Rushford Village Council has made it clear: the Village Hall is not a commercial property for rent. Inquiries in 2016 and again this year led to several discussions about repeat rental of the community center space, specifically long-term rental.
“We’re not set up for that, on a regular basis,” cautioned Councilor Dennis Overland. “There are other places for rent for those purposes.”
As it currently stands, the hall may be rented up to one year in advance by any party. Rental waivers must be signed, for liability, and a nominal fee paid. Some small businesses and groups have sought to rent the space weekly or for large blocks of time. The most recent inquiries asked to rent the space once a week for a year and another group every Sunday in November.
While Clerk Mary Miner felt the parties would be easy to work with, the council was concerned with repeat rental affecting the ability of residents to rent the space for private parties or special events.
“If someone is renting it every week, it takes away the opportunity for others to utilize it,” said Mayor Gordon Johnson. “This is a community service. How do we best manage it?”
It was suggested that parties simply contact the Village weekly or monthly to inquire about rental dates, but Overland, referring to earlier talks on the topic, reminded the council that they’d wanted to get away from long-term rental.
“If long-term, it’s better if they find someplace else,” added Overland. “We’re not designed for repeat customers, but for community events.”
City Attorney Tom Manion also cautioned against it, noting that problems had arisen in other municipalities. Manion indicated that renters can understand the long-term rental as a contract, which can bring problems stemming from expectations and termination of the rental. Additionally, it can create problems of special treatment. “You may want a policy that’s consistent so you don’t get, ‘Why’d you let them? You’re discriminating against me,’” he warned.
It’s expected a policy will be drafted and brought forth for approval at a later date.
The council has also approved the appointment of Mayor Johnson and Councilor Overland to the Economic Development Authority (EDA) Committee. The city set up an EDA and a revolving loan fund several years ago, but to date nothing has been done with it. “We’re not actively doing anything,” said Overland. “There’s money in the revolving loan fund. We need to try to resume and see what we can do.”
Clerk Miner and Public Works Supervisor Travis Scheck recently attended a meeting put on by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The informational meeting was the first to begin discussion between entities regarding the proposed work on Highway 43 and Highway 30, both of which funnel into the Village.
MnDOT is projecting that Highway 43, from Mabel to Rushford, and Highway 30, from Chatfield to Rushford, will both see mill and overlay in 2023 and 2022, respectively. The topic of culverts in the state right-of-way along Highway 43 in south Rushford was noted, but the state has no current plans to do culvert work. Along Highway 30, however, yellow liners, described as similar to a cast, are being placed in the ditches. Councilor Chad Rasmussen, a MnDOT employee, noted that the liners have a long life span and he believed they were warrantied perhaps up to 100 years. More information will be coming as the project moves closer.
Lastly, the council was notified of two dust control applications that were presented to the city for reimbursement. Neither party notified the city of the work. Under city policy, residents wanting reimbursement must contact the city prior to dust control applications. Reimbursements are limited to two per property.
“No one was called about it,” said Clerk Miner. The property owners indicated to Miner that the company doing the work was going to call. “That’s not the company’s responsibility,” she added.
The city will reimburse the two properties in this instance. Going forward, unless the city is notified directly, prior to application, no reimbursement will be made.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Tuesday, November 7, at 7 p.m., at the Village Hall. The public is encouraged to attend. Please note the second meeting in October has been cancelled.