David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
- Member for
- 2 years 9 months
WILLMAR -- City Administrator Michael Schmit is proposing the Willmar City Council hold a work session to discuss the topic of privatizing public services and to specifically focus on public works and park mai-ntenance. Some council members and Mayor-elect Frank Yanish are suggesting the city explore the possibility of privatizing services as a way to increase efficiency and cut costs during a time of reduced tax revenue. "We have to think differently and operate differently in this day and time,'' said Denis Anderson, chairman of the council's Finance Committee.
WILLMAR -- The idea of privatizing public services and programs is not a new phenomenon for the city of Willmar, says City Administrator Michael Schmit. As recently as the early 1990s, the city considered contractual agreements for managing or owning the wastewater treatment plant.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council approved agreements Monday night that will lead to development of the Mid Central Research and Outreach Center at the MinnWest Technology Campus. The research center is a joint project of MinnWest, the city, the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. The agreements will allow campus owner MinnWest Technology Management Company LLC to use a $1.25 million state grant to renovate a building where the technology research and miscellaneous technology services center will be located. One agreement is a long-term lease
WILLMAR -- The Finance Committee is recommending the City Council approve a smaller increase in the city property tax levy than the increase that was proposed by Mayor Les Heitke in his 2011 budget. The committee is recommending the city property tax levy be increased by 3.5 percent instead of the proposed 6.9 percent increase. The council will consider the recommendation during the 7 p.m. meeting on Monday in the chambers at the Municipal Utilities Building, 700 Litchfield Ave. S.W. Heitke had proposed increasing the levy by $256,059 from $3,668,705 in 2010 to $3,924,764 in 2011.
WILLMAR -- A private contractor's cost to sweep Willmar's streets is greater than the city's cost to sweep the streets, according to a summary prepared by the Public Works Department and presented to the City Council's Public Works/Safety Committee. But committee member Ron Christianson says the cost comparison was unfair because the city's cost did not include trucking costs for hauling material swept by the city's sweeper, and he said the costs were skewed against the private contractor, Cleaning and Restoration Services Inc.
WILLMAR -- The Community Development Committee will recommend the Willmar City Council challenge a state agency's determination that the old airport terminal is eligible for historic preservation. The council will consider the committee's recommendation on Dec.
WILLMAR -- Republican Tom Emmer retained his lead over Democrat Mark Dayton in the race for Minnesota governor during the recount Monday of ballots cast in Willmar's 12 voting precincts during the Nov.
WILLMAR -- Benjamin Carlson, 14, of Willmar has been interested in firefighting for as long as he can remember. "I've always wanted to become a firefighter,'' he said.
WILLMAR -- Store managers were generally pleased as hundreds of people waited for doors to open as early as 3 a.m. Friday for the start of the traditional holiday shopping season. Parking lots were jammed, and customers at the Kandi Mall Shopping Center and other stores along South First Street were pushing carts and carrying bags full of gifts. People were seen calling home to check whether they should buy a particular item.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission is recommending a water rate increase of 9 to 10 percent per year in 2011 and 2012 to address a variety of needs in the Water Department. The commission voted Monday to approve the increase and to hold a hearing at the Dec. 13 meeting to take comments from the public. Actions of the commission require final approval by the City Council. If the increase is approved, the new rate would take effect by Feb.