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Determined Rushford Village works out solutions

Fri, Jan 22nd, 2010
Posted in Progress Edition

Starting out with a definite list of determined goals, the city of Rushford Village made ample progress during the course of last year. According to City Clerk Joyce Iverson there are still some matters which are progressing forward, but not yet at a completed state.

The most notable item challenging the Village was radium within the south Rushford water supply. Various methods for removal were discussed by both council and community at length with expense, waste, service, and maintenance headlining the list of concerns. Early on, it was decided that the Village would move forward with a pilot program from Envirogen Technologies, Inc., formerly Basin Water, to further determine the best course of action.

Prior to the implementation of the study, WHKS & Co. provided a review on courses of and probable costs for pressure filtration and absorption type systems, including an estimated cost of construction for a water treatment facility. The package plant (surface water discharge type) would be an estimated $1.3 million. The facility itself would cost approximately $700,000.

One of the most prominent concerns revolved around asking Rushford to accept an additional amount of backwashing for some of treatment. There would also be the waste of this water, an extra expense in the pumping, and some chemicals used in some of the certain treatments. Keeping the radium out of the water entirely became a main focus and the decision to conduct the pilot study, in avoidance of these potential issues, became even more important.

As a fourth alternative, the Village began consideration of the purchase of water from the city of Rushford. Minnesota Rural Water helped to facilitate this option. In the meantime, feasible funding from either the US Department of Agriculture or the Minnesota Department of Health Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund was examined.

Often consuming discussion throughout the year, the city is still contemplating which presented option is most feasible for the community. The deadline projected for radium compliance is June 2011.

Another major project for the Village has been the structuring of Cooperative Way on which the new Tri-County Electric Cooperative headquarters is situated. One issue of contention was deferment of taxes through the Green Acres Program in regards to property assessment. As long as the property was in agricultural use, deferment would continue, but any improvement would trigger assessment payments.

Assessment adjustments were requested, but the city was suspicious of motives, noting a desire by the complainant to have a hook-up fee. A proposed agreement and amended resolution bound the council to underwrite and refund any payment if the state rules to collect. It was also determined that the the security of the assessment be maintained as hook-up fees can be wiped out by a bankruptcy. In addition, Minnesota statutes require an assessment of 20 percent of the project.

In yet another hiccup, the Village encountered issues with Tower Ridge Road, a FEMA-funded project, complete with its own set of restrictions. A two-lane road, Tower Ridge was reduced by the construction repair to roughly one and a half lanes. West end guard rails also inhibited the road's use by being installed at an improper width, limiting farm equipment use. At the time, it was not clear whether the plans had not been engineered correctly or if the construction firm had not completed it according to plans. According the construction firm, the plans had been followed as the design indicated.

Due to the issue, the Village struggled to collect $300,000 from FEMA. As a result of the confusion and road condition, including areas needing attention and poor workmanship, the final payment was held back until the issues could be addressed. The width issue is scheduled to be addressed, but the city is first awaiting the FEMA settlement. According to City Clerk Iverson, this project is still in state of progress.

In absolutely encouraging advancement for the Village, the first Habitat for Humanity home in all of Fillmore County was built in South Rushford. The project began in late spring and through community spirit and unbelievable donations and volunteerism, the home was completed by late fall with an open house in December. Due to the large success of the project, the organization is currently taking applications for a second home to be built in the community.

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