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City council OKs EDA levy

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington City Council met in special session as the city's Economic Development Authority Monday to authorize a special tax levy of $86,000 to be collected in 2010 for economic development costs.

Not all of that money will necessarily be funneled to the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corporation, as was originally expected.

The tax collected will go to the city and the city council will decide how the money will be spent, essentially contracting with WREDC for economic development initiatives in the community.

"We have more control over (the money), that's what I like about it," said Alderman Mike Kuhle.

The council expressed concerns that the levy not be viewed as a direct contribution to the WREDC.

"I did make that clear to (Glenn Thuringer, WREDC manager of economic development)," responded City Administrator Craig Clark.

The city will stop its usual $41,000 yearly contribution to WREDC, though the amount given to the organization will still increase considerably through the levy.

Thuringer presented to the council at its Sept. 3 meeting, requesting the money for city marketing materials and other items.

The EDA tax levy is part of the city's $1.4 million general purpose tax levy, which, when combined with special tax levies, amounts to a not-to-exceed levy of $2.7 million -- a 2.9 percent increase over last year's levy.

Following the short EDA meeting, the levy was pre-certified at the regular city council meeting, though council members have said they'd like to reduce the pre-certified amount. Public input on the levy amount will be heard at a meeting set for 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at City Hall, prior to the city's adoption of a final number.

In other business, the council Monday:

l Approved a final plat of the Morning View First Addition on Cecilee Street and of the Fareway First Addition on Ryan's Road.

l Ordered improvements and preparation of plans and specifications for two projects: Morning View First Addition area storm water system improvements ($129,500), and street, sanitary sewer and water main extension improvements to Castlewood Drive ($137,300).

l Authorized a staffing increase at the Municipal Liquor Store for a part-time to full-time clerk, which would cost $9,600 for the remainder of 2010. The addition should not affect future transfers from the liquor store fund to the city's general fund.

l Approved a Traffic and Safety Committee request to change the diagonal parking stalls located on the north side of Ninth Avenue between Second and Third Avenues to parallel parking stalls, due to pedestrian safety concerns. The number of stalls will be reduced from 13 to 10.

l Authorized a 99-year lease agreement between the city of Worthington and Southwest Mental Health Center Inc. for SMHC to lease 51 parking stalls on its property to the city for $100,000 to be used for Dayton House Parking.

l Set the date for a proposed assessment hearing about improvements to 27th Street and other miscellaneous charges for 7 p.m. Oct. 12 at City Hall.

l Passed a resolution that will begin eminent domain proceedings for the Ryan's Road street improvement project and authorized a temporary easement on the area for a cost not to exceed $3,600, including sprinkler repairs and insurance against damages caused by those repairs.