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Whalan City Council learns of fire department cost studies

Fri, Mar 14th, 2014
Posted in Whalan Government

At the February meeting of the Lanesboro Rural Fire Department, financial issues were raised that will require more research and discussion, according to the report shared at the Whalan City Council meeting on Monday, March 10.

A task force is now being formed (with representation from Lanesboro, Whalan, and local townships) to research the costs of fire department services and how those services are best and most fairly paid for, says David Todd, City Administrator in Lanesboro, and an organizer of that task force. (Local townships include Holt, Amherst, Carlton, Arndahl, Preble and Norway).

“Whalan, the other townships, and Lanesboro, need information on how other jurisdictions go about this process,” says Todd. “We want to make sure that an equitable system is in place. Right now there is a verbal contract for services with our Volunteer Fire Department, with service costs shared by Lanesboro, Whalan and the townships. Our task force will do research on those questions and will share that information before any decisions or proposals are made.”

A tentative date of June 19, 2014, is set for the first meeting of that task force, the beginning of a process that is expected to take some time to complete.

“Everything is purely informational at this point,” said Todd. “Any changes to budget costs for any town or township involved would not be decided upon until the 2015 budget year.”

Other business

A recent arrest that took place in the town of Whalan has incurred legal costs of $587 to the city, an amount that will be reimbursed at the completion of upcoming court proceedings.

Local residents who want to question recent property tax assessments in Whalan are invited to talk to representatives of the Board of Appeal & Equalization at the Fillmore County Assessor’s Office in Preston next month. Available dates for the board are April 21-24, and the times are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Council approved a donation of $400 for the 2014 Stand Still Parade, the same amount that had been donated for last year’s parade. Whalan’s well-known parade takes place this year on Saturday, May 17.

The “Taste of the Trail Committee”—including local residents Jerri Gustavson and Lolly Melander—met last Monday to discuss Rochester’s “Destination Medical Center” initiative. The Mayo Clinic—in close partnership with Rochester—is developing plans (with major state-funded support) to create tourist activities, services and destinations throughout southeastern Minnesota, plans that could include Bluff Country towns like Whalan.

“Our meeting gave us an opportunity to brainstorm about ideas that would encourage Rochester and Mayo visitors to travel to our area,” says Committee member Gustavson. “Much of our discussion focused on transportation needs—how will people get here and then back to Rochester in ways that will work for them, given their medical appointment schedules. Some people come to the Clinic for a day, or several days, or perhaps a weekend. We talked about many ideas, and will have more discussion on this topic in the future.”

The next meeting of the Trail Town Committee will be held in Chatfield, Minn. on April 7 at 10 a.m.

There will be a Pancake breakfast in Whalan on Sunday, April 6, with proceeds going to support Whalan’s Taste of the Trail event in September. The breakfast will be held in the Whalan Town Hall from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is $8 for adults, $5 for children over 6. Children under 5 years old are free. All are welcome!

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