City Council hears SRDC report

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington City Council on Monday received an update on the Southwest Regional Development Commission from Executive Director Jay Trusty.

City of Worthington
Worthington City Hall (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington City Council on Monday received an update on the Southwest Regional Development Commission from Executive Director Jay Trusty.

Trusty gave a brief history of the organization, which was established in 1973, a few years after the passage of the Regional Development Act in 1969.

At the SRDC annual meeting in July, Alderman Lyle Ten Haken was elected as secretary and Nobles County Commissioner David Benson was elected as vice-chair. Ten Haken also chairs the group's transportation committee.

During the July meeting, Project of the Year awards were given both to the Southwestern Mental Health Center for their work in developing the Unity House and to Maynard Foods of Westbrook for its dedication to the region.

Director of Community and Economic Development Brad Chapulis chairs the organization's strategy committee, and Trusty said the SRDC is "looking at getting our comprehensive economic development strategy developed by 2010 to meet federal requirements."


Chapulis later added that the city was "still in the running for the $779,000 grant from the federal EDA for our training and testing center build-out."

Among recent accomplishments, Trusty reported the Slayton office of the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging Inc. has provided service to 13,305 senior and caregiver callers in 2008 through the Senior LinkAge Line.

"Their number one reason for calling was health insurance questions," Trusty said. In fiscal year 2009, volunteers logged more than 900 hours dealing with such concerns.

To date, the SRDC's revolving loan fund also has provided about $5.7 million in the form of 107 loans and created or retained more than 1,000 jobs.

"A few loans look like they're going to go south," Trusty said, adding "Even with the economic times, we've been doing pretty good."

Trusty said each dollar invested in the SRDC has a return on investment of $8 to $10.

City Administrator Craig Clark questioned whether the city should be using the organization more fully.

"We work with the city often," Trusty responded, saying that outside of using the group's strategic planning experience, the SRDC was fully utilized as a resource.


In other business, the council on Monday:

- Congratulated Worthington High School sophomore Mubarik Musa and junior O.J. Ojullu on their qualification for the state cross country competition and declared Nov. 10, 2009, (today) as Worthington Trojan Cross Country Day in Worthington.

- Approved an amendment that allows Tax Increment Financing in District No. 11, Okabena Estates, to fund construction of an additional 24-unit housing complex on that property.

- Approved a change order to the Worthington Area YMCA and City of Worthington Aquatics Center in the amount of $59,122.

- Approved a resolution in support of Minnesota West Community and Technical College's bonding proposal for a $4.6 million field house renovation and addition project.

- Approved a request to purchase siding and related materials for the Chautauqua Park bandshell to prevent further damage to the structure and to be funded from the 2009 parks operating budget.

- Approved the 2010 storm sewer fund budget and gave a first reading of an ordinance that would increase the annual storm water utility rate from $204 to $212 per acre of residential property.

- In a special meeting prior to the regular council meeting, the council continued its discussion of whether to hire an additional planning and zoning staff member, requesting that Chapulis develop a job description and goals the department would seek to accomplish with the additional help. They also determined that $46,000 of the $86,000 funneled to Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. through the Economic Development Authority Levy would be subject to EDA oversight. Members also discussed the assessing services contract with the county, saying the city would offer $99,800 instead of the proposed $106,000 amount.


- Approved a special use permit for Casey Ingenthron for property he owns at 1326 Second Ave., with the condition that proper drainage of the property be provided.

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