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News from the week of September 19, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

Proposed city tax levy jumps 37.5%

A preliminary 2002 City of Tracy property tax levy shows a 37.5% increase from this year's levy.

Approved last week by Tracy City Council members, the preliminary levy will be used by the Lyon County Auditor's office in estimating 2002 property taxes. The estimates will be mailed to taxpayers this fall in “truth-in-taxation” statements.

The council must certify a final levy by the end of the year. The final levy set by the council can be less than the preliminary levy, but not more. The council likely will make a final decision on next year's property tax levy and 2002 budget in December, following truth-in-taxation public hearings.

As the city's budget now stands, the city's overall tax levy will increase from $430,707 this year to $592,467 for taxes payable in 2002.

The overall levy is made up of three parts: debt service fund, permanent improvement fund, and the general fund.

Tracy school levy on Nov. 6 ballot

State funding would generate 57% of referendum revenues

Tracy School Board agreed Friday night to ask District 417 voters to approve a special operating levy in the Nov. 6 general election.

The levy would replace an existing levy that ends after this year. The new levy would raise about $357,000 annually ($425 per pupil unit) over the next five years. New referendum dollars would be available for the 2002-03 school year.

About 57% of the new referendum revenues ($203,459) would come from state aid, with the remaining 43% ($153,816) from District 417 property taxes.

Existing levy ends

The school district's existing levy will generate about $278,000 for current 2001-02 school year. Of this amount, about $109,000 comes from state aid and about $168,000 from local property taxes. In addition, the omnibus education bill passed by 2001 legislature adds another approximately $80,000 ($100 per student).

“Then, the levy is over and we don't know what we will have,” said Supt. of Schools Rick Clark.

Dr. Clark told board members that if the levy doesn't pass the school board would need to cut about $500,000 from school spending over the next two years.

Even if the referendum passes, Dr. Clark said the school board will still need to make some spending cuts for the coming school year.

AFS students aghast at Sept. 11 terrorism in U.S.

Sympathy for America's plight is widespread abroad, students say

The Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have brought an outpouring of support from former Tracy AFS students.

Students from Europe to Asia Minor say their countrymen are horror-struck by last week terrorism. E-mails sent to their host families and people at Tracy Area High School speak of overwhelming support and sympathy abroad for Americans.

Following are excerpts from recent correspondence received in Tracy from AFS students.

Michael Kehrer (Germany, 2000-01)—“The whole world is sitting in front of the TV and can not believe what happened yesterday morning. I came home and my mom pulled me into the house to watch the news. It is just shocking to see those pictures of the airplanes crashing into the World Trade Center. There is no way to put this (act of terror) into words. This is the darkest day I have seen in my life and will bring unpredictable consequences. I am really afraid of what is happening in the world. I do not want to exaggerate, but what about the peace in the world! There will be so much hatred in the future and we don't even know if this attack was only the beginning!

“I just want you to know that we all feel with the American people and express our condolences to all the victims....Almost every European country raised their security levels because they fear being attacked as well. All festivities and activities are canceled...I remember being on top of the World Trade Center with (host sister) Elizabeth (Malmberg). It is just horrifying to know that the Twin towers disappeared from the famous skyline and buried thousands of people.”

Homecoming candidates set

Public invited to Monday night coronation

Homecoming fever is breaking out at Tracy Area High School.

Festivities don't officially start until Monday, but signs of upcoming activities are already in evidence.

Senior king and queen homecoming candidates were announced, prompting students to erect colorful campaign posters for their favorites.

Senior homecoming queen candidates are: Jackie Rathje, Kami Skoglund, Elisabeth Fox, Elizabeth Malmberg, and Laura Miller.

Colin Evans, Brandon Lightfoot, Scott LaVoy, Erik Kathman, and Darin Wilking are the senior king candidates.

Fellow seniors selected the candidates; the girls voting for the boys, and vice-verse.

Jackie Bruss and Derek Evans are the seventh graders selected as homecoming crown bearers.

The homecoming coronation ceremony is set for Monday, Sept. 24, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the high school gym. The public is invited.

New population signs on order, due to be erected before winter

"Tracy: Pop. 2,268."

The signs travelers see on their way into Tracy on Highway 14 will soon reflect the city's population increase.

If all goes as planned, the signs will be put up before the snow flies.

Dick Persoon of the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Marshall office, said there are 120 signs that need to be changed by the Marshall Mn/DOT branch.

"The signs have been ordered," he said. "We hope that they will be put up before winter."

Persoon said he expects the signs to arrive within the next two to three weeks, but added that nothing is set in stone. While the plan is to have the signs put up this fall, finishing construction projects, such as the one on Highway 19, are the highest priority.

"It all depends on manpower and the weather," he said.

Before population signs could be ordered, the Department of Transportation had to receive "real" population figures, Persoon explained. This accounts for the prolonged time period between census figures being announced and the receipt of new signs. Signage for the whole state are manufactured at the state sign shop in Oakdale.

Appeal made for food shelf

Community drive set Sunday afternoon

By Valerie Scherbart Quist

Don't be surprised if your Sunday afternoon nap or football game is interrupted by a knock on your door this weekend.

Volunteers from Tracy churches will be seeking donations for the Tracy food shelf in a citywide food drive.

"This food drive will be a cooperative effort from every church that's part of the Tracy ecumenical ministerial," said Bill Elmstrom, food-shelf director. "We encourage everyone to have a donation ready on Sunday afternoon."

He urges those who will not be home Sunday afternoon to hang a donation on their door.

Supplies getting low

The Tracy food shelf is in need of support from the community, said Elmstrom. Five years ago, the food shelf had a six-month reserve of food.

"Now, we're lucky if we have a one-month reserve," Elmstrom said.

For the first time in about five years, the food shelf needs funding, he added.