Lynne Hermansen
Special to The Gardner News
Revenues and budgets for Gardner this year show the city is on the positive side, according to an update given to the Gardner City Council Oct. 19 by Matt Wolff, finance director.
Wolff said it was good news for the city, and the city sales tax was up 7.4 percent while the county was down 32 percent. He said the City Use Tax was also up by 20.7 percent.
Wolff said the city is approximately $180,000 ahead in the budget with 75 percent of the General Fund used for the year.
Randy Gregoryck, council member, said he wanted to know what drove the sales tax to 7.4 percent.
Wolff said it was the Market Street project and online sales for the city use tax because more people are at home because of the pandemic. “We were astonished how much it had gone up,” he said.

In other business:
-Adam Chingren was appointed the new city prosecutor starting November 1.
Steve Shute, mayor, said he has a good legal mind.
-An ordinance passed that will allow a third DUI to be convicted as a misdemeanor in Gardner Municipal Court when the district courts send the cases back.
“Is it a good idea to have a third dui felony as a misdemeanor,” Gregoryck said.
Ryan Denk, city attorney, said the language allows the cases to go back to municipal court.
“How many places is it a misdemeanor or felony depending on the day,” Mark Baldwin, council member, asked.
Any Foster, business services manager, said the court goes back and looks at the history of the person. She said the district courts can still charge other penalties. “We would try it as a third misdemeanor,” she said.
Denk said municipal courts are only able to charge violations as misdemeanors.
Jim Pruetting, city administrator, said if the district attorney doesn’t rise to their level the city doesn’t have the ability to charge anything. “This gives us an option versus no charges at all,”
he said.
-$3,040,000 in General Obligation Bonds for the I-35 and Gardner Road Project improvements. Shute said he was anxious to start the project.
-Two benefit districts for the Hilltop Ridge Development passed. The sanitary sewer and 167th street improvements will cost $1,010,000 for 150 single family lots. The developer is providing a letter of credit for $160,000.
-Approximately $5,205,000 principal amount of General Obligation Bonds and $5,280,000 principal amount of General Obligation Temporary Notes of the City of Gardner will be sold November 16. The estimated costs and bet schedules are for the I-35 Gardner Road project, 2010A bonds, Hilltop Special Benefit District and current refunding of 2019A notes. The bond terms and repayment time is 10 years.
-The city passed a development agreement with Grata Development for a mixed use development at 175th Street and Clare Road. The city is obligated to provide water and electric infrastructure improvements.
Tyler Ellsworth, Gardner bond counsel, said the agreement clarified how the electricity is distributed and Water One providing the water for the development.
General Obligation Bonds will pay for the water infrastructure. Future payments will be from the Water and Electric Funds.