Not terribly surprisingly, Rushford Village Mayor Gordon Johnson expressed disappointment at the handling of recent council action in the City of Rushford.
At the November 13 meeting, the Rushford Council approved a study of a piece of property owned by Lorraine Woxland, abutting Rushford borders, which is situated within the City of Rushford Village’s jurisdiction. The study is aimed at determining conceptual planning for residential development with further intent on reviewing Rushford zoning and estimates to provide utilities to the area. The study is being done with landowner permission and is being paid for by the City of Rushford.
It was noted the estimates will not include opinions or costs related to any annexation proceedings, but it was the communication piece which concernd Rushford Councilor Vern Bunke at the time of the study’s passing. In answering Bunke’s questions, Rushford City Administrator Tony Chladek had acknowledged that the City of Rushford Village had been made aware of the study plans, but would be, by email and phone, if the council approved it. Bunke argued that communication should be made prior to council action, noting that past situations were poorly communicated and that this was setting the city up for a communication misstep.
Rushford Village Mayor Johnson indicated he had received an email from the City of Rushford Administrator, but that no call was ever made. Furthermore, he stated he replied to the email, but never received any response from it. Johnson presented copies of the email.
“It surprised me,” said Johnson. “What’s more difficult than anything else is the discussion at their city council meeting. They can do what they want, when they want, how they want, but a common courtesy goes a long way.”
Johnson also expressed frustration with Rushford Mayor Chris Hallum’s November 13 statement asserting he had learned from his mistakes. “I’m not sure; learned from mistakes, but continue to turn around and do it again.”
“I don’t want to make it sound like I’m anti-Rushford,” continued Johnson. “We’ve always worked something out. The disappointing part is that it doesn’t matter to them. We suggested working together. The last time they took land from the Village, they put up a building that stood empty for eight years. It was preliminarily platted for housing. They have two buildings and a pond,” he added, referring to the Himlie Business Park, which sits on the north end of Rushford’s limits.
Johnson further indicated that what the City of Rushford is proposing to do is exactly what the Village is looking at doing. “It’s in the works.”
“These cities need to take the opportunity to work together; to do something constructively, but we have to try a little bit,” concluded Johnson.
In other news, the Village was made aware of a 94-acre land purchase that’s underway between Dan Ryan and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Sportsman’s clubs have additionally contributed to the matching portion of the Conservation Partners Legacy Grant. The Village has no official action that needs to be taken, but Fillmore County must approve the sale, due to taxing rules. Prior to coming before the county, it’s advised the sale is discussed with the local municipality.
Speeding in south Rushford is an issue and local residents have complained to the city. Clerk Mary Miner was directed to make contact with Fillmore County regarding the issue. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to try and document license plate numbers of speeding vehicles.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Tuesday, December 5, at 7 p.m., at the Village Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.