayor indicated he often hears this type of compliment, especially concerning road maintenance during the winter months. He said all of the city workers – including the clerks, police, council and public works – always put the city’s interests first.
“It’s nice when somebody notices and says something,” Smith said.