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Atwater considers budget cuts after LGA unallotment

ATWATER -- The Atwater City Council will be looking for ways to trim $20,000 from the city budget this year in response to cuts in Local Government Aid.

The council went through the budget "with a fine-toothed comb" earlier this year in anticipation of the cuts and has a list of $27,000 worth of possible cuts to choose from, City Clerk Goldie Smith said.

It's likely each department will see some reductions in supplies, maintenance of buildings and training and travel for personnel.

Even though the city's budget has been trimmed "to the bones" in recent years, Smith said "we're still going to do some cutting" to reflect the reduction in state aid.

In 2010, Atwater's Local Government Aid is expected to be decreased by $46,420.

When it comes to finances, the city received good news Wednesday during an audit report.

David Euerle, from Westberg, Eischen and Van Buren of Willmar, told the council the city is "in good shape," Smith said.

There may be a change in where senior citizens in Atwater receive their senior dining meals.

Renee Nolting, from Lutheran Social Service, told the council an average of six people go to the community center each weekday for their noon meal, and that three individuals receive meals at their homes.

In the past, the average daily attendance at the community center was about 20, said Smith.

Nolting is proposing that the meals be prepared by and provided at Thompson Bakery instead of Lutheran Social Service bringing the meals to the community center. The bakery/restaurant is reportedly agreeable to the arrangement. The Lutheran Social Service board will take final action July 1.

In other action:

- The council agreed to order a new police squad car for 2010.

- A community meeting to discuss the city's involvement in the Hotel Atwater renovation project will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the community center. The city has notified the Minnesota Historical Society the city is still interested in accessing a grant that could be used for the project. The next community meeting will be July 21.

- The council was informed that 204 kids are participating in summer recreation activities.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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