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Proposed Duluth budget has $1 million spending increase

DULUTH - The proposed budget for fiscal year 2008 in Duluth amounts to $43,943,744, about $1 million more than the current budget.

The Duluth City Council will vote on the document, presented Monday by City Administrator Phil McLemore, on June 11. It is expected to pass with few, or no, changes.

The millage rate will remain at 5.191 mills. Also, McLemore said, Duluth will draw more than $2 million from "prior reserve" to finance the proposal.

Mainly because Duluth has become what officials call a well-built, mature city since the boom of the 1980s, the increase in tax revenues are expected to slow down.

"We are looking at other sources of revenue," the city administrator said.

"Fortunately, the city has been able to maintain a healthy reserve balance over the years."

Expenditures and revenues each come in at $43,943,744.

The breakdown of proposed expenditures is $18,914,420 for operations and $25,029,324 for capital improvements, according to the proposal.

Revenues include $40,686,290 from revenues and bonds, $2,293,044 from FY '08 prior year reserves and $964,410 from prior year reserves carried forward.

McLemore listed several costly projects, including ball fields, a public safety building and a new City Hall set to be completed in December, as major additions to the city.

Also on tap are bikeway and roadway projects.

"These are ambitious projects we will have concluded in a relatively short time," he said.

In other Duluth news, the Police Department is recruiting young men and women who wish to become police explorers.

The first meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday in the training room at the new police building on Buford Highway and Davenport Road.

The Law Enforcement Exploring Post is designed for young people who live in or near the city as a mentoring and training program for teens to become familiar with and involved in law. The members take part in many community events throughout the year, officials said.

For information about the Explorers, call Scott Parrish at 678-417-3514 or e-mail him at sparrish@duluthpd.com.