BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN Prepared to sell up to $9.33 million in bonds Tuesday evening, Delano City Council members learned the city only needed to sell $8.8 million in bonds.
“They bid a premium,” Springsted Vice President Doug Green said of the winning bidders. “They offer more than we need for additional coupons. We use that as a cash contribution to the project.”
The winning bid included an interest rate of 2 percent and came from Piper Jaffray Companies, in conjunction with Cantor Fitzgerald and Citigroup, which Green said is the largest underwriter in the country. In comparison, the highest bid had an interest rate of 2.25 percent.
The initial bond package included $6.53 million for the 2016 infrastructure improvements, with $4,865,000 for street improvements, $940,000 for water main improvements, $535,000 for sanitary sewer improvements, and $190,000 in storm sewer improvements.
A total of $2.8 million will be used to refund $1.36 million in street reconstruction bonds for a project in 2006, $1.04 million in storm water revenue bonds for a project in 2007, and $400,000 in tax increment bonds for a project in 2009.
The refunding portion saved the city $360,000 in interest, far exceeding the estimated savings of $278,720.
Kern also pointed out that property owners who asked to be assessed for private sewer line projects will pay 2 percent interest on those projects over 10 years, compared to the early estimate of 3 to 4 percent interest.
“Not only are we reaping the benefits financially of such a great bid on these bonds, but we’re going to be able to pass it on to those residents who are making private sanitary sewer improvements,” Kern said.
During the process, the city’s bond rating was affirmed at AA, which Green said is about as good as it can get for a city of Delano’s size.
Alcohol served on public sidewalks
On a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Jack Russek opposed, the council amended city code to allow for alcohol to be served on public sidewalks downtown.
Russek pointed to existing patios at Dave’s Town Club, Lupine Brewing Company, and South Fork Brewing Company, and said, “Basically, what we’re doing this for is one establishment right downtown.”
Sara Beamish, of South Fork, and James Anderle, of Lupine, both voiced support for the change, which was initially requested by Bonde Bistro.
“I’m 100 percent supportive of this change,” Anderle said. “Whether it works out for our business to have outdoor alcohol consumption in front of the building is irrelevant. I think, from our perspective, we’re looking at more of the bigger picture here. The more successful businesses there are in the downtown area, I think the better it is for everybody.”
Beamish echoed that sentiment.
“The fact that I was one of those businesses that had to go through the whole process of getting a conditional use permit and all that, I guess it was poor timing, but I think we need to look at the big picture,” Beamish said. “The big picture is that we want people in the downtown area. I want to make it easier for businesses to do business down here so that they can succeed.”
Councilwoman Betsy Stolfa said Anderle and Beamish addressed her initial hesitation to support the change.
In total, seven people spoke in favor of allowing alcohol service and consumption on public sidewalks.
Councilwoman Holly Schrupp said she had been concerned about ADA accessibility, and asked if umbrellas or shade structures could stick out farther than furniture, which must be set back 5 feet from the curb. City Planner Al Brixius said that requirement would apply to shade structures, as well.
When Stolfa asked if businesses could put their furniture next to the street and allow for a walkway next to their building, Brixius said keeping the furniture next to the building would keep it away from signs and light poles, and allow space for individuals to open their car doors.
Brixius said the existing code regarding furniture on public sidewalks requires furniture to be at least 15 feet from intersections, it cannot impede an adjoining business, it is only allowed from May 1 to Oct. 31, it must be kept in clean and orderly condition, it can only be used from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., it must be insured, it is the owner’s responsibility, and violations or complaints are basis for denial.
Now that alcohol will be allowed, it will be the business’ responsibility to ensure minors do not gain access to alcohol, which must be consumed while sitting on the furniture, and cannot be carried down the sidewalk.
Ken Beamish, of South Fork, indicated the business would be interested in having furniture and alcohol service in front of the business Monday, July 4, and City Administrator Phil Kern said an application could be considered at the council’s workshop Tuesday, June 28.
New Central Park concession building
The council voted unanimously to seek bids for a new concession building at Central Park to replace the existing hamburger stand, pork chop stand, and Boy Scouts pop stand.
The proposed building would include a large, open area measuring 24 feet wide and 62 feet long, and an attached food preparation area measuring 26 feet by 24 feet that could be closed off from the main food service area.
It would be located northeast of the stadium, facing the existing oak trees, and would have service windows on all sides.
“The reason for the location is largely dictated by the oak trees,” Kern said. “The Park and Recreation Commission and the groups that came in, everybody holds those trees pretty sacred and wants to make sure, whatever activity takes place, we protect those trees.”
The commission had considered putting the building further east, near Third Street, but all the groups involved requested it be closer to the stadium.
Kern anticipates beginning construction on the new building in August, with a goal of having it complete by the 4th of July Celebration in 2017.
With the city setting aside about $150,000 in surplus funds from 2014 and another $355,419 in surplus funds from 2015 during Tuesday’s meeting, Kern said the funds for the building would come from those surpluses, though he does not believe it will cost $500,000.
As for the existing buildings, the Park and Recreation Commission has recommended demolishing the hamburger stand and pork chop stand, while the Boy Scouts have asked to move the pop stand offsite.
Kern said the next step is to prepare a site plan.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• annexed two adjacent city-owned parcels of land totaling about 38 acres between the South Fork of the Crow River and Wright County Road 17. A contractor has been using a portion of the site for storage of materials during the infrastructure project. In the future, the land will likely be used for a park, though there are not yet plans in place. When a plan is established, neighboring property owners will be notified and able to provide comments.
• approved two stone signs in the downtown riverfront park. The stones will come from the newly annexed city property and will be engraved by Randy Szarzynski, who engraved the stone Delano signs at the intersection of Highway 12 and Bridge Avenue, at an estimated cost of $2,740. The back of one of the signs will recognize the General Federated Women’s Club of Delano, which donated $15,000 for features such as interpretive signage and a shade structure at the park.
• heard from Tim Litfin about the Tour de Tonka, which will include seven different routes, Saturday, Aug. 6, including a 100-mile route through Delano.
• approved closing Bridge Avenue between River Street and Second Street North for about five hours Saturday, Sept. 24, for a public harvest festival featuring local food.