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Rushford City Council Report: Business subsidy agreement approved

Fri, May 18th, 2007
Posted in Government

Quietly, calmly, the business subsidy agreement between RiverBend Electronics and the city of Rushford was approved at the regular Rushford City Council meeting May 14, making RiverBend officially eligible for JOBZ benefits. After a public hearing was opened and closed with no public input, City Administrator Windy Block explained the JOBZ deal evaluator provided by DEED via the Internet that had been used to assess the deal. According to Block, the deal's final project rating was 450 out of a possible 550 points. The average hourly rate of pay for the jobs at the business will be $10 with RiverBend investing $750,000 in real property and $1,250,000 in personal property (equipment, etc.). RiverBend will be investing "well above what most businesses would put into (such a venture)." The community weighed the new added jobs for the community at 25 points, higher than the DEED default rating of 10, because the loss of jobs due to the TRW closing had impacted the city so much.

The RiverBend project was rated above the standard for having more than 50 percent of its sales outside of Minnesota (actually 75.7 percent) as well as for increasing the property tax base of the city (7.25 percent vs. the standard five percent) and for the large capital investment of $31,250 per worker vs. the standard $10,181.

Rodney Allen, RiverBend's special projects engineer, addressed the council, "We appreciate everything the community has done to welcome us." He continued to inform the council the fledgling company already had its first order and he planned to go to John Deere the following day to sell to them.

Roger Metz, speaking as an EDA member, enthused, "It's great for Rushford!"

Council member Nancy Benson added, "I think it's going to be a real plus for our community!"

Block, answering the question, "What are the benefits worth?" told the council it was "fair to say somewhere between a half a million and three-quarters of a million over the agreement's lifetime. He quickly added that the community would realize much more benefit from the agreement.

Mayor Les Ladewig extended thanks to Block and to the attorneys from both sides for the many hours they'd worked to bring the agreement to fruition.

Police and pool sharing costs

The police agreement with Rushford Village was dusted off and examined by the council. Signed in 2003, the contract stated that the Village would pay $1,000 a year for police officer response and the contract would remain in effect unless written notice was given by either party terminating the agreement. The agreement would then be terminated thirty days after the notification.

With the current budget for police services in Rushford at $224,000, the council felt it was time to reevaluate the agreement. Unanimously, the council decided to send a certified, return receipt requested, letter to the Village notifying them that they want to terminate the current agreement and renegotiate and/or modify it. The council felt it was important to provide such notice at this time because a Tri-City meeting has been scheduled for May 22nd at 7 p.m. at the Tenborg Center.

City Clerk Kathy Zacher explained the resident and non-resident pool rates as they were presented at the summer rec sign-up held the previous weekend. With net operating costs of the pool at $22,138 for 2006, area townships and cities were asked to pay a participation fee based on the percentage of their residents using the pool and its programs. If the entities paid such a fee, their residents would qualify for "resident" rate. Only Money Creek Township was eligible for the resident rates as of May 12th. While some entities claim to have contributed to the 1996 renovation of the pool, 91 percent of the $567,000 cost was covered by the city of Rushford (only 9 percent was from other donations). Those donations went for construction costs and do not help fund yearly operational costs.

Other business

In other business the council:

• okayed blocking a portion of the city street near Stumpy's for motorcycle parking during a "Big Bikes for Little Tikes" rally May 19 benefiting a cancer patient;

• vacated a portion of a utility easement on Roger Byboth property;

• approved a variance request for a garage construction on the Clifford Hallum property;

• approved a request from RiverSide to build a fenced in air conditioner unit on the east side of their building;

• adopted 2007 campground rates-$25 for sites with electricity, water, and sewer; $10 for tent site;

• acknowledged contributions of $1,000 for the summer rec program and $500 for flower basket expenses from the R-P Booster Club.

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