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W’bago council allocates more CARES funds

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Nov 15, 2020

The Winnebago City Council met on Tuesday, Nov. 10, and spent some time allocating more of the money the city had received through the CARES Act.

Emily Davis, who works for CEDA (Community and Economic Development Associates) as the Community Workforce coordinator, was at the meeting to request $5,000 from the council to help keep the Workforce program funded through 2022.

The Workforce program is designed to expose students at Blue Earth Area and United South Central High Schools to careers which are available in Faribault County. It also encourages students to come back to the county to find a job when they are through with their schooling.

Because the council still has excess CARES funds to distribute, it was decided to allocate $10,000 to the program.

The council also authorized spending $6,202.14 of CARES money for the purchase of two new Toughbook laptops for Winnebago Ambulance. The two computers will replace old computers currently used in the ambulances.

In other financial matters, the council authorized payment of pay estimate No. 18 of the Northwest Street and Utility Improvement Project for the amount of $418,634.35, payable to Holtmeier Construction.

The council also put into action a plan to refinance a General Obligation bond.

A motion was approved to proceed with a bond sale as long as the savings are at least $35,000 or more over the seven-year period of the bond.

A recommendation was brought to the council by the Winnebago Economic Development Authority asking the council to approve an increase in the CEDA contract to two days per week (instead of one) for the next six months. The recommendation, which was approved by the council, calls for cost of the increase to be split equally between the city and the EDA.

“The reason the extra time is needed is so EDA staff can support the buyers of Corn Plus,” EDA specialist Annie Leibel said. “We want to help Greenfield Global get state grants and other tax incentives as they work towards reopening the ethanol facility.”

The council also dealt with a number of personnel issues.

A vote was taken approving the hiring of Judi Hynes for the position of Deputy City Clerk. Her starting wage will be $21 per hour.

The council voted to raise the annual pay for ambulance officers.

The captain was raised from $1,400 to $1,800, the vice-captain from $1,300 to $1,600, the scheduler from $1,200 to $1,400, the Secretary/HPPA officer from $400 to $600, the maintenance officer from $600 to $800 and the training officer from $400 to $600.

In other business:

• Three new fire fighters were hired by the city on a probationary status. They are Dakota Arbreiter, Jacob Pettit and Reed Stauffer.

• The council also hired Kaitlyn Enevold as a new member of the ambulance crew.

• Hunter Williams and James Johannsen were hired as part-time police officers.

• The council adopted a motion requesting Faribault County to sell to the city of Winnebago two tax-forfeited parcels for a total of $2. The parcel numbers are 31.200.3060 and 31.200.6980.

• The Truth in Taxation meeting was set for Dec. 8, at 7 p.m.