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WILLMAR — The Willmar City Council this week discussed the wage study recently made public, which showed many city positions are paid well below the market average for similar-sized cities and regional centers. The council also heard public comment from people speaking on behalf of the city's unionized workers. The council decided Monday to move the ongoing discussion about the study to the July 29 City Council retreat to allow more in-depth discussion.
WILLMAR — Willmar will begin the process to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. The Willmar City Council unanimously passed a motion at its Monday meeting to direct city administration and the city attorney to begin the application process, the first step to enter the program. "This is something we need to do for our constituents," Mayor Marv Calvin said.
WILLMAR — The two wind turbines near the Willmar Senior High School have been spinning for nearly 10 years, producings millions of kilowatts of renewable energy used by customers of Willmar Municipal Utilities. And by July 1, they will be completely paid for as well, six years earlier than expected.
WILLMAR — According to a compensation study completed by Springsted, the city of Willmar underpays its employees by a significant margin when compared with similar-sized cities and regional centers. "Based on this survey, we would not be considered competitive," Willmar Human Resources Director Samantha Beckman said. The final report of the compensation study was presented Monday to the Willmar City Council's Labor Committee. The city had signed a contract with Springsted to complete the study in fall 2017.
WILLMAR — AEHM LLC, the developer of a new 24-unit apartment building at the Sunwood Apartment complex in Willmar, was granted a 10-year, 90 percent tax abatement for the new building. The Willmar City Council approved the abatement 6 to 2, with Councilors Vicki Davis and Fernando Alvarado voting against the resolution. There was no public comment during the hearing prior to the vote at the May 6 council meeting. "They (AEHM, LLC) state the project can not support itself without the tax abatement from the city," City Planner Sarah Swedburg said.
WILLMAR — The weather cooperated for the most part, but cool water temperatures could have kept the bite low at area lakes and rivers over the 2019 Minnesota fishing opener weekend. "For the most part it sounds like it's been a bit cold," said Jason Estum, co-owner of J&J Highway 71 Bait and Tackle at Eagle Lake. Steve Mitlyng, owner of Mitlyng's Bait and Tackle in Watson, near Lac qui Parle Lake, said at this time of the year the water temperature should be around 65 degrees. This weekend it was 56 degrees.
WILLMAR — Travelers who will use the redesigned U.S. Highway 12 on the west side of Willmar as part of the Willmar Wye project will have a bit of cylindrical route once construction is completed. Bolton and Menk, part of the Hoffman Team hired by the Minnesota Department of Transportation to design and build the road portion of the Willmar Wye project, has proposed constructing two roundabouts on the new section of Highway 12, both as a cost savings and safety measure.
VESTA — A fatal accident was reported early Friday morning in rural Vesta. Orlean Alvin Stage, 52, died of injuries he received in the accident at a farm in rural Vesta, in Redwood County. According to the Redwood County Sheriff's Office, deputies were dispatched to the farm around 12:22 a.m. Friday, on a call about an unresponsive male. No other details were given about the accident. Assisting the Sheriff's Office was the Wabasso Ambulance, Lucan First Responders, Lucan Fire Department and North Ambulance.
WILLMAR — A judge with the Eighth Judicial District has denied a request from Zeke Dahl, asking that the $375 in filing fees for his lawsuit against Mayor Marv Calvin and the city hall project be waived. Dahl applied for an In forma Pauperis waiver, which can be used to waive the legal fees of those who can not afford to pay them. In court documents filed Friday, the judge denied the waiver application, calling the action "frivolous" based on the motion and affidavit provided by Dahl.
WILLMAR — Zeke Dahl, a former candidate for Willmar mayor, is attempting to temporarily stop the new Willmar city hall project, by filing paperwork requesting a court-ordered injunction against Willmar Mayor Marv Calvin and the city hall project. The petition was filed May 6 and a hearing has not been scheduled. Dahl is not being represented by an attorney. According to Dahl's petition, the city hall project is "an unnecessary and undue financial burden/hardship, on the citizens of Willmar" and he wants the project halted until further studies can be completed.