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Input on proposed Rushford Village street improvements

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Aug 9th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Village Government

By Kirsten Zoellner

Ten residents turned out at the August 6 public hearing regarding proposed 15-year, general obligation bonding for several street improvement projects. The proposed bonding could be up to $550,000, but not exceeding, and would likely be funding through Minnesota Rural Water. Original consideration to get all needed street work done, which includes resurfacing and paving of heavily travelled roads, amounted to $3.25 million, but the council quickly dismissed a plan of that magnitude. Instead, the council selected 14 potential street areas.

Portions or all of Cooperative Way, Whitemore, Prospect, West Goodrich, Plummer, East Goodrich, Meadow, Aspen, Village Drive, Money Creek, Nordic Road, Ridgeview, and Highway 43 to Laura Lane are being considered. The largest allotment, $187,200, is for the paving of heavily traveled County Line Road from Highway 43 to Laura Lane. The paving is considerably more because rather than put a standard asphalt coating on the road, it has been recommended that the city opt for four inches of asphalt over a crushed rock base, alleviating the potential issue of heavy road use wearing a standard road covering out too quickly.

Largely, the biggest direction from those in attendance came in reference to the road segment along County Line Road to Laura Lane. “Why end it at Laura Lane?” asked resident Todd Ludd. “Why not go to the bridge? It’s only an additional four-tenths of a mile.” It was estimated that the short segment of road would cost $125,000 to pave. However, residents pointed out undeveloped land in the area which would benefit should another subdivision be added to McNamer property.

“We need to do this in steps and stages, but we need to start somewhere,” responded Johnson. “We don’t know how to spend that level of money. We don’t spend this level of money. We’re a pretty conservative bunch. That’s why we need your input.”

The average tax increase, based on a $125,000 residence, should the entire $550,000 be bonded, would be roughly $60 in annual taxes. “Blacktop costs are going up tremendously and interest rates, while going up, are at historic lows. We thought, why not take a look at what the project would do while it’s at a reasonable level. It’s your money we’re spending, so we need your input,” said Mayor Dale Schwanke.

“One of our main considerations,” added Johnson, “Is that there is a certain amount of maintenance and grading, and crushed rock to keep the streets as drivable. We weighed these recommendations against the amount of invested maintenance.”

Should the timetable coordinate, with asphalt work being done on Highway 16 in Rushford, Minn., it may still be possible for the city to get the majority of work done this fall. However, it was suggested that perhaps if the sign the agreement this year, but wait until spring to do the work, further cost savings could be seen. “Our biggest enemy is time,” added Schwanke.

Residents Lund, John and Deb Bruihler, Craig Dittman, Josh Rasmussen, Dean and Yvonne Stoa, and Jeremy Tesch all seemed to find favor with an alternative to see a $100,000 project reduction elsewhere, including savings in engineering, administration, and finance costs, or possibly use of further cash reserves to extend the paving of County Line Road past Laura Lane to the bridge. Public Works and Maintenance Director Bob Theiret noted their concern of two areas on the road which need to be addressed. They include poor drainage and at sometimes, safety with occasional impassibility. The areas could be remedied with paving to the bridge.

The council will be conducted a road tour of proposed streets on Tuesday, August 13. Once roads are selected, Bubany will work out the numbers to present the city with a detailed plan and financing application. The council will likely vote on the issue at the next council meeting.

Limited in statutory authority, but street reconstruction authority allows the city more flexibility in paying for the project. There would still be some limitations, however, including a required unanimous vote by the council. Bubany indicated that the project would not exceed the city’s debt capacity, which is calculated as three percent of the total market value, or in this case, $104,659,300. It is also proposed that the city use an additional $20,000 of cash reserves to address parking and/or widening issues, which are not eligible to be funding with proceeds of street improvement bonds.

“Seriously, I think it’s great you’re spending some money. Do it right,” added Bruihler.

The plans for including north and south White Tail Roe in the street improvement has been put aside for now, according to Johnson. “We’ve hit a snag.” A resident petition could still be presented for the city to do the road, but it would need 100 percent property owner agreement as it would be paid for with assessments.

The next council meeting is Tuesday, August 20, at 7p.m., at the Village Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.


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3:36:58, Aug 11th 2013

FYI says:
The total market value of the Village properties is $104M. The debt capacity is 3 percent of that, or about $3.1M.

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