On February 7, the Brownsville City Council held a special meeting prior to the regular city council meeting regarding the $600,000 Small Cities Development Grant.
Mayor Jean Meyer called the special meeting to order at 7 p.m. and reviewed the Small Cities Development Grant prior to opening the floor for comments. She explained that the city is planning on to apply for this grant. If awarded, the funds would allow the town to update the city’s wastewater treatment plant which is over 30 years old. The mayor stressed that there is not a fund to maintain the plant so any repairs to the treatment plant must be paid from the city’s debt service.
The mayor emphasized the importance of Brownsville residents completing and returning the two-question survey that the city mailed out last week. In order to be eligible for the grant, the city must prove that 51% or more of the people in the community are low- to moderate-income. As of Wednesday, 228 surveys have been returned but 61 more surveys are needed before the deadline.
Brownsville homeowners are encouraged to return the survey to the city by Friday, February 9.
“If we do get this grant, it is a huge help to us as a city because there’s not many times where $600,000 is available to you,” explained Meyer. “When those opportunities come it is something that we should be looking at.”
The regularly scheduled meeting was then called to order at 7:34 p.m.
Council members in attendance included Barb Hurley, Pam Walhovd, Mayor Jean Meyer, William (Bill) Fitzpatrick and Tim Klug. Staff in attendance included City Clerk Steve Schuldt, City Treasurer Jenna Knight, City Maintenance Dean Twite, and Brownsville Fire Department Brandon Frank. There were also approximately 10 residents in attendance.
Before approving the agenda, the council tabled the public safety aid discussion until the March meeting and added a request from Councilor Klug that was added to the agenda. It was decided that Councilor Hurley request to reopen the discussion on the state flag would be added to the March agenda instead of the February meeting agenda. The council approved the minutes from the January 3 council meeting as amended, and the claims list.
The council voted three to two to put off indefinitely Mayor Meyer’s request to conduct a comprehensive planning survey. In answer to Councilwoman Walhovd’s question if there was a pressing matter why the survey should be done sooner than later, Mayor Jean Meyer explained, “One of the reasons you do a comprehensive planning survey is to find out from your citizens what is important to them.”
Councilman Klug made a motion to have “the town’s city clerk inform our state representatives in writing of our desire that the state remains on traditional time and ceases the practice of applying day light saving time to our clock.” The motion died for a lack of a second.
Klug’s request to prioritize the purchase of a generator for the community center also died for a lack of a second.
In other business the council:
• Approved the staff wages, Sunday liquor license fee, ballpark rental fee, and sewer fee increases.
• Approved a building permit for Pat Bolduan to build a 525-square-foot addition that will include a master bedroom and living room with a crawl space underneath.
• Proclaimed 2024 as the Year of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.
• Approved applying for a Publicly Owned Housing forgivable loan to finance the rehabilitation of the city-owned Bluff View Manor. The interest rate is 0% for 20 years and then the loan is forgiven.
• Adjourned the meeting at 9:26 p.m.
The next regularly scheduled Brownsville City Council meeting will take place at city hall, 104 6th St., Brownsville, on Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend.