After taking a month to study the city’s  proposed 2020 budget, the Hackensack council unanimously approved the budget with a 2.5 percent across the board increase.

“[City clerk] Jody [Knapp] does a very good job drawing up the budget; she has to move money from here to there,” councilor Jim Schneider declared.

However he noted that wages and street repair categories have stayed much the same in recent years and suggested they be raised to cover those needs.

The overall 2020 budget will be $264,201, compared to $261,351 estimated for 2019 and $259,951 originally proposed for 2020.

General property taxes collected for the 2020 budget will be $230,625, compared to $225,000 in 2019. Other budget revenue sources include business and non-business licenses and permits, state grants and insurance dividends.

Jim Tuller of Hackensack and Walker City councilor Gary Wilkening reported on a meeting they attended recently in Bemidji on possible future expansion of Hwy. 371, also called the Paul Bunyan Expressway.

With Congressman Pete Stauber and staff in attendance, representatives of Bemidji, Roseau and other northern Minnesota towns pushed for federal funding for highway improvements that would save travel time from northern Minnesota to the metro area.

“They didn’t expect Walker and Hackensack to show up to give another point of view,” Tuller remarked. While the traffic count doesn’t justify a four-lane right now, that could change, he cautioned.

Walker and Hackensack are on the same page when it comes to Hwy. 371, Wilkening declared.

In other road matters, City Engineer Les Mateffy will hold an informal open house Sept. 16, 6 p.m., at the Hackensack Community Building to discuss the 2020 city street/county road projects and how they will affect adjacent businesses and property owners.

After learning it isn’t possible to extend the city park irrigation system, councilor Bill Kennedy will continue to seek bids for in-ground sprinklers for sod on the peninsula near the fishing pier. He has received one bid and should have a second by October’s meeting.

The city has purchased a good used 2008 three-quarter ton Ford pickup from the county Land Department, maintenance supervisor Dana Stanko announced. He will advertise for bids on the city’s old plow truck and plow blade, in the hope of getting enough to buy a new snow plow for the 2008 Ford.

The Cass County Board of Commissioners will hold their second meeting of the month at Hackensack City Hall, Sept. 17, 6 p.m. The public is invited.

Hackensack has been nominated for Minnesota Monthly’s “Best Minnesota Town” search contest. Sue Larson commended Barb Harrington for submitting the nomination. Whether or not Hack is one of the Top 10 Towns semifinalists should be announced Sept. 12.

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