They still haven’t approved it, but the Northfield School Board needs to make a decision in August regarding whether or not to go back to the voters for a bond referendum for a new elementary school and rehab of Greenvale Park as an Early Childhood Center. Finance Director Val Mertesdorf explained the possible tax impact using something called “Capitalized Interest”. She said, “is essentially asking the voters for a slightly higher bond amount, and we use part of those bond proceeds then to pay off part of the interest for the first couple of years which reduces the tax impact and
the amount that we would have to levy”. Further, she said, “by asking for a slightly higher bond, I think it’s about $2.6 million, that we’re considering, we buy down basically that interest in the first 2 years the tax increase of homeowners and businesses is significantly lower”. With some debt falling off in two years, that means the debt payments will be fairly level, meaning no big ups and downs on property tax bills for the next 4 years. Superintendent Dr. Matt Hillmann said, for a $250,000 home, the tax impact would be about $27 a year in 2019. The 20 year bond would be nearly $41 million, the payback would be about $60 million over the 20 years. One thing he wanted to make clear is that the Board is not considering putting a high school on the ballot this year or for the next several years, “we heard very clearly from the community that that was one of their concerns”. The School Board’s next meeting is August 13th.
Charter and Council still divided
Of about 850 cities in Minnesota, there are 107 that are called Charter cities. Northfield is one of those. Chair Lance Heisler explains, “organizes, impacts, regulates every aspect of city government and what we’re allowed to do in a Charter as a City is we’re allowed to make up our own laws, so to speak, now we can’t make laws that conflict with State statute”. One rule they’ve “wrestled” with is Mayoral oversight of City administration and to report to the Council each term, “it’s a check and balance sort of provision”. Heisler said it was implemented in 2002 but has never been enforced. The Commission has been working on the language of this provision for a couple of years but it has been repeatedly rejected by Council. City council has to vote unanimously to approve an amendment to the Charter, however, it could be taken to the voters in a Referendum. Heisler said, “now that’s a long and laborious process. we prefer that that not happen. It can be expensive, time-consuming. So the best option is, let’s see if we can get together with the City Council and if we can all agree, we’re going to save a lot of time, we’re going to save money and have a document or an amendment that everyone is on board with”. The Charter Commission is designed to be completely separate from the City Council and Mayor. Members are appointed by a judge. There are 7 members, they meet every other month. Heisler said the Charter Commission and City Council will meet in a work session in a couple of weeks. All other Boards and Commissions are appointed by the Mayor.
Vintage Band and Riverwalk Mkt Fair a big hit!
Bridge Square in downtown Northfield was abuzz with brass and all things Vintage Band on Saturday. The Riverwalk Market Fair moved over to allow room for multiple bands to perform and the square was packed with hundreds of people parked on lawn chairs enjoying music, food, arts and more! The music began at 9am with a different band every hour till the last one took the stage at 8:30pm. The Vintage Band Festival beganin 2006 as a 4-day event with performances in outdoor settings all over Northfield and surrounding communities. They happen every 3 years. In the interim is the one-day event only in Northfield. The next four-day festival will be August 10th, 2019.
Burning permit system
The MN DNR will be updating the burning permit system tomorrow. There will be an interruption of service during this update. It is expected that it will take a few hours to accomplish. Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn asks that you attempt your permit on the system. If it does not work, please contact the Sheriff’s Office at 507-334-4391 and let Dispatch know what you are burning, when you will be burning and where you will be burning.