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Rushford puts halt to contract mowing for 2013


By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Mar 1st, 2013
Posted in Rushford Government

After a lengthy process to determine potential cost savings of contracted versus public works mowing of the city’s 135 acres of land, the city will sit on the idea of contract mowing for this season. The idea, led by Councilor Roger Colbenson, could potentially pit the labor union against the city if the council were to proceed with an RFP (Request for Proposal) and the seeking of bids from outside contractors. If the city were to use contracted mowing, they must show at least a 10 percent cost savings to labor management. In addition, a 120-day period of notice must coincide with the verification of savings.

According to city attorney Terry Chiglo, he believes the city has already begun this 120 notice. However, the contract does not specify which must come first, the savings verification or the 120 period. Labor management, he argued, would likely insist that the notice must come after. As the contract item is not spelled out clearly, Chiglo believes the labor union would file a grievance if the city were to proceed. Arbitration would be a costly outcome for the city.

“The language just isn’t there,” stated Chiglo. “It’s not a wise expenditure of city funds to pursue this. Realistically, the 2013 season is over.”

City Administrator Steve Sarvi suggested the issue could be a part of upcoming discussions with labor management. “This might be an opportunity to look at it another way to achieve a result that’s favorable to all.”

Councilor Vern Bunke referenced his repeated request for cost estimates of labor by Public Works. “We haven’t received it yet,” he noted. Bunke suggested that allowing public works to mow this season, now that the city is tracking the number of hours and knows equipment cost and overhead, the city may finally see those time and cost figures. “We’ll have to have that anyway,” he continued.

“If we don’t push this, we’ll know the real employee cost and hours. Then, we can weigh the costs equally,” echoed Councilor Mark Honsey. “It’s just not worth it [to proceed] legally. What’s the sense of pushing it forward just to see that?”

The city intends to discuss the issue through labor management negotiations before proceeding with any seeking of bids on contract mowing. It is unclear if they’ll proceed with a one-time, test mowing from a contractor, as suggested by Bunke.

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Hoffman Stables

Arthur (Sonny) Harris Boyum

Mon, Feb 25th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Obituaries

Arthur (Sonny) Harris Boyum Jr. 76, went to be with the Lord very peacefully February 25, 2013 with his family by his side. He was born November 16, 1936 in Rushford, Mn. to Arthur Sr. and Helen (Johnson) Boyum. He is survived by his three children J ..... 
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Nina Helen Miller

Mon, Feb 25th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Obituaries

Nina Helen Miller, 85, of Rushford, died Friday, February 22, 2013 at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in La Crosse. The ninth child of eleven siblings, Nina was born November 6, 1927 in La Crosse to Simon and Inga (Almus) Christianson. She attende ..... 
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Owl Festival a hoot for families

Fri, Feb 22nd, 2013
Posted in Rushford All

If you’re tired of winter and are chomping at the bit to get out and do something fun, mark off March 1-3 on your calendar for the International Festival of Owls in Houston, MN. While the “International” part of the name might make you think ..... 
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Raymond de Souza coming to St. Mary’s, Houston

Fri, Feb 22nd, 2013
Posted in Rushford Faith & Worship

You are cordially invited to come to St. Mary’s Catholic Church Houston to hear Raymond de Souza speak on Sunday, March 3 and March 17 starting at 6:30 PM each evening. Raymond de Souza is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Apologe ..... 
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Rushford Library hosts author

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Feb 22nd, 2013
Posted in Rushford Arts & Culture

By Kirsten Zoellner The Rushford Public Library is well-known for its on-going and varied programs. Keeping the pace going in the frigid winter, the library warms things up Tuesday, February 26 with a humorous evening with Minnesota writer Eric Dre ..... 
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Rushford looks at ambulance service needs

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Feb 15th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Government

While Rushford has a strong, viable ambulance service, other communities are not as fortunate and their need may prompt changes to the service’s coverage area. The state sets the coverage boundaries for municipal services and a lack of rural servi ..... 
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Elizabeth Colwell

Fri, Feb 15th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Obituaries

Elizabeth Ann Colwell, 80, of Rushford, Minn. died on Monday, February 11, 2013, at Winona Health in Winona, Minn. Elizabeth was born on June 16, 1932, in Saratoga, Iowa to Clifford and Phyllis (Louvar) Miles. She was raised in Saratoga. After high ..... 
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Rushford opens up discussion on Highway 43 project

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Feb 8th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Government

The state has slated 2014 for a major overhaul of Highway 43 running through the heart of Rushford. According to WHKS project engineer Tim Hruska, the cooperative effort between the city and MNDoT must be done due to rapidly aging water and utility ..... 
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