The Northfield Council, once again, grappled with street assessments when trying to approve the 2018 projects. A major sticking point this week was Mayor Pownell’s request to lower the assessments on two properties, both religious institutions. Engineering Mgr. Sean Simonson explained that Alternative 2 would adjust the rate at 415 Washington from a multi family zoned mill and overlay rate of $59 per linear foot to a residential zoned rate of $41 per linear foot and for 512 Washington
from a zoned commercial rate of $69 to a residential $41. The change is about $4,000. Councilor Peterson White made a motion for Alternative 1, the resolution that assesses the churches as they are zoned, which she said is policy. She added that, in a community with a large proportion of tax exempt property, Council “should think long and hard before setting this kind of precedent”. She also believes these properties were singled out because they are religious institutions and that’s an “inappropriate reason to assess them differently”. None of the property owners had an issue with their assessments but Pownell says her alternative is more consistent with past practice. Zweifel was in favor of keeping the zoning assessment saying the change should be vetted. Colby felt they should have the discussion in a work session. The first vote for Alternative 1 failed at 3 to 3. After more motions, amendments and robust discussion that included postponing the vote to have a policy discussion, Peterson White said the discussion would be burdened by this one particular issue and “is not a rational way to approach that policy discussion” . After an hour on the item, they came back to Alternative 1. The vote was 5 to 1, with Colby voting no. Northfield rarely has typical lots but staff uses one random lot to determine the cost for each along a street. DeLong said that method “does not work, it’s broken”. The finance policy committee has looked at it but took no action, Administrator Martig said they will get back to it. Here is the LINK to the direct packet information.
Local CAP Cadet Frago wins Soaring Scholarship
The Minnesota Soaring Club was established in 1959! Jay Biggs said they started out with a surplus WWII glider, spent time 1500 hours restoring it and today they own 3 gliders and a tow plane. Members buy-in to the club, they can also sell their share if they leave. Member Phil Schacht’s family donated his share to the club when he passed away for a Memorial Youth scholarship. This year it went to Civil Air Patrol Cadet Christopher Frago. He took his first flying lesson in the 6th grade and it was a glider. He added, “which is not very common and even more uncommon it was a winch launch, which means instead of being towed up by a tow plan, we’re launched straight up the runway by a catapult into the air. It’s quite the rush and got me hooked”. Not many airports have glider training opportunities, but Stanton does. Frago will be taking lessons this summer. CAP and the Soaring Club are both based in Stanton. There will be an open house next Tuesday evening at 7 o’clock. For all the details go to our events calendar online and also listen to the full interview go to kymnradio.net.
NAFRS Joint Powers approves cost allocation change
The NAFRS Joint Powers Board met this morning at the Police Station. They voted to amend the JPA to change cost allocations that lowers Rural’s share while raising the City of Northfield’s by about 3%. They also amended the lease agreement with Northfield for the building. Also on the agenda was further discussion of the McGrath report, something that’s been contentious as they work to figure out a strategy for moving forward. Former Chair Glen Castore and Chair Anne Haddad will be in studio at 8:45 Monday morning. NAFRS agendaMay 17 mtg mat.05142018