After the resignation of Eric Reetz at the March 6 council meeting, the Eden Valley council passed a resolution declaring a vacancy on the council. This vacancy must be filled by special election; the earliest possible election date would be Aug. 6. The council will publish a notice of filing, inviting individuals to file for the office. The vacant seat will be for a term through the end of December 2014, and the succeeding term will be for two years in order to keep in synch with council terms.
The City of South Haven held its first council meeting in the new city hall Tuesday, April 2.
The fire department report noted one rescue call and no fire calls in March. The department was approved to purchase a GPS, two hose reels, and some supplies. The fire chief’s annual pay was increased from $1,200 to 2,000, effective immediately.
Change is always difficult, especially when dealing with a complex issue like the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, as it is more commonly called. But change, it-is-a-coming, and I give Democrat legislators credit for building their own state-based health insurance exchange.
The alternative is a federally developed program that cannot be adjusted to meet the needs and characteristics of Minnesota citizens. So instead of sitting on their hands and complaining about what is to come, House and Senate Democrats voted to approve an exchange that sets up a one-stop marketplace where individuals, families and small businesses can compare prices and benefits among multiple private health insurance plans.
The annual meeting of Maine Prairie Township was held after election polls closed March 12. Ron Kuechle was re-elected as supervisor. Tom Ehlinger was nominated as moderator for the meeting.
There was discussion of road projects in the township, and whether crack-sealing or sealcoating was preferred.
The new town hall was discussed. (This meeting was held there.) $245,000 was set aside at the 2012 annual meeting to build a town hall. The expenses to-date were $222,245, well under-budget. Landscaping and the parking lot were discussed, with no specific plans other than to have a flag pole and some kind of landscaping and shrubbery. Decisions on the parking lot will be made later in the season.
At its March 21 meeting, the Watkins city council heard the results of their 2012 audit by KDV. No errors or issues were found. The city is “right on target” by having 50 percent of next year’s budget set aside in a fund balance.
Monte Eastvold of Northland Securities addressed the council about the sale of the city’s $4,725,000 bond on March 21. Two bids were received that were very close. Piper Jaffray’s bid was selected (over Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc., of Milwaukee); the difference was 0.014 percent interest. The original loan was in 2009 for road, water and sewer repairs in the City of Watkins. The total sale price was $4,749,239.31 which included the cost of obtaining a new credit rating for the city. The $44,295 cost of issuance is included there too. Repayment was extended one year at 3.7754 percent interest; the loan will mature in 2049. The yearly payments will be slightly higher until maturity, but the net savings to the city is $1,167,521.22. This new loan can be refinanced as early as 2020; prepayment is another option open to the city. The city will receive a $17,048.75 payment from Piper Jaffray at closing, which Eastvold suggests the city put in the bank.