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New London City Council moves ahead to create EDA

NEW LONDON -- The city of New London may be getting a new tool to help improve the local economy.

At its meeting Wednesday the City Council agreed to move ahead with plans to establish an economic development authority. The action was taken after hearing from the city's attorney, Dean Anderson, and Steve Renquist, director of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission.

A public hearing will be held before final action is taken.

With several Main Street businesses sitting empty, and land with high development potential bare, the council members agreed they wanted the city to have the ability to issue bonds or levy funds for economic development.

Having an economic development authority can also be used as a tool for business recruitment, said City Administrator Trudie Guptill.

The City Council would likely serve as the EDA board and would not hire a separate administrator.

After a public hearing Wednesday, the council also voted to increase water rates 40 cents per thousand gallons and the sewer rate 90 cents per thousand gallons.

The rate increase will generate about $5,600 a year and will help the city break even in a fund that's been losing money because of leaks and breaks in the aging infrastructure.

Last year the city spent $83,000 to pump and treat ground water that seeped into sewer lines.

Guptill said every sewer customer pays about $15 a month to treat groundwater.

"We can't continue to blow $80,000 a year on ground water. It's crazy," said Guptill.

A multimillion-dollar project to replace sewer lines is in the works that will reduce infiltration. The city is hoping to get grants and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development to reduce local costs.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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