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BREAKING NEWS

BE says ‘yes’ to $450K truck loan

By Staff | May 24, 2020

The Blue Earth City Council met on May 18 and voted to move forward with a loan and a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture for the purchase of a new fire truck. The loan is for $450,000.

At their meeting last Monday night, May 18, the Blue Earth City Council voted to go ahead with a loan and a grant from the USDA for the purchase of a new fire truck.

The loan would be for $450,000 at 2.375 percent interest over 20 years. Plus, the city will be receiving a $50,000 grant from the USDA Rural Development Fund.

The city’s share of the purchase of the truck would be $55,000, bringing the total of funding for the new fire truck to $555,000.

Laurie Balata of the USDA, on telephone conference call during the meeting, went over all of the conditions of the loan and grant during the first hour of the two-hour council meeting.

The loan would be paid back in annual payments of $28,530 over the next 20 years. In addition, as part of the agreement, the city would make monthly payments of $237.75 in order to build up a one year’s payment reserve fund.

The council agreed to all of the documentation in one vote, then also voted unanimously to proceed with, and sign, the loan agreement itself, which is from the USDA Community Facility Rural Development Improvement funds.

In other business at Monday’s regular meeting, the council:

Heard a phone conference update from city engineer Wes Brown concerning several projects in the city.

The North Sailor Street project from last year is getting wrapped up this spring, Brown said. A pay estimate of $66,218 was authorized to be made to the contractor. The total project cost was over $1.5 million.

The South Sailor Street Project for this summer is well underway with the pavement removed and the new sewer lines expected to begin being installed later this week.

The Leland Parkway Project is also underway, with pavement removed from Main Street to Highway 169, which is phase one of the work.

The council also decided to wait on the purchase of a sewer grinder pump which would be used to attach a home at 607 Sailor Street to the city sewer system.

The bid for the grinder and the installation work was $30,050, and the cost would be assessed to the homeowner. The council wanted to make sure the property owner agreed to the cost before proceeding.

Brown said the house was not hooked up to the city system in the past and was dumping sewage directly into the Blue Earth River.

Agreed to go along with a new GIS mapping system at a cost of $12,000. It would have all the properties in town, utility lines, etc., available on maps on the GIS website.

Heard from Public Works supervisor Jamison Holland that the wastewater plant worked well during a recent rainstorm.

“We had 3.58 inches of rain at the plant,” Holland said. “It still caused a big surge through the plant, but it did not last as long as in the past before the plant was upgraded.

Holland also said the wastewater treatment plant was recently the recipient of a state Wastewater Treatment Facility Operational Award from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The council also approved the hiring of Denise Karau as the new Blue Earth Campground Host, and Devin Stephens as a seasonal full time Public Works Department employee.

Discussed when to open the swimming pool and fitness center, but no definite date was set, and the council will wait to see what the governor allows.

The council discussed how other area cities are also waiting to see what the governor will say before they open their pools.

The council heard a report from swimming pool manager Michelle Hall who was attending the meeting by phone conference call. She explained a plan where swimming lessons could be held while maintaining social distance protocols.

Learned that the city’s new sales tax has been bringing in between $20,000 to $25,000 per month since it started in October of 2019, for a total of $95,538.

The money has been designated to go into the city street project fund.

Discussed the issue of the cleaning and maintenance at the Ag Center in light of the resignation of Terry Davis.

There have been two applications for the position and the council also discussed having a professional cleaning person also come in to do a deep clean occasionally.