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Rushford City Council reacts to Tri-City meeting

Fri, Jun 1st, 2007
Posted in Government

RUSHFORD - The Rushford City Council spent a good share of its meeting May 29 discussing the recent Tri-City meeting and, more specifically, the police protection for Rushford Village. After affirming the council consensus that more meetings between the cities were needed, they discussed at length the police issue. Ultimately, the council decided to send a letter to Rushford Village (CRV) clarifying their stance on the termination of the old police agreement. In a previous certified letter, the city of Rushford had notified CRV that the agreement would be terminated thirty days after the receipt of the letter (June 22), but that Rushford wanted to sit down and negotiate a new agreement. At the Tri-City meeting, a CRV council member had asked if an extension was possible. A Rushford council member had responded that nothing was written in stone. This, however, was not the granting of such an extension. The Rushford Council felt a clarification to CRV was necessary.

Any requests for extension of that time period will need to be received in writing before the June 11 Rushford Council meeting for consideration at that meeting. The clarification letter will be hand delivered by city staff since the previous certified letter hadn't been signed for or picked up for over a week. Although the council considered an additional fee for extended police service, they decided against it, but will remain firm on allowing only a single thirty day extension if so requested by the CRV. Mayor Les Ladewig declared, "The onus is on them (CRV)."

In the meantime, staff has been directed to prepare numbers and information for possible negotiations on the issue. City administrator Windy Block reminded the council CRV needed to decide what amount of police protection they wanted. Mayor Ladewig assured the council, "No emergencies will go untended (during negotiations)."

CRV residents Daryl and PJ Thompson attended the meeting to repeat that they, as Rushford Village residents, would like to see more police presence in the village. Daryl commented, "I spend money for a lot of things I want, and I want police protection. I know we're not alone (in wanting more police protection)." He also informed the council a petition had been started in the village concerning the issue.

New businesses

Richard Holle visited the council meeting in part to inform the council about a new business he's starting. Holle has renovated five rooms in the building he owns downtown and plans to open Rushford Inn. Guests will receive a meal ticket valid at Stumpy's for breakfast. Holle reported that CMS had given the building the go ahead that very day. After describing his new business and inviting the council to stop in for a tour, Holle closed by commenting on the positive note of the Tri-City meeting and expressing his optimism about the cities cooperating and coming to an equitable agreement on issues such as police protection.

City administrator Block had news about another possible business in Rushford. Three young entrepreneurs have offered to rent the former Dreamin' Horses building now owned by the city. Part of a band, the young men hope to create a recording studio in the building as well as using it for a practice location and housing. Block reported that their intention is to practice in the basement and that they will be hanging sound proofing material to cut the sound. Asking for the council's feelings on the idea, Block said he was "willing to take a chance on these people." Council member Nancy Benson spoke for the council as she told Block to encourage the young men, noting it would be good to see the empty building filled. While the goal of the entrepreneurs is to have the recording studio as a public business, they currently hold full-time jobs as well. City attorney Terry Chiglo has drawn up a preliminary draft rental agreement; rent would be in the $300-$400 range.

Assessment policy

The planning commission has spent considerable time ironing out an assessment policy to "facilitate infrastructure improvements for replacement of existing public facilities." Block explained that the intention was to find a way to keep the "core" of the city in good shape and revitalize it. Affected property owners could initiate public improvements with a petition signed by 35 percent of the owners; city council would continue to be able to start such improvements. The policy would state the percentages of such improvements to be paid by the property owners for each type of project. For example, 25% of reconstructing urban streets would be the property owner's share with the city covering 75%. Sidewalk expenses, sanitary sewer, and water main improvements would be shared 50/50 while storm sewers would remain totally the city's expense.

A hearing date has been set for August 13 for public input. Mayor Ladewig commended the commission's work, declaring it important that the city "become more proactive rather than reactive."

Other business

In other business the council:

• rescinded a motion originally passed July 25, 2005 to allow access from the city into the village for the Sexhauer White Pines Subdivision; since no agreement has been reached in over 22 months-Sexhauer would need to start over with the process if he so desires;

• approved an FBO agreement with Mike Thern to provide him with two hangars at the airport free of charge (valued at about $2,400 per year); Thern will continue offering flight training and marketing the building of new hangars to increase airport usage;

• met new police officer Steven Thomas Garrett. A small town boy from Lansing, Iowa, Garrett sold cars for a few years before deciding to attend law enforcement classes in Rochester and graduating from the program in December. He called the people of Rushford helpful and friendly, commenting that he enjoys being back in a small town.

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