At the Tuesday, June 5 meeting, the Rushford Village Council discussed several funding options for several city costs in 2018. The council and city staff considered options including usage of a Certificate of Deposit (CD) accounts, financing programs, and an option for Minnesota Investment Fund dollars provided through the Department of Employment and Economic Development. According to City Attorney Tom Manion, there is a one-time exception option for the city to use 80% of uncommitted Revolving Loan Fund dollars. The city council discussed using the funds for a city needs, but stopped short of making a decision.
“We don’t know how much we’ll need yet,” stated Councilor Dennis Overland.
The city is expecting two lump sum payments this year, but it may not be viable as a solution. The first half of the expected money, in the amount of $200,000, comes June 30, but City Treasurer Judy Graham indicated the money is already earmarked for needs lasting through December. Councilor Dennis Overland suggested there might be options to pay some of it back, but Graham cautioned that if the city continues to spend $40,000 a month, the city would be in the same spot come December.
A budgetary amount of $7,000 is set aside city funds for road equipment and may be able to be partly used to fund some of the $25,000 cost, including the need of a new commercial grade, 60-inch deck mower, which was quoted at $8,485. In addition, a $20,000 CD was setup five years prior for Information Technology projects and is due for renewal in December. Two other CDs come due this August, but are of larger values.
“It’s not like we don’t have the money. It’s just in the wrong places,” said Mayor Gordon Johnson.
The city will continue looking into options prior to its next meeting, where a decision will likely be made.
In discussion of roads, Mayor Gordon Johnson talked of his reluctance to spend $150,000-200,000 for the Benson Lane Project, currently in the engineering phase. “I have a terrible feeling about spending that to fix something that’s been that way as a crossing,” said Johnson. “What would happen if we considered redirecting water on the downhill side with culverts?” asked Johnson. “It may not be as engineered or anything that makes sense, but it’s really hard to get my arms around this.”
Councilor Mike Ebner questioned where the liability lies by potentially changing the project from engineered to one done in-house by the city. City Attorney Tom Manion stated there is some governmental immunity if the project is done at a planning level or if it’s a discretionary decision based on policy.
Johnson added that the city is not looking to neglect the area, but see if a different option may be available. He suggested having a local contractor do a cost analysis for putting in a culvert to divert water flow. Further research into other options and cost analysis will be done.
Speeding on Goodrich Street continues to be an issue, according to Public Works Supervisor Travis Scheck. The council approved city staff purchasing at least one speed bump for the roadway, but discussed having up to five. A price of $120 per unit was quoted on four-foot bump strips measuring 12 inches in width and two inches in height. Staff was also directed to look further into options. “Public safety still has to be a concern,” stated Johnson.
In addition to the bump strip, the council approved signage noting the bump, as well as two additional “Children at Play” signs for Aspen Road.
During time for public comment, a resident brought forth a request by the council to take action on a neighbor dispute. According to Attorney Manion, the south Rushford resident may be in violation of Minnesota statutes related to dogs running at large and harassment of passersby. Two letters from the city were sent to the dogs’ owner on April 7, 2017, and May 8, 2017, according to clerk Mary Miner. Photos of the dogs were taken and provided to the city along with a third complaint.
Manion indicated the city can file a criminal complaint against the dogs’ owner for violation of statutes. He indicated several counts can be charged against the owner for multiple violations, all misdemeanor offenses. “It’s in their benefit to cooperate. I can be a lot of time and hassle,” he added. “If we have a history or trail here of some sort, I can pick it up from there.”
The council has directed Attorney Manion to send a letter to the resident and take over the matter.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Tuesday, June 19, at 7 p.m., at the Village Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.