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Panel backs hiring consultant for Highway corridor study

WILLMAR — The Public Works/Safety Committee is recommending the City Council execute a joint agreement to hire a consultant to complete a U.S. Highway 12 corridor study through Willmar.

The council will consider acting on the agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Kandiyohi County during the regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in the chambers at the Municipal Utilities Building.

The consultant will analyze the full segment of Highway 12 from at 45th Avenue Southeast on the east to County Road 5 on the west, explained Bruce Peterson, interim public works director and planning and development director.

Peterson told the committee this week that the consultant will not return with engineering proposals, but will look at creating a long-range vision for the corridor and help officials know what physical changes need to be made to the traffic-bearing portion of the corridor..

“It will give us some insight as far as future development and redevelopment along the corridor, how to handle access to the corridor, safety in the corridor. It’s pretty comprehensive,’’ said Peterson.

Committee member Bruce DeBlieck asked if the consultant should look farther west of County Road 5.

Looking to the future and to the growth of the city, Peterson said he did not think there will be a lot of city impacts on or from Highway 12 west of County Road 5. He said access to the industrial park will be south on County Road 5 and to the west.

Peterson said the Department of Transportation has assumed all administrative responsibilities to date.

He said the department “has been great in taking the lead and has done an excellent job in folding the city and county into it to make sure they really listen to what we have to say.’’

The city’s $50,000 contribution toward the $150,000 study is included in the city’s 2014 capital improvement program. Kandiyohi County will contribute $20,000 toward the study, and the Department of Transportation will pick up the remaining cost,

In other business Monday night, the council will take comments from the public during the annual “truth-in-taxation’’ hearing at 7:02 p.m. The purpose of the hearing is to discuss the percentage change in property taxes proposed and the specific purpose for which property tax revenues are being changed.

The council will act on the 2014 city property tax levy of $4,139,734 and the 2014 levy of $170,000 for the Willmar Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

Under a 1989 Minnesota law, the hearing process was designed to help property owners understand how the property tax is determined and how the public can get involved with local budgeting issues and taxation, according to City Clerk-Treasurer Kevin Halliday.

Also, the council will consider the 2014 budget of $511,207 for the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission.

Among other agenda items, the council will receive comments from the public during the open forum and will receive reports of meetings of the Public Works/Safety Committee, Finance Committee and the Labor Relations Committee.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150