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W’bago works on creating new tech school

By Staff | Nov 18, 2018

The future use of the former high school and the northwest area street project garnered most of the attention at the Winnebago City Council meeting held last Tuesday evening.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Bob Weerts updated the council on the progress being made regarding possible uses for the school.

Weerts, his wife Jennifer, council member Jean Anderson and city administrator Chris Ziegler have taken tours of the Fairmont High School vocational wing as well as South Central College.

It was noted by Weerts that Zierke Built Manufacturing of Fairmont has already hired 13 students out of the Fairmont program.

South Central College has started building their own mobile labs that they can transport off-site to aid in teaching specific vocations. This is something that could possibly be utilized in Winnebago.

The actual purchase of the school has not been completed.

The council reviewed the preliminary purchase agreement and felt there were some items that needed to be addressed.

One of the major items of concern was the use of the gymnasium for the Blue Earth Area High School gymnastics program.

It was felt that an ending date needed to be specified in the agreement so that both parties had a clear understanding of how long BEA would be able to use the gym.

The council also expressed the need to clarify the issue of liability insurance regarding the gymnasts using the facilities. David Frundt, the city attorney, will discuss these issues with the BEA School Board or their representative.

Also at the meeting, Judd Schultz, Housing Services director for the Minnesota Valley Action Council, Inc. (MVAC), was on hand to get council approval on a number of items necessary for the Small Cities Development Program to continue going forward.

MVAC is the grant administrator for the program and therefore will be handling the disbursement of the money to the city.

Travis Winter, the city engineer, also presented some preliminary estimates on the per household cost of the Northwest Street Reconstruction Project.

The projected average yearly outlay for those having property within the project area is $640. Those owning property outside of the project area would have an average yearly expense of $287. These expenditures would run over a 20 year period.

An open house will be held at 5 p.m. on Nov. 27 to present the estimates and get feedback from the community. A special council meeting will follow the open house and will be held at 7 p.m. The council could potentially award the bid at this meeting.

In other business, the Winnebago City Council:

Approved Resolution 664-2018 transferring assets from Morgan Stanley to the 4M fund, which is affiliated with the League of Minnesota Cities.

Ziegler explained that Morgan Stanley has opted to leave the governmental securities market thus prompting the need for a new broker.

The council canvassed the local election results.

Jeremiah Schutt was elected mayor. Calvin Howard and Paul M. Eisenmenger were elected to the City Council.

Fiscal Agent agreements with the Winnebago Area Musical Players, the Winnebago Kids Fund and the Veteran’s Memorial were all renewed.

Voted to purchase a new 2019 Chevy Explorer from Blake Greenfield of Wells at a cost of $37,537 for the police department. The additional build price of $6,988.48 to bring the vehicle up to law enforcement specifications was also approved.

Approved resolution 665-2018 authorizing membership in the Minnesota Environmental Science and Economic Review Board.

This board deals with cities and public entities on water quality, economic and legal issues. MESERB has processes and staff in place to be able to effectively respond to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which issues Winnebago’s wastewater permit, if the permit is too restrictive or not based on sound science.

Received a report on Officer Emily Bonin. Chief Eric Olson reported that Officer Bonin has been with the department for four years. She is doing well at her job and has planned events like the National Night Out and Bike Safety.

The council approved the recommendation that she be moved to the next step on the pay scale.