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City aids housing plan

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Council approved during their Monday meeting a sum of $2,500 to go toward Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. participation in developing a housing project at Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

The funds will be used for professional services to put together the terms in the proposal. WREDC Manager Glenn Thuringer requested $5,000, but council members unanimously agreed to cut that amount in half, citing that all those involved should pay a fair share. Other partners identified by Thuringer include the college, Nobles County and Worthington Public Utilities for the cost of pro-forma and the preliminary financing structure.

Thuringer estimated the total cost of the proposal to be $10,000. Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh suggested that all parties involved should pay $2,500 apiece to fund the proposal.

Council member Mike Woll said that college students need housing, and the interested parties are in agreement on the proposal. Oberloh added that he thinks the community has already determined there is a housing issue, and worried that further studies would be redundant.

Worthington Director of Community and Economic Development Bradley Chapulis said the Minnesota West housing proposal is needed and Councilman Scott Nelson agreed, stating the importance of increasing housing options in the community.

It was noted during Monday's council meeting that Thuringer, who will leave WREDC in October, will be replaced on an interim basis by Chris Witzel, the organization's intern. Witzel will assume the responsibilities of moving the project forward.

In another matter, the council approved a call for a public hearing on the potental adoption of a capital improvement plan and intent to issue bonds for the financing of the new fire hall. The meeting will be during the next regularly scheduled meeting, 7 p.m. Oct. 22 in City Hall.

Oberloh said while fire hall will be around for a while, he's concerned with bonding the remaining cost due.

Options for the financing of the now-completed building include paying cash for all or part of the project. Minnesota law also allows the issuing of general obligation bonds, if approved by a public vote; and issuing bonds by approving a capital improvement plan, whereby a public hearing would be needed.

Council members also discussed using funds accrued from the sale of the municipal hospital to help with the cost.

In other business Monday, the council:

* Approved the third reading of an ordinance to temporarily allow the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to lessen park use restrictions, specifically to allow kickball to be played on the Centennial Park softball fields.

* Approved, for 30 days, Mark Thier's request to use the area west of Sunset Park as a winter storage place for private boat docks and lifts. Their's rental costs will be discussed during the next council meeting, as will a decision on whether to allow the storage for the entire season.

* Approved a proposal for the 2012 year-end audit services from Turbes Drealan Kvilhaug Hoefker & Co., P.A. Excluding word processing of the report, the maximum audit cost would not exceed $20,200, which is an increase of $500 from last year.

* Approved a resolution to authorize the sale of $2.7 million in general obligation tax revenue bonds for the construction of the Worthington Event Center. The City will contribute about $1 million of past sales tax collections to buy down the bond to $2.7 million. The bonds will be paid off using future sales tax collections. The sale will occur on Nov. 26.

* Approved a resolution to allow Bioverse to amend the lease of its building in the Worthington Biotechnology Advancement Center. This will allow the company to store materials more than 12 feet in height, without remodeling the fire sprinkler design.

* Accepted a quote from Worthington Excavating Inc. for $400 for removal of a building located at 928 First Ave. The deadline for dismantling is Dec. 1.

* Authorized Oberloh to sign Memorandum of Agreement to allow the Federal Aviation Administration to inspect the Medium Approach Light System with Runway Light System at the municipal airport. The city has met the requirements stated within the MOA; there will therefore be no impact on airport operations.

Daily Globe Reporter Kayla Strayer may be reached at 376-7322.