By Tara Mathews
HOWARD LAKE, MN Howard Lake City Council authorized city staff to continue negotiations for a joint powers agreement between Wright County cities for transit, during Tuesday’s meeting.
The move follows termination of negotiations between Wright County and Trailblazer Transit.
The joint powers agreement will allow the cities to work together in establishing a transit program through Trailblazer Transit.
The cities involved in the agreement will have equal voting power despite the size or density of the city, according to City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller.
Howard Lake will be afforded a minimum level of service initially, and cities that currently have service through River Rider are expected to have full service Sept. 1.
Over the next two years, service in Howard Lake will slowly increase, until reaching full service.
Howard Lake will not have any expense until 2015, which is when the city is expected to obtain regular service.
“Current discussions suggest this will cost Howard Lake $2,317 to $3,924 annually, depending on ridership in the future,” Haggenmiller stated.
The city will have the ability to opt out or in with proper notice, without incurring a penalty.
“Howard Lake City Council is less concerned with the politics of the matter than who is capable of providing quality, safe transportation to our residents,” Haggenmiller stated. “Getting residents to neighboring communities and encouraging visitors to our city is important to us. We believe the best course of action available to us at this time is Trailblazer Transit via a joint powers agreement with the other cities in Wright County.”
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• heard from Mayor Pete Zimmerman, who proclaimed that the City of Howard Lake will observe May 9, 2014 as Poppy Day.
• established a tax increment financing plan for parcels in the industrial park. The plan includes the property Midwest Motion will occupy, as well as extra parcels so the city does not need to revisit the matter.
• adopted a resolution to issue conduit financing to Central Minnesota Housing Partnership regarding Shoreline Commons Development in the amount of $920,257.
Because the city is a conduit financier, this will not affect the city’s credit, impact the city financially, or obligate the city for repayment.
• accepted resignation of part-time police officer Rick Chiero.
• approved use of city property for a Crow River Remote Control Spring Float Fly at Memorial Park, and a Good Neighbor Days garage sale on block 18.