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Post-Flood and economic stress a concern at Rushford City Council Meeting


Fri, May 15th, 2009
Posted in Government

Going in circles at times, the Rushford City Council meeting on May 11th brought forth concerns from community members looking for understanding on proposed public utility improvements. Projects are slated over a 10-12 year period, depending on financing and assistance available.

Phase 1

Taking the spotlight, the "driving force" behind Phase 1 is the condition of current waterline pipes and the availability of Minnesota stimulus funds. A portion of the city is using century-old pipes with immense buildup and lead portions posing a health risk to the community. With help from the stimulus, the city could acquire funds that would account for 20% of the replacement cost of the sand-cast pipes. The drawback being that in order to qualify for funds, the city needs to be "shovel ready" by August, 15th. If not, the funds would go to other projects in the state, leaving the city and its residents paying the initial estimated cost. As project engineer Dean Otomo stated, "The stimulus has changed the schedule."

To partially fund Phase 1, the city is proposing a special property assessment. There is no current assessment policy, but according to City Administrator Windy Block, the portion paid through assessment to property owners hovers around 30% of the total project cost. Phase 1 has an estimated cost of $3,192,515.00 with an estimated assessment cost to property owners of $755,054.00 (23.65%). Block stressed that the total cost "could be driven down substantially" through funding from grants, special assistance, and reductions in actual contractor bids. It was noted that recent comparative bids have been 30-40% lower than the estimates from Otomo.

The cost will be assessed to the property owner over time. The upgrades will be calculated as follows:

• Water main and sanitary sewer are calculated on a per service basis.

• Storm sewer cost not being assessed. However, a user fee on monthly bills will be considered.

• Street restoration costs are to be calculated on a per foot (linear frontage) cost.

There was obvious frustration from community members from the lack of a final amount due to property owners. Block reiterated that it's "hard to calculate due to outstanding efforts to secure special assistance" that would potentially decrease the assessed amount.

It seems clear that the first phase of the project can be no longer put off with both members of the council and the community .....
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Harmony City Council dicusses TIF District

Fri, May 15th, 2009
Posted in Government

The Harmony City Council had a lot of discussion and made some final decisions on some improvements in the downtown area at the May 12th meeting. The alley behind the bank will be improved with new lighting and street improvements. At the same time, ..... 
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County Board updated on EcoHarmony West Wind Project

Fri, May 15th, 2009
Posted in Government

Don Miller representing EcoEnergy brought the board up to date on the status of the proposed EcoHarmony West Project at the board's May 12 meeting. The comment period regarding the application for a Large Wind Energy Conversion System Site Permit en ..... 
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Spring Valley is a "Storm Ready Community"

Fri, May 15th, 2009
Posted in Government

Mainly routine business at the May 11th Spring Valley City Council meeting Monday night. Todd Shea of the National Weather Service in LaCrosse was on the agenda to inform City officials that after years of work Spring Valley has been awarded the tit ..... 
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Preston to update Land Use Plan

Fri, May 8th, 2009
Posted in Government



The Preston City Council's meeting was relatively brief on May 4. City Administrator Joe Hoffman explained the purpose of a Land Use Plan for the city. The plan was last updated October 1999. The plan along with the zoning map and the land u ..... 
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Does Lanesboro need a siren?

Fri, May 8th, 2009
Posted in Government

Lanesboro's Street Superintendent and Fire Chief Andy Drake brought some matters to the attention of the City Council during their regular meeting on May 4.

Drake believes that an emergency siren needs to be placed near the Zenith Street are ..... 
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County preparedness for H1N1

Fri, May 8th, 2009
Posted in Government

Public Health Director Sharon Serfling provided information on the H1N1 influenza and recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus. She said they are not focusing on the number of confirmed cases as much as the effort to contain them. There ar ..... 
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Rushford City Council attacks full agenda with full audience

Fri, May 1st, 2009
Posted in Government

With an ambitiously long agenda, and a packed house of spectators, the Rushford City Council held its regular bi-monthly meeting April 27.

Three public hearings were scheduled, and no doubt the nearly fifty spectators were hoping their dinne ..... 
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County asks for reconsideration for Forestvile Historic Meighen Store Site

Fri, May 1st, 2009
Posted in Government

The board approved a carefully worded letter to be sent to the Director of the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS), Nina Archabal, and to our legislators at the board's April 28 meeting. The MHS proposes to close the site as of July 1, 2009. This is ..... 
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