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Chatfield recognizes growth opportunities

Fri, Feb 15th, 2013
Posted in Chatfield Government

City Clerk Joel Young discussed Mayo Clinic’s vision for the future at the February 11 meeting. Mayor Don Hainlen was absent.

Mayo Clinic announced recently an ambitious plan for investment in future growth. Young suggested Chatfield make plans to take advantage of the growth opportunities Mayo Clinic’s plan could offer. Communities surrounding Rochester could share in the job opportunities, housing, entertainment of an increased number of visitors, and so on. The intention is to develop a plan for the future of Chatfield. Young maintained this could have a big impact on southeast Minnesota.

Young recommended that a committee consisting of himself, city planner Kristi Clarke, Chris Giesen, and two councilors be formed to be proactive and start studying the possibilities. The EDA and the Planning Commission can gather information toward determining what kind of community we want to be twenty years from now.

Councilor Ken Jacobson recommended that they put off until the next meeting the decision on where to begin, adding that it is very important we have a plan to take advantage of whatever we can. Councilor Russ Smith agreed it was a potential boom for southeast Minnesota.

In the Planning and Zoning Commission’s annual report presented by Kristi Clarke, the fact that the city had issued permits for four new single-family homes was highlighted, especially since there had been no new construction of single-family homes in 2011. Of the 145 total single family lots, 77 have been sold, leaving 68 lots available.

Other Business In Brief

•Tim Gossman and Jenny Bradt requested $2,000 be appropriated for the Lost Creek Hiking Trail. Bradt highlighted events over the last year. The funding is to be used for a trail register and donation stand at the Ninebark Trailhead, landowner liability insurance, additional trail signage, website maintenance, and advertising. Additional expenses will be covered by donations and memberships. A grant has been applied for through the Fillmore County SWCD for erosion control.

•Bradt expressed gratitude for the landowners who allow the trail to cross their property. Smith and councilor Robert Pederson noted the value of the trail for the community. In 2012 the trail funding consisted of $2,000 from the city of Chatfield, $1,578 from memberships and donations, and $250 from the Chatfield Firefighters Grant. There are currently 14 active members that donate time and energy to maintain the trail. The $2,000 appropriation was approved as recommended by the Park and Recreation Committee.

•Councilor Paul Novotny reported there was a discussion at the Public Works Committee about downtown tree removal. The council gave the go ahead to have the trees removed and the stumps ground down. Novotny said by May or June there could be a plan on what to put back in place of the trees.

•A resolution to support the preservation of tax exempt financing was adopted. Young explained the city finances improvements with federally tax exempt bonds. Purchasers of these bonds are not required to pay federal tax on the interest earned. At this time there are proposals at the federal level which could alter the federal tax exemption on municipal bonds. If this tax exemption were eliminated it would increase the interest rates or borrowing cost of future municipal bonds. Young estimated that the elimination of the tax exemption could increase total interest costs for the city on future bonds as much as $80,000 per year.

The resolution in opposition to the effort to eliminate or limit the federal tax exemption will be sent to Representative Tim Walz, and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.

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