David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
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Willmar Chapter 1172 of the Experimental Aviation Association will host Willmar Regional Aviation Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Willmar Airport. The airport is located two miles west of Willmar on state Highway 40. Events will be held in the TerWisscha hangar. The public is invited. Members of the Willmar Experimental Aviation Association will provide free plane rides to young people ages 8 to 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to the free plane rides, there will be a variety of experimental and general aircraft on display.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council may seek the services of an executive search firm to fill the city administrator's position. Seven of eight council members met in an informal work session Wednesday to discuss the process of filling the administrator's position. They talked about the possibility of doing the search process themselves or the possibility of hiring a firm. After about an hour of discussion, they reached consensus to seek the services of a firm to find a replacement for City Adm-inistrator Mi-chael Schmit who will be retiring at the end of July 2011.
WILLMAR -- A Willmar City Council committee is supporting the concept of consolidating the City Assessing Office with the Kandiyohi County Assessor's Office. The council's Labor Relations Committee will recommend the council approve the concept under which the City Assessing Office would close and the department's four employees would perform their duties at the County Assessor's Office in the downtown County Office Building. City Administrator Michael Schmit discussed the concept Tuesday with the committee, and the committee voted to support the idea. The concept will be presented to the f
WILLMAR -- Willmar's local option sales tax has so far raised $7.7 million for four local projects since the tax went into effect five years ago, according to information given to the City Council's Finance Committee. The half-cent tax was approved by voters on Nov. 2, 2004. As of June 30, 2010, the tax had raised $7,758,351, said City Finance Director Steve Okins. Okins clarified for committee members the language in the referendum and in state statute. He said there seems to be some confusion about the dollar amount that the law allows the city to raise.
WILLMAR -- A power supply study recommends Willmar Municipal Utilities buy power from a variety of sources to minimize costs and risk associated with economic uncertainties and environmental policy changes. The study by Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency of Blue Earth was designed to plan for long-term uncertainty in the electric power sector, specifically looking at the price of natural gas and the possibility of carbon regulation. The study developed power supply "portfolios'' that reflected the cost of possible carbon credits and price increases on coal, natural gas, hydro and diese
WILLMAR -- Classes resumed this week at the Ridgewater College's Willmar and campuses and enrollment college-wide is up about 2.8 percent over last year, said Sam Bowen, college communications director. Official enrollment figures won't be known until the the semester's 30th day, he said. Bowen said the college is pleased with the increase. Last year's enrollment college-wide was 3,500 full-year-equivalents if all students were attending full-time year-round, and the headcount was a little more than 5,800. "We're up about 2.5 percent to 3 percent both for FYE and headcount,'' Bowen said.
WILLMAR -- Eagle Lake area residents and landowners were given a chance Thursday to learn about and comment on Kandiyohi County proposals to construct and reconstruct portions of County Road 9 and County Road 26 along and east of the lake. Kandiyohi County is proposing to rebuild and realign County Road 9 Northeast affecting traffic flow and properties on, and east of, Eagle Lake.
WILLMAR -- Willmar's new wastewater treatment plant completed a seven-day test run this week without any operating issues. Plant contractor Graham Construction Services began the test run known as a systems demonstration on Aug. 16.
WILLMAR -- Willmar Mayor Les Heitke is proposing a budget for 2011 of $25,694,742, up 15.8 percent from the 2010 budget of $22,186,858. The increase is due mainly to debt incurred for the construction of the new wastewater treatment project, he said. Heitke presented the budget Monday evening to the City Council's Finance Committee. Heitke said it's the mayor's duty to present the budget to the committee at this time of the year.
WILLMAR -- Wind turbine manufacturer DeWind Co. is learning from the challenges encountered by Willmar Municipal Utilities and the two turbines the utility bought from the Irvine, Calif., company, according to a DeWind official. DeWind Chief Executive Officer Robert C. Rugh responded to questions posed Thursday morning from utility officials and two members of the Municipal Utilities Commission. They asked about outages that have on a number of occasions stopped the turbines, which went into service on Sept.