WORTHINGTON — During Monday night's meeting, the Worthington City Council elected to forgive substantial assessments for two forfeited properties in Worthington.

County staff requested that the assessments be forgiven in preparation for an auction, in the hopes of furthering interest for potential buyers, so that the parcels might be returned to private ownership.

“We've never forgiven nuisance assessments in the past,” said Steve Robinson, speaking of his tenure as city administrator, “but in the past, the property always had a private owner.”

The assessments are the result of outstanding costs for snow removal and lawn mowing, which have accrued for several years since the parcels were forfeited — charges considered “nuisance” assessments. The total amount the county requested be forgiven on the first parcel is $5,872, while the second parcel’s assessment amounts to just over $3,400 dollars.

“If we don't take these assessments off, they'll just continue on,” said Mayor Mike Kuhle. “No one would ever pay for it.”

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Council approved forgiveness of the assessments, on the condition that the parcels are sold during the auction.

In other action, the council:

  • Approved the appointment of Susan Middagh to the Public Arts Commission. Middagh will fill the position left by Kelly Henkels.

  • During discussions on economic development, the council approved a series of zoning change requests along Bioscience Drive. On behalf of the Prairie Holdings Group, the city requested two of the properties on Bioscience Drive be brought under one common zoning district. Also requested was a preliminary plat, which would create three lots east of N. Humiston Avenue, and a slight resizing of frontage on one of the plats, in order to meet code requirements.

  • Heard and approved the second reading of a proposed ordinance for storm utility rates, the initial discussion having taken place during the last City Council meeting.

  • Approved a resolution accepting an airport maintenance and operations grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The grant will cover 2022 and 2023 and states that the city of Worthington will be paid for 75% of the eligible maintenance and operations cost, within the limits of state aid — an amount of $77,251 — for the fiscal year.

  • Approved the placement of a stop sign on Cecilee Street, where it intersected with Grand Avenue.

  • Ordered a hearing for the Eighth Avenue reconstruction improvement project to take place on Dec. 13.