David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
- Member for
- 2 years 2 months
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 -- 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 -- 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 -- 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.
WILLMAR -- Two Willmar City Council members who are home builders are not pleased with a new state law that will require them and other contractors to be certified in construction practices that prevent lead contamination. Steve Ahmann and Ron Christianson made their thoughts known during a city discussion this week on a proposed $10 fee.The city would charge the fee to contractors to cover the cost of time to research computer data records to verify contractor certification in lead-safe practices in homes and other structures built before 1978. They are opposed to a U.S.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council has approved the transfer of a tax abatement agreement to the new owner of Gurley's Foods. Gurley's parent company, Consolidated Biscuit Company of McComb, Ohio, was purchased May 11 by Hearthside Food Solutions of Downers Grove, Ill. The transfer was recommended by the council's Community Development Committee and was approved by the council Monday night. Hearthside controller, Joe Reiter of Willmar, along with a letter from Hearthside Foods, requested the transfer.
WILLMAR -- Asbestos removal is underway in preparation for demolition of the deteriorating Mahanaim Church at the corner of Seventh Street and Litchfield Avenue So-uthwest. Contractor Chad Monson of Willmar, se-cured a demolition permit last week for the work. MAAC Inc. of Montevideo is removing the asbestos from the 89-year-old building. Dennis Larson, company president, said Tuesday that about a dozen workers are removing the hazardous material.