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Willmar City Council approves joint transit agreement

WILLMAR —The Willmar City Council has approved the joint powers agreement to establish a new transit agency serving Willmar, Kandiyohi County and Renville County.

The council voted Monday to authorize City Administrator Charlene Stevens and Mayor Frank Yanish to execute the agreement with Kandiyohi Area Transit and Renville County to create the new agency, which will begin operation Jan. 1, 2015.

The council’s Finance Committee recommended the agreement be signed. The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners approved the agreement July 15. Renville County is expected to take action on the joint powers agreement.

The action is being taken at the direction of the Minnesota Department of Transportation to encourage transit entities to create a more regional system that crosses county borders. The agreement states that the merger is in the “best interests of the people” in order to obtain funding and to provide centralized planning and implementation of transit services in this region.

In other business, the council:

- Approved the sale of the 1991 E-One Hush fire truck to Clara City for $25,000. The sale was recommended by Fire Chief Gary Hendrickson after the Willmar Fire Department took possession of a new quint ladder truck.

- Approved a three-year contract with Willmar School District to provide school resource officers for the Willmar High School, Middle School and Alternative Learning Center/elementary schools. The school district has contracted with the Willmar Police Department for resource officers for over 15 years.

- Approved the sale of $1 million in general obligation improvement bonds to a group of five local banks to finance 2014 street improvements. The banks are Heritage Bank, Bremer Bank, Home State Bank, Lake Region Bank, and North American State Bank. Finance Director Steve Okins said staff was directed to work with local lending institutions to develop the sale. The 2.17 percent interest rate is slightly higher than the metro rate. But underwriting costs are less, which means overall expenditures will be similar to traditional bonding.

- Approved a resolution accepting 72 flags from VFW Post 1639 for use at city facilities and parks. The flags consist of USA flags, State of Minnesota flags and POW flags.

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