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City to seek stimulus package money

By Staff | Feb 14, 2009

The $800 billion-plus Economic Stimulus Package could breathe some life into two Winnebago street projects.

And, residents will get a chance to have their say what cuts they think should be made because of expected state aid reductions to the city.

Councilmembers Tuesday night gave City Administrator Jennifer Feely the go-ahead to seek funding for the First Avenue Southeast and Sixth Street Southwest projects estimated to cost $1.43 million.

In November, economic conditions put the street improvements on hold.

Projects funded under the stimulus package have to be considered ‘shovel ready,’ meaning they can be advertised for bids within 30 days.

The full council agreed the Winnebago projects meet the criteria and that Feely should submit an appropriations form.

On another financial matter, councilmembers are seeking public input regarding budget cuts they may have to make.

A public hearing has been scheduled for 7 p.m. on Feb. 24 at the Municipal Center.

“I think that’s the fairest way to do that,” says councilman Bob Weerts.

Under Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s proposed 2010-11 budget, Winnebago would lose $51,273 of $578,934 state aid certified for 2009, and another $107,067 for 2010.

Feely presented the council with a list of proposed general fund budget cuts for 2009 that totaled $79,822. The largest reductions would be $53,000 in the street department and $11,000 from the police budget.

Administrative services would lose $5,000 in funding, fire department $4,500 and ambulance $1,500.

Proposed cuts would save $2,422 in general government and $2,000 in the parks department.

Councilmembers and City Attorney Douglas Johanson went into a closed-session to discuss a possible settlement with Sharron Christian on payment of an EDA loan for $7,161.24.

In conciliation court, a judgment was entered in the city’s favor for $7,221.24.