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Blue Earth Council approves TIF plan

By Staff | Sep 9, 2018

Members of both the Blue Earth Fire Department and Blue Earth Police Department spoke to the Blue Earth City council regarding budget requests for next year. Above, the BEFD discusses safety equipment.

The Blue Earth City Council says they are moving forward with the tax increment financing (TIF) plan for the Three Sisters.

After a TIF?plan hearing during their regular meeting on Sept. 5, the Council approved moving forward with the Three Sisters TIF plan.

City administrator Tim Ibisch stated the redevelopment TIF?has a lifespan of 26 years and the Three Sisters buildings have met the financial renovation criteria for the TIF plan with the city controlling the process of that plan.

“This creates the TIF plan, which covers the whole city and the TIF?parcels can be purchased. It works as an internal process at the city level,” stated Ibisch. “I think this is worth creating. We’re creating a planned district for the entire community which means that, in the future, if we want to TIF?other areas of town, we can add those additional parcels into the TIF and won’t have as much cost involved. I think this will be beneficial to the community long-term.”

In another hearing on the council’s docket, two dogs deemed potentially dangerous by the city of Blue Earth earlier this year were brought up after another incident.

Todd Schmidtke was present to account for his daughter Jenna and son TJ, both whom were not present and have ownership of the dogs involved.

Police reports state a mail carrier went up to the Schmidtke property to deliver mail, and both an English spaniel and a golden retriever/lab mix showed their teeth aggressively and chased the mail carrier beyond the property line. The report indicates that neither of the dogs were leashed. It was brought up in council that the two dogs were also not licensed at the time, but are now currently licensed.

Councilman Glenn Gaylord addressed Schmidtke, asking why the council should overturn the decision of deeming the dogs dangerous.

“These dogs are usually super friendly, and have never bitten anyone. I think they have always been a bit spooked by mailmen,” said Schmidtke. “I do know Tanner Nawrocki was left in charge of the dogs, so I’m not sure what happened.”

“I guess I just want some assurance this won’t happen again,” said Gaylord. “I mean, it may be one thing to chase off the mailman, but what if that was some kid biking around the neighborhood? Then we would have a serious issue. If we overturn this and someone does get seriously hurt, then it’s on us.”

Council member Russ Erichsrud pointed out an issue that the dogs in question were deemed potentially dangerous and perhaps the council should deem them dangerous.

After some conversation, the council decided to continue the hearing to a later date in order for Jenna Schmidtke and TJ Schmidtke to be personally present at the hearing regarding the dogs they own.

During their meeting, the council also discussed the issue of an increase in recycling fees, along with the progress of the dumpster rental program.

With regards to recycling, an amendment to the recycling contract with B&B Sanitation was approved by the city, changing its rates from $3.80 to $4.35, as well as amending the timeframe for the contract.

The city launched a program earlier this year allowing the rental of dumpsters for one week to properties interested.

“We’ve gotten great feedback from this program,” stated Ibisch.?”We are almost booked to the end of the year with dumpsters.”

The program has been going so well, the council decided to approve increasing the city’s dumpster capacity from four to eight, while increasing the city dumpster fee from $1 to $2 to support the cost of the added dumpsters.

The Blue Earth City Council also heard from city engineer Wes Brown, who stated rain has delayed many of the projects going on in town. Brown stated the pipework for the new housing development is almost completed with a target date of Oct. 31, a two month delay from the original Aug. 31 completion date.

The 13th and Moore Street project has also been pushed to Oct. 31 due to heavy rains and inclement weather, though Brown says the city has completed its seal coating for its streets for the season.

In their meeting the council also:

Approved placing the Blue Earth Community Pool slide update on their preliminary levy for 2019,

Passed a motion allowing a conditional use permit for Chris and Amy Gack, two commercial property owners who requested using a section of their commercial property as an apartment,

Spoke with both the Blue Earth Police and Fire Departments on their budget requests for the upcoming year. The BEFD presented information on new AirPacs for the crew, which will need to be updated.