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Rushford City Council Report: Rushford generators selected; site approval next step


Fri, Sep 12th, 2003
Posted in Features

Richard Fogal, chairman of the Electric Commission, presented the Commission’s recommendation to accept the Ziegler bid to the Rushford City Council at their meeting September 8. Ziegler’s (Caterpillar) bid was $43,000 less than their previous bid and was lower than the other bidders as well. The total Ziegler bid came in at $1,118,954.

The council was hesitant to accept the bid since the site and its related costs have not yet been definitively decided, and the MPCA has not yet permitted the site.

Steve Schreurs, of Associated Engineering, assured the council that the MPCA approval was most likely. According to Schreurs, the MPCA would probably not require an Environmental Impact Study. MPCA is concerned more with emissions than storm water drain-off, leaving that to the local government to monitor.

The DNR, Fish and Game, and the Historical Society have been contacted for their input on the current Winona Street site. The city attorney will review the conditional use permit for the site since a portion of the site (the access road) will be in the Bluff Impact Zone.

Currently, the city has no estimated costs on the first choice Winona Street site or on the access road to the proposed site. Pointing out that the city was not locked into any of the sites yet, Mayor T. S. Roberton asked the Ziegler representative if the bid could be accepted contingent on MPCA approval and a final selection of a suitable site. The response was that fifty to seventy-five percent of their contracts were contingent on something. Zielger’s rep assured the council there would be no financial penalty unless the project had been released for construction; the generators will not be ordered until the site is set. Since the contract has not been drawn up yet, contingencies can be included as needed.

With that assurance, the council approved acceptance of the bid contingent on MPCA approval and final site selection and gave the go ahead to continue with cost estimates for the Winona Street site.

Equestrian Trail

K.C. Saxon appeared before the council to ask permission to use a city-owned ponding area near the former Mobil station as the ending point for a proposed Houston to Rushford equestrian trail. The trail would run parallel to the bike trail for much of the time, have a water crossing at Rush Creek and cross the dike on the existing roadway to “The Point” (where Rush Creek meets the Root River).

Saxon stressed that she was not asking for any monetary commitment, declaring, “What we need is nothing!” She stated that most horse owners bring water along for their horses and clean up after the horses. Saxon and her group would be responsible for obtaining all necessary permits and permission from landowners. Financing might come in part from the DNR with volunteers helping to build the trail.

Emphasizing that no permanent building of any kind was necessary, Saxon informed the council she felt this was a “huge opportunity to increase tourism” locally with a totally different clientele than the bike trail attracts. Saxon said the goal is to get started soon so the trail could be used this winter, assuring the council this would be a year round trail.

The council decided to clear the plans with the Public Works Department before making a decision and assured Saxon a decision would be made at the next council meeting.

Other business

In other business the council:

• Approved rezoning and granted a variance to Jim and Greg Norstad for the construction of two twin homes in the Northland subdivision;

• Heard the library report that internet usage has increased, internet filtering will be put into place, and the proposed 2004 budget will be held to no increase overall;

• Opted to put bus stop signs near the intersection of North Street and Prairie Street, but refused a request from R-P Schools to create a four-way stop;

• Heard the city administrator’s recommendation for a maximum levy increase of 10.4 percent ($586,780 proposed 2004 levy);

• Accepted the recommendation from Mike Wish of Dairyland Power to register with MISO (Midwest Independent System Operator). As a result of registering, the city will get “financial transmission rights” which will offset congestion charges for electrical transmission service under a newly proposed “standard market design” for electric transmission.

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