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Rushford City Council Report: Focus on CGMC Fall conference

Fri, Nov 17th, 2006
Posted in Government

City Administrator Windy Block and Mayor Les Ladewig enthusiastically reported on their recent experiences at the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities Fall conference during the regular Rushford City Council meeting November 13. Block shared the printouts from a power point presentation detailing the effects of the recent elections on the party balances in the Minnesota House. With the largest difference in numbers in the last ten years (85 DFL and only 49 GOP representatives) in the Minnesota house, political experts expect less compromise; better results are obtained when the numbers are closer. There are now 43 women in the house, the highest number in ten years; the experts see this as a positive. The GOP caucus is actually more oriented to greater Minnesota with a 51 percent majority; the DFL caucus has only 44 percent greater Minnesota with the rest split between urban and suburban representation.

Ladewig shared the 2007 lobbying cards produced by the CGMC. Color-coded, the cards focused on the four areas the CGMC plans to work on in 2007-property taxes/LGA, annexation, environment, and transportation. CGMC plans to ask the legislature to restore $100 million to the LGA program to bring funding back to 2003 levels. The lobbying cards give information and answers to help respond to opposition.

CGMC's stance on annexation is that annexation should occur before development happens, thus keeping expenses down. It urges streamlining the process and the passage of legislation "to promote better land use and zoning by stopping urban and suburban development in townships."

CGMC supports funding of the Clean Water Legacy Act and the city infrastructure to comply with the Total Maximum Daily Load clean up plans. It opposes the arbitrary phosphorous limits, asking that decisions be made based on science rather than "administrative convenience."

Transportation priorities of the CGMC include increasing gas tax by five cents a gallon and increasing revenue from tab fees. CGMC wants to keep funding for highways at sixty percent of MVST revenue and stop an increase in metro transit funding.

Ladewig encouraged the council to keep their lobbying cards and use them when talking to legislators so they can get their points across. He closed by saying, "It was an interesting and informative 2 1?2 days. You get to talk to people from all over the state." He noted that many other cities suffer from the same issues as Rushford.

Block added that it was good to get out of Rushford and talk to people who may have already dealt with similar problems. He believes that "some new ideas and solutions will certainly find their way back to Rushford" as a result of attending such conferences.

Water projects

Block reported Blitz Construction had completed the water line installation in Larson Park and were working on the sewer line there. The Harry Street water main reconstruction is scheduled for the week of Thanksgiving. Council member Nancy Benson asked if there was a way to encourage residents on the street to hook up to city water. There are currently several homes on the street not on city water. Benson pointed out additional users would increase water flow, which, in turn, would result in better water quality for all. City Clerk Kathy Zacher noted laterals were to be installed up to the properties to enable hooking up those residences in the future, but that, at this time, there was no policy forcing homeowners to hook up. Ladewig suggested the possibility of some type of incentive. The council decided to give the matter some thought; the current city policy could be changed in the future.

Other business

In other business the council:

• set a public hearing on the vacation of a portion of Walnut Street (adjacent to the Ron Eide estate) for November 27;

• passed a resolution requesting the state legislature to increase Regional Library Basic Support (this has not seen an increase for over ten years);

• granted an exemption from lawful gambling license to the Rushford Lion's Club for it's annual fund raising events;

• okayed the Get Broadband project coordinator agreement; coordinator Lisa Lawston will be paid $20 per hour on a monthly basis. Funding for the position will come from the grant; $10,000 is currently budgeted for the salary.

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