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Winsted gets an extra $2M in grant funding
Sept. 8, 2017

By Starrla Cray
Associate Editor

WINSTED – The City of Winsted didn’t win the lottery, but it may have felt a little like that at the Winsted City Council meeting Sept. 5.

The city received $4,214,853 in grant funding for wastewater treatment plant upgrades, which is $2,014,853 higher than initially expected.

“It’s very good news,” City Administrator Dan Tienter said.

Sewer utility rates had been expected to rise significantly in upcoming years due to the expense of the upgrades, but now the increase will not need to be as high. The exact figures will be analyzed as part of the 2018 recommended budget.

“The bottom line is, the real winners are the businesses and the citizens of Winsted,” Council Member Tom Ollig said.

The city’s application for the point source implementation grant (PSIG) was submitted in July 2016. At that time, the city expected to receive up to 50 percent of eligible project costs (up to a maximum of $3 million), for a total grant of about $2.2 million.

Due to delays in project permitting as the result of legal challenges, a lack of state funding, and modifications to the PSIG program during the most recent legislative session, the city didn’t fully execute the PSIG agreement.

Because of this, the city was eligible for PSIG funding under the recently revised program, which allows for grants of up to 80 percent of eligible project costs, up to a maximum of $7 million.

Expenses incurred after May 31 that weren’t otherwise supported by local bond proceeds were eligible. Tienter noted that the city’s engineering firm, Bolton & Menk – specifically engineer Seth Peterson – has been “outstanding” in the effort to capture funding through the PSIG program.

No action was required by the council in order to accept the revised PSIG agreement.

McLeod County Road 116

At a work session before the regular meeting, the council discussed McLeod County’s plan to improve McLeod County Road 116 in Winsted in about five years, pending approval from the county board.

During this project, Winsted may have an opportunity to complete other related/nearby improvements, such as downtown architectural/mobility improvements, Campbell Field drainage improvements, water quality infrastructure enhancements, and a possible mill and overlay of Main Avenue.

The council determined that it would most likely not include Main Avenue in the project, but would be interested in finding out costs/details for the other project elements.

McLeod County plans to contribute significant funding to the project, pending approval from the county board. The city may also be able to obtain grants for certain elements of the project.

The council discussed the possibility of McLeod County Road 116 being turned over to local control in the future.

Budget update

The work session also included a brief discussion regarding the recommended 2018 general fund budget. Later this month, the council plans to adopt a preliminary budget that’s 5.32 percent higher than last year. The final budget, which is adopted in December, can be the same or lower than that amount. As is, the impact for the average homeowner in Winsted would be an additional $63 per year.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• went into closed session to discuss the “purchase or sale of real or personal property” in regards to property identification numbers 21.011.1500 and 21.011.1600. According to tax records, the first property is a .1-acre parcel previously owned by Sunil Sapatnekar (now owned by the state of Minnesota), and the second is a parcel at 121 Baker Ave. owned by Jerome Horstmann.

• approved a quote from Braun Intertec in the amount of $3,335 for sediment sample testing for the Westgate pond cleaning project.

• adopted a resolution that authorizes financial assistance from the Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics for maintenance and operation activities at the Winsted Municipal Airport for state fiscal year 2018 and 2019.

• adopted a resolution correcting a clerical typographical error regarding the maximum side wall height of a detached accessory structure.

• adopted three resolutions relating to the land surrounding St. Mary’s Care Center, including approving the planned unit development preliminary and final plan; approving the preliminary plat; and approving the final plat. The area now is divided into four lots, consisting of the clinic, the care center, the assisted living facility, and a vacant parcel. The purpose of the change is administrative, in order to make the property more attractive for potential buyers.

• heard that seven companies submitted quotes for the city’s website redevelopment project. Interviews are expected to take place Wednesday, Sept. 13.

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