Appointment: The council unanimously approved the appointment of Christopher Heineman to Director of Community Development and Planning. Mr. Heineman currently serves as City Administrator in Kenyon, MN. His start date is tentatively scheduled for August 27 and his resume may be seen in the council packet: http://www.ci.northfield.mn.us/assets/p/Packet-5.pdf #8.
Safety Center Funding: Rather than calling for a hearing on a redevelopment plan required had the council pursued the HRA lease purchase bond funding process, the council approved another lease purchase method. Instead of a city entity owning and leasing the facility, this is done through a direct lease to an underwriting bank with the bank owning the property and leasing it to the city for the time of the repayment of the debt. Funds (estimated to be $430,000) for payment of the debt are appropriated by the city annually funded from the tax levy. Neither a redevelopment plan nor planning commission review are required. Councilor Rhonda Pownell cast the sole dissenting vote. The proposed Request for Proposal contained a timetable calling for selection of the Bank/Underwriter on August 7 and the transaction closing on or about September 15, 2012.
Councilor Suzie Nakasian made and withdrew two motions which she hoped would clarify the council’s intention for the future of the current safety facility.
- Adopted the Complete Streets Policy
- Discussed at length the make up of and agenda for the Joint Fire Services Work Group – a coalition of townships, and the cities of Dundas, Dennison and Northfield, to look at the future of regional fire services. The council will appoint two of its members and one from the Finance Advisory Study Group or other community member with financial expertise. They will urge the study to move forward immediately.
- Authorized bids for roof replacement for city hall and the wastewater treatment plant.
- Approved a traffic study for four-way stop signs at Second and College Streets.
Comments: One hopes now that the funding decision has been for the first phase of the safety center and the formation of the fire services work group initiated, the council can turn its attention to other matters. The planning for the current facility will depend on the outcome of the work group discussion which may take a lot longer than anyone would like. How the various municipalities decide on fire service has direct implications for the future of the 5th and Highway 3 building, and until their report comes in, not much planning can be done. So that matter appears to be on hold for the time being.
This observer, too, will turn her attention to other matters, as I will be out of town for the next weeks. I urge readers to watch the KYMN streamed version of council and other city meetings which are indexed so that you can watch portions or all of the meetings, depending on your interest. And, of course, with the August primary coming, be sure to catch the LWV candidate forums. Check the LWV website for more information.