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Granite Falls to support veterans home proposal

GRANITE FALLS -- A proposal to develop a veterans home in Montevideo continues to pick up support in the area.

Members of the Granite Falls City Council expressed their informal support for the project at the meeting Monday, said City Manager Bill Lavin.

He said that members of the veterans home task force in Montevideo outlined the project to council members and expressed their interest in building support in Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine counties for it.

City Council members intend to discuss the project with the Granite Falls Hospital board before taking formal action. There have been some concerns about how a new nursing home in the area would affect the labor supply for the municipal Granite Falls Manor nursing home operated by the hospital.

Members of the task force are working to gain support from the Legislature to build a 90-bed nursing home. It would cost an estimated $23 million to build. The state would be responsible for about $8 million of the costs, and the federal government the remainder. Task force members hope to raise commitments for $1 million to $2 million to offset the state's share of costs as an enticement for the state to move ahead with the project.

If built, the project would help meet a growing need for skilled nursing beds for veterans, and provide economic benefits to the region, according to task force members.

In other business Monday, council members took action to lessen the harm to the city budget in response to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's action to "unallot," or cut, $79,000 in local government aid payments in December. Council members approved transfers from city funds to help make up for the unallotment, based on recommendations from Lavin and Finance Director Darcy Mulvihill.

The transfers will largely make up for the unallotment and allow the city to complete the year with only a $12,896 deficit in the general fund.

The city saw better-than-expected revenues at the municipal liquor store, which provided $11,000 to cover the unallotment. The city will also assign $19,975 in costs incurred cleaning up after the July 31 storm to the light fund, and allocate a $4,805 insurance dividend to the general fund. The city was also able to allocate all of the market value homestead credit to the general fund instead of the debt service fund, representing $43,288.