Council approves EDA request for Twiford Street land acquisition
Monday, April 15, 2013 10:40 AM
Chatfield City Clerk Joel Young updated the city council on a request made by the Chatfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) to acquire two parcels of land within the proposed Twiford Street Redevelopment Area during its meeting last Monday evening, April 8.
He shared both property owners are willing to sell the parcels, which would then be sold to private business groups. The acquisition of the land by the EDA, Young said, had to be authorized by the city council.
Plans to close on the properties are still in the works by the EDA, as counteroffers are still being considered.
Mayor Russell Smith said this would help facilitate discussion with new businesses to purchase the land. "It looks like this would just finish up the area that would be available," he said.
Councilmember Ken Jacobson said it would be a good thing to use the money from the Rochester sales tax distribution program. Young stated that some money from the EDA fund could support the acquisition of the land, but the sales tax money would make more sense.
"The money is designed to support economic activity. We could recapture that money through the sale of the property," explained Young.
He also said the council would have to consider whether to go ahead with the plan even if the sales tax money doesn't come in when expected. Jacobson said the council should go ahead with it anyway.
Councilmember Paul Novotny explained the city needed to purchase two additional parcels for the property to work for a future business. "We needed the third piece to make the whole block flow. We have an end user. We're not just acquiring property," he reminded his fellow council members.
The council unanimously approved the EDA to acquire the property.
A second consideration of a proposed amendment to city ordinance number 408 was approved by the council. The amendment would specify additional fees, fines and charges for fire department services.
According to the new language, the "dispatch of fire apparatus and personnel to the location of a reported fire (minimum charge for up to one hour)" would cost $500. Any more time spent at a location after that first hour would cost an additional $250 per hour extra hour.
The maximum fire department charge per individual call to a location was set in the ordinance to $1,500. Any response to a motor vehicle fire or collision would cost $500.
Upon the unanimous approval of the second consideration, the council then unanimously approved the ordinance for publication.
Young mentioned during a discussion regarding the public works committee, a proposal has been received from Hiawatha Broadband Corporation to provide wireless Internet services to the city. The needed equipment would be installed on top of the water tower initially and additional sites would be discussed as well.
Young said the company wants to deal with the school district, which is interested in doing more online learning. Smith asked if rural residents would be able to access the signal. Young said the radius would be determined by line of sight.
A resolution will come before the council at a later date.
Young alerted the city that Olmsted County sent a notice of an increase in the County Environmental service charge on all garbage bills. The residential charge will go up by around $0.73 or 29 percent. The commercial sites charge will go up by 50 percent. This will be added to the utilities of residents living in Olmsted County.
Young also addressed what he called a "long list" of projects which people think should be funded from the Rochester sales tax distribution. He recommended prioritizing and expanding the list at some point in the future.
"We don't want to spend it before we get it, but we should start talking about it," he said.
Novotny said the possibility of using the money for the Twiford Redevelopment Project discussed earlier in the meeting was a good opportunity. "We could find other ways of turning the dollars over to make better use of them," he said.
Jacobson said the revolving of the money would follow the spirit of why Rochester is giving back the money.
In other business the council handled the following issues.
City Superintendent Tony Lammers asked the council to consider a purchase of a trackless MD 5 mower/blower. Lammers also garnered approval from the board to hire summer help for the city.
The 2013 Street Project bid was awarded to Pember of Menominee, Wis., for the low bid of $178,918.05.
A note of thanks was sent by resident Dan Moultan who had experienced a fire at his residence. In his letter, he said that Chatfield fire and police departments had well-trained people.
Jacobson was unanimously approved to step into the vice-mayor role.
The board approved spring city clean-up to begin May 6. All unwanted items can be placed on the curb, with certain stipulations that are outlined on the city's website. The service is only open to city residents.