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Council approves not-to-exceed levy

ana anthony/daily globe Worthington police officer Ted Buhner (left) stands with Jami Cummings after Cummings received her Life Saving Award at Monday's Worthington City Council meeting.

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington City Council approved a proposed city levy of $3,085,427 at its regular meeting Monday. The amount reflects an increase of 11.9 percent from the 2011 fiscal year.

The levy is broken down into an operating levy of $2,093,364 and special tax levies of $992,063 that are for bonds that fund capital projects, or abatements. The precertified levy is an amount that council members can reduce but cannot exceed.

A Truth in Taxation hearing is scheduled for Dec. 12, at which time council members will decide on the final levy.

"We're shooting more for a 4 percent number, not 11 as a peak," Alderman Mike Woll said.

In an unrelated matter, council members presented a Life Saving award to Jami Cummings. She was honored for her quick reaction on Aug. 17, when she saved a mother-daughter pair from drowning at Sailboard Beach.

Also discussed at the meeting was the scope of the proposed Collegeway reconstruction project.

The original plan included constructing an 8-feet wide multi-use path on Collegeway to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists for properties on the street corridor.

At a public hearing last month, some residents along Collegeway rejected the proposal because they felt the path would reduce privacy on their properties.

Many residents present at the public meeting opted for the alternative preferred by Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

The option would be to construct a multi-use path ranging more than 1,000 feet south of Collegeway.

"If we can't get one trail that feeds the college, the school, tennis courts, family housing and senior housing, and the Y, I think we should save some effort," Woll said.

After much discussion, council members approved the alternative to reconstruct Collegeway without modifications or a mult-iuse path -- an option that allows future plans to construct a path ranging either between 150 to 400 feet south of Collegeway or more than 1,000 feet south of Collegeway, or a variation of each.

In other business, council:

* Rejected all five of the bids for the senior center project, which were higher than the architect's estimate. Council members authorized rebidding for two separate contracts -- demolition and abatement of the project.

* Approved a $135,000 appropriation to the Worthington Hockey Association to address immediate operational problems of the hockey arena.

* Heard from Sanford Worthington CEO Lynn Olson about the state of Sanford Worthington Medical Center.

Projects range from upgrading imaging service from film to digital capabilities, three telemedicine units and construction plans for all three floors.

* Approved the third reading of an amendment to the city's zoning ordinance that would allow child care as a special-use permit in a "M-1" -- Light Manufacturing District.

* Approved alcohol compliance violation penalties as recommended by the Liquor Committee. First- and second-violation penalties had already been in place, but council approved further recommendations because several local establishments were found to have second violations on Nov. 7, 2009.

Additions to the penalties are now: 14-day license suspension and a $1,500 fine if second violation occurs within three years of the first, and the third violation is within five years of the first offense; a violation that occurs during a license suspension, or a fourth violation within five years of the first violation, would result in revocation of license; and after a second violation, establishments will be subject to unannounced alcohol compliance checks.

Members reached a 3-1 decision with Woll dissenting.

"That just seems aggressive to me," Woll said about the unannounced compliance checks.

* Approved special permit use for property at 2450 Nobles County 35, which will allow applicants to operate automotive repair in a medium family residential area. Conditions include that the activity is limited to existing improvements, all outdoor activities must be properly screened and property must be "neatly groomed and well maintained."

* Approved change order #2 for the Bioscience Training and Testing Center project. The net change in cost is an additional $16,134, bringing the new contract sum to $1,359,909.

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