Members Present: Mayor Hallum, Council members Bunke, Benson, Honsey, O’Donnell

Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Hallum called the regular meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.

Motion by Honsey seconded by O’Donnell to approve the agenda as presented, with the addition of amending Resolution 2017-018 in the consent agenda. Upon roll call all voted aye.

Motion by O’Donnell seconded by Benson to approve the February 13, 2017, meeting minutes as presented. Upon roll call, all voted aye.

Todd Roesler, CEO of Acentek, updated the Council on the two-year plan for fiber optic build-out in Rushford. Approximately $7.2 million will be spent in Rushford and part of the Village area to bring fiber to the home. The installation of the fiber optic will make connection nearly instantaneous and be an important economic development tool as well as an improvement for all residential customer home uses.

Residents are receiving phone calls from AcenTek regarding the service installation and as they progress with the project further information will be delivered through various media releases, Facebook and public access channel. Customers will have the option of signing up for services, but it is not known for sure what the impact will be to customer costs.

The Mayor asked if there were any other citizens wishing to be heard with no one present wishing to speak at this time. It was noted that Bonnie Prinsen would be arriving later.

The following notices and communications were reviewed:

• Farmer’s Co-op Elevator – letter regarding new director Wayne Gordon

• Notification from Federal Emergency Management Agency of the preliminary report of the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report for Fillmore County and incorporated areas. FEMA has posted digital copies on Notification is given for a public comment period prior to these determinations being adopted. Maps were reviewed indicating the levee system surrounding the city but also the areas of concern from interior flooding hazards. The new mapping system incorporates different standards and terminology for use by financial institutions and insurance agents.

Motion by Bunke seconded by Honsey to approve the consent agenda consisting of the following:

• Approval of Verified Claims and Fund Summary Report for period ending 02/27/17

• Approval of a subordination request for Brand Entities (Paul & Pamela Brand) as they restructure and change their banking relationship with Rushford State Bank. This action places a mortgage on the Brand Entities property and allows Rushford State Bank first position. The City would be subordinate to the Bank, which is typical for many of the flood recovery loan funds under the City’s control. Rushford State Bank provided a letter of request and will also be responsible for creating any document necessary for signing and recording as required.

• Resolution 2017-018 Exemption from Lawful Gambling License for Hardwood Country Sportsmen’s Club, fund raising activity at Nordic Lanes shall have the date amended to be April 8, 2017.

Upon roll call all voted aye.

Mike Bubany, of David Drown Associates presented information to the Council regarding the proposed terms for a contract with Bluff County LLC for the purchase of City owned land in the Himlie Business Park for the development of six duplex townhomes for sale. (Lot 2, Blk 1 Himlie Business Park).

City staff, Bubany, the realtor and the developer had meet to discuss various options for the sale and development of the property in the R-3 Zoned, Multi-Family area of the business park. Site photos and proposed building information was provided for council review of the proposed construction.

Discussion was held on the creation of a TIF Housing District to make the project more feasible to a developer. The captured revenue would be directed to pay ourselves back for the land cost and improvement costs, with interest, thus allowing a lower upfront cost to the developer to purchase the land.

The TIF District only captures a portion of the school taxes and none of the school’s operating referendum taxes. The school, of course, would benefit from any increased enrollment. As part of the TIF Housing plan, the developer would agree to sell lots to income-qualified families (currently for a family of two or less $77,100 and for a family of three or more $88,665.)

If sold to non-qualifying families, the developer would pay a $2,000 fee to the city for each unit. The upfront cost would be $24,000.00 with and if all lots were sold to non-qualifying parties, the total cost would be $48,000.00.

A development agreement would need to be put in place and considerable detail would still need to be worked out regarding the zoning, configuration of street and utilities and the responsibilities of the developer and the city regarding that infrastructure.

The Planning Commission reviewed the basic proposal for this project at their recent meeting of 2/21/17. A portion of the minutes of that meeting is as follow: “A TIF financing district is potentially the way the City can offer a reduced land price to the developer and over time recover those costs through the increased taxes collected.

Motion by Highum seconded by Wilkemeyer to approve the sale of Lot 2, Blk 1 Himlie Business Park for the construction of twin homes as this type of housing is needed, the area is ready for development, both the developer and City will benefit from the partnership, all of which is consistent with the City’s Comprehensive Plan and recent housing needs study. Upon roll call all voted aye.”

Bubany answered several questions and explanations on the proposed project. After this discussion there was a Motion by Benson seconded by Honsey to move forward with Bubany on the creation of the Housing TIF District as proposed for the Himlie Business Park, noting further agreements, public hearings and resolutions will be required. Upon roll call all voted aye.

Notification was received from MDOT District 6 Transportation Partnership that the application for Safe Routes to School Project (SRTS/TAP) (2021 funding) did not receive high enough prioritization to be funded in this grant cycle. The Rushford, Rushford-Peterson School project may be eligible if other applicants turn down their award.

Discussion was held regarding authorizing Bolton & Menk (at an approximately cost of $600.00) to repackage this project for possible grant funding through an upcoming DNR Outdoor Recreation Grant, Local Trail Connections Grant Process. The project could be scaled back to include just the trail on the east side of Mill Street and south side of Pine Meadows to at least provide a safe walking route to the new school. Further trails and signs could be incorporated into a new SRTS/TAP application next year.

This competitive DNR grant has a 25% local match with a maximum $150,000.00 award. After discussion there was a Motion by Honsey seconded by O’Donnell to retain Bolton & Menk to apply for grant funding through the DNR Local Trail Connections Grant and to authorize the signing of pertinent documentation for same. Upon roll call all voted aye.

Bonnie Prinsen, representing several entities, reported on plans for a 10-year anniversary commemoration of the 2007 flood event and specifically “Montini Café Open Again for One Day”. Tentative plans include a meal at Montini Hall, Sunday, Aug. 20, with entertainment, speakers, legislators and so forth.

Rushford Community Foundation has grant funds to apply towards this event and perhaps other groups or entities will also participate or plan for events. The purpose is to celebrate the recovery and give people the opportunity to meet and gather together again. Efforts will be made to determine the various entities and groups that provided support and help to the community during the flood event.

The Council supported the efforts of these volunteers and this event noting the City could help coordinate some of the logistics of the event.

At the last Council meeting Mayor Hallum asked that the SE MN Historic Bluff Country Tourism Program funding request be tabled for the next meeting. Hallum, who is also a member of SE MN HBC board of directors, provided some analytics and information from the HBC web site traffic. Monthly website hits ranged from 600 to 5,100 during the summer peak season with nearly 21,000 users having accessed the website over the last year.

HBC currently has a grant to administer the National Scenic Byways (Highway 16) in this area, is attempting to increase their membership, is working on a financial recovery after recent legal issues and is operating only with board member (no staff) participation.

Considerable discussion was held with Council members wishing to get a feel for what the membership dues of $1,500.00 is providing to the City, or what value is the City receiving by being a member. Discussion was held on the lodging tax revenues and the joint efforts with RP Valley Chamber for promotional and advertising and activities.

Councilmember Honsey noted that a year ago he had stated he hoped to see HBC turn the corner; are they reaching out to groups, have they increased membership, have they increased website presence, is the City getting the dues value back?

Hallum stated he felt the answer was yes. Council member Bunke noted he appreciated the analytical information but it would nice to know how the dues and that information translates back to a benefit or impact on the community.

Councilmember Benson noted HBC had not appeared to increase members, did not appear to be promoting marketing and it was difficult to see the next step or to see what their long range planning goals were. Hallum again noted the Scenic Byways designation would be lost if HBC did not carry it.

After considerable discussion, there was a Motion by O’Donnell to retain membership in the SE MN Historic Bluff Country for another year; with Council members wishing to see more information on their long range planning goals. Upon roll call the following voted aye: Bunke, Honsey, Hallum, O’Donnell Voting No: Benson Motion carried.

Past month’s minutes were provided for review from the various commission and committee meetings as follows:

Library Board – January 2017

Rushford EDA – December 2016 and January 2017

Airport Commission – December 2016 and notes from Jan/Feb 2017

Planning Commission – November, December 2016 and February 2017

Electric Commission – December 2016, January 2017 and notes from February 2017

Trees, Trails, Parks – October-December 2016, January and February 2017

Motion by Honsey seconded by Bunke that the meeting be adjourned at approximately 8:10 p.m. Upon roll call all voted aye.

Submitted by: Kathy Zacher,

City Clerk/Treas.