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Blackduck City Council plows through agenda

The Blackduck City Council met Oct. 5 with a lengthy agenda and a larger than normal crowd.

The meeting began fast with the consent agenda being approved. The agenda included approving the minutes from the last meeting and Resolution 2009-14.

In keeping with the fast paced meeting, the council then heard from City Administrator Karin Elhard in regards to her and City Maintenance Supervisor Bob Klug Jr. speaking to the fourth grade teachers about groundwater and drinking water.

Elhard explained that they had received the educational information packet from the Minnesota Rural Water Association to present to the teachers who will in turn, present to the students. It is the hope of the MRWA that the city will help educate the community youth about the importance and value of drinking water resources.

The bills and fund balances were then presented to the council for approval. Following a short discussion on the approval of Resolution 2009-13, the council approved the bills.

Next on the agenda was the bond pre-sale report by Ehlers financial advisor Shelly Eldridge.

She explained to the council that this pre sale report was for $340,000 general obligation sewer and water revenue refunding bonds, series 2009.

By refunding these bonds, she explained, the city would be saving money.

"Based on projected interest rates of 1.15 to 3.85 percent, the future value savings of the refunding, including any contribution, is expected to be around $20,000," she said."The present value savings is approximately $15,500."

In order to obtain the lowest interest cost to the city, Ehlers will solicit competitive bids to purchase the bonds from local banks in the area and regional underwriters.

If the council approves the refunding bond sale, she will come back to the council Nov. 2 for the award sale of the bonds. The council approved the bond sale.

Eldridge then presented to the council, the Tax Increment Financing 1-6 amendments.

After much discussion, the council agreed to approve the development agreement between the city and Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation.

"We have used TIF very well on buildings and expansion," said councilmember Kevin Beck.

Steve Cochems went before the council with the youth center project, asking the council for the city's support in this endeavor.

Cochems handed out a packet of information on the proposed project before launching into an explanation was to what the committee would be needing from the city.

He explained that they would be needing the city's support as well as a representative from the council to be on the committee.

The youth center committee would like to see the center close to the school

"We would like to see the kids be able to use the center Mondays as there is no longer school that day," he said. "They would have a nice, safe place to come to when the weather was bad or during the winter if they had to wait for late rides."

"Exactly what is it you want from the city?" asked Beck. "The city wouldn't be able to provide funding but would be willing to become a partner." he said.

"I agree with Kevin (Beck)," said Mayor Scott Palmer. "We can't give you any funding but what else could we give you?"

"The city's part would be its knowledge and expertise on zoning, costs, liability insurance," explained Cochems. "We have a goal that by the end of March, we hope to identify costs and then fund some funding agents to see about getting funding," Cochems said.

Cochems mentioned that they would like to know more about the Blackduck Area Senior Center and how it is kept going. The council agreed that the senior center would be a good place to obtain information on how it is kept going.

Following a short discussion, Mayor Palmer asked if Elhard would be willing to be the city's representative to the youth center committee. She agreed.

The next item up for discussion was the bike trail voucher from Garit Hanson.

"What is this for?" questioned Beck.

"It's for supplement agreements 1, 2 and 3," Elhard explained. Beck questioned exactly what were these three agreements as the items in questions weren't noted in the voucher from Hanson.

"I don't think we have those yet," said Elhard.

"Some of the supplements are for signing, fencing, salvage of the concrete apron, dozer time and aggregate and class 5 gravel," Klug said.

"What if we don't know what these supplements are, how can we be expected to pay this?" Beck asked.

The council looked over a note that Hanson had sent to the city concerning the pricing for the work delay in getting the wetland permit.

Klug said he and Elhard had gone over the project manual from Northern Engineering and Consulting, Inc.

According to the manual, "The contractor is responsible for all permits that are necessary to complete the work."

"This is a non-issue for the council," Beck said. "The city is not obligated to pay this as the contractor is responsible for all the permits," he said.

The council agreed and with that, Beck made the motion to deny payment on the voucher. Beck also made the motion to table the voucher issue until the rest of the supplements are in. Both motions were unanimously approved.

There was a short discussion on the recycling dumpsters. Waste Management of Bemidji has told the city that unless another suitable place can be found for the recycling dumpsters, they would be removed from the city.

Klug said he didn't know of any suitable place.

"I really would hate to see us lose those dumpsters," Beck said. "They are really used alot."

Everyone agreed that it would be worthwhile to pursue finding another place for the dumpsters to reside.

Klug gave his report on the routine inspection report the city received from the Minnesota Department of Health.

He told the council that the report stated that there were no deficiencies observed in the water storage nor were there any in the pumps or pump facilities and controls.

There was a recommendation that the chemicals be stored in a separate room and vented to the outside.

The report also recommended that the city should institute a system of permits and inspections to enforce the Minnesota Plumbing Code.

The last item to have action taken on it was the sale of some computer equipment that the city owns. Elhard was given the go ahead to sell the old equipment before the meeting was adjourned.