Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
The Kimball comprehensive plan steering committee met in a special meeting Nov. 19 to hear testimony on the proposed comprehensive plan for the city of Kimball. This committee worked for just over a year, under the guidance of a team of planning experts from Biko Associates. Bill Smith from Biko Associates presented the plan via a PowerPoint presentation. He explained the principles and vision developed by the planning steering committee for guided growth and development of the city of Kimball. He explained that a sense of density (businesses, in particular, clustered together rather than spread out) leads to a stronger sense of community. It is also more sustainable. Based on testimony that followed the presentation, the only point of contention in the plan is the proposed rezoning of 25 acres along Highway 15 North from its current commercial (retail) zoning to industrial. Testimony was heard from representatives for two developers in the northwest corner of Kimball: Tom Crouch (Heritage Park residential development) and Lisa & Chris Crayford (proposed commercial development along Hwy. 15 North). The Crayfords have spent considerable time and moneymaking plans for commercial development of their property, and Crouch argues that industrial property adjoining his residential development could lower the value of those homes. During the process of developing the comprehensive plan, that 25-acre parcel was identified as the best suitable location for industrial development. Industry is much needed in Kimball as it brings higher tax-paying businesses, and provides much-needed jobs in Kimball. The taxes help both the city and the Kimball schools, as well as the county. The next challenge for the city of Kimball will be to attract industry to the city. The goal is to find so-called "light industrial" businesses that need space, will not place heavy needs on the city (for water and sewer services, for example), and will not cause noise or exhaust problems. Identifying such industry and attracting them to Kimball would be the role of an economic develoipment committee (which does not yet exist in Kimball). It is possible that the county's economic development could assist in this process. At the Dec. 15 meeting of the Kimball city council, the comprehensive plan was approved unanimously, as presented. The two-part document is available to view at City Hall, as well as on-line at. It will serve as a guide to land-use and zoning decisions by the city council, and it will be revised at regular intervals to keep it a valid, useful document. Also at the Dec. 15 council meeting, mayor Tammy Konz announced that she received a letter from the state of Minnesota indicating that local government aid (LGA) to Kimball could be reduced by 9-35 percent. Having just gone through the budget-setting process for 2009, and keeping the budget lean with only a $25,000 (or 8.26 percent) increase for 2009, the council is concerned about such drastic potential cuts. As one means to possibly curb expenses, the city plans to request bids for both the city's attorney and auditor services. They also plan to use the quarterly city newsletter for most communication rather than the Tri-County News. The next newsletter (and only the second so far) will go out the first week of January along with the city utility bills. The city is also considering leasing a new printer/copier system to replace the one they purchased nearly two years ago. Only one person came for the city's Truth in Taxation meeting Dec. 1. The city approved local liquor licenses at its Nov. 17 meeting. The Kimball Area Historical Society's grant application for city hall was approved. Work is scheduled to begin on the interior of city hall, including a new heating system, in February.