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City talks electric vehicle charging

FAIRMONT– The Fairmont City Council met on Monday night and approved one new business item, viewed a presentation, and approved the consent agenda as read. The consent agenda included 11 event permits that were all approved.

The only new business item was to approve the assignment and assumption agreement with the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA) for the electric vehicle charging stations. SMMPA is the wholesale electric provider and the board agreed to purchase electric vehicle chargers for each of the 18 members of the agency.

The city of Fairmont received two Level 2 chargers and 1 DC fast charger as part of this program late last summer. The city’s line department is currently working on the plans to install these three units at two different locations. The first location is downtown near City Hall and adjacent to Citizen’s Plaza. the second location is at the Winnebago Avenue Sports Complex. Installation is planned to be completed early this summer.

The locations were chosen based on the infrastructure available which at the Winnebago Avenue Sports Complex has. The other factors included having the location city-owned and for there to be something to do for people who need to charge their vehicles.

SMMPA purchased the chargers, but the City will be required to cover the costs of installation and underground electric connections. The cost is estimated at$15,000. but $9,000 of that will be for a mini substation that is required for the fast charger and will be paid for out of the line department operations. The item was approved.

The presentation was based on a survey that was given out to the city in the Parks and Recreation Survey. City administrator Cathy Reynolds said the intention was two-fold. The first part was to give the staff an idea of the current usage of the city parks, trails, and amenities that they have. This helps focus the budget on where is being utilized. The other part was for the local options sales tax, which is required to be used for a community center, recreational amenities, and trails. This helped get the community’s input on what amenities they’d like to see the community invest in.

The survey consisted of categories such as who utilizes the parks, which parks are most used, amenities most utilized, who utilizes city trails, and other categories. According to the presentation, 841 citizens responded to the survey. Most of the responders that responded utilize the parks. People who responded said that they used Gomsrud Park and Cedar Creek Park the most. The six amenities most utilized are the boat ramps, playgrounds, fishing piers, picnic areas, shelters, and trails. The presentation ended with the mention that there will be a work session later this month on the local options sales tax.

The council also approved the 11 event permits. Among the 11 event permits that were approved included: the VFW Post 1222 Memorial Day Parade on May 31, the Fairmont Triathlon Marty’s Youth Triathlon on June 18, Kids Just Want to Have Fun Mini Golf Grand Reopening on June 18, and the Fairmont Triathlon and Bacon Run 5K on June 19.

“I think this is showing our community that things are starting to happen again and wow,” Mayor Deborah Foster said. “It’s exciting and I hope people can be a part of it.”

The next time the city council will meet is for a Work Session on Monday, May 24 at 4 p.m. The regular city council meeting will be at 5:30 p.m.

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