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Blue Earth may buy 5 lots

October 16, 2012
Jodelle Greiner - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

BLUE EARTH - Plans for an industrial park north of Interstate 90 have been expanded, according to the director of Faribault County Economic Corporation.

Linsey Warmka told Blue Earth City Council on Monday that she met with the granting agency, which suggested some changes to help assure success of the project.

Five lots would be situated on more than 30 acres. County Road 103 would be improved to a 10-ton road. Two detention ponds would be built for drainage.

Anticipated costs for the road and infrastructure top $2 million, said Kathy Bailey, city administrator. Grants could pay for $1 million. Another $350,000 could come from the state. Bevcomm and Blue Earth Light and Water each have pledged $100,000. Other sources are expected to contribute $600,000.

The city's share is estimated at $1.58 million.

"These are preliminary numbers and would be dependent on the approval of grant applications," Bailey said.

The industrial park topic segued into the capital improvement plan, as outlined by consultant Doug Green of Springsted. He explained a number of scenarios for the city's finances.

"Are we getting too spread out?" asked Councilman Glenn Gaylord. He was concerned about unforeseen costs arising.

Councilman Rick Scholtes wanted to know if bond payments can be stretched out over a longer period of time.

"You can go to the 25-year mark," Green said.

Scholtes and Bailey discussed different ways to cut costs and rearrange finances.

"It's getting to the time when we have to make decisions," Bailey warned. "Decide what the levy will be and how to go forward."

In other business, the council:

o Directed City Attorney David Frundt to move forward on resolving an issue related to the vacant Avalon Building before a hearing Nov. 18. The city wants the owner to fix up the site. If that is not possible, the city may take ownership.

o Made changes to a letter going out today regarding sod watering. The letter outlines mowing, watering and fertilizing rules for new sod laid after street construction. Residents are asked to water their sod and keep it watered in an effort to get the new grass to grow. Council members said the grass has turned brown because it was not watered properly or enough during the hot summer.

o Accepted an airport land farming bid of $411 from Meyer/Smith for 157 acres. The bid is for three years and will bring in $64,739 annually. Rent on the land this year brought in $47,550, but fewer acres were farmed because of construction work at the airport.

o Approved senior deferments on two parcels of land.

"Both parties meet the requirements of age and income for the properties," Bailey said. "In this case, the name and other income data is private."

The current owners do not have to pay the assessments; rather, the assessments stay with the property until ownership changes.

"It's not that it's never going to get paid; it's deferred to another date, but the interest continues to grow," Bailey said.



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