BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN When Ventures West, the owners of 57 acres of land west of the West Metro Business Park, started talking about having the property annexed into the city, city officials listened.
Following those talks, the Delano City Council approved the orderly annexation of the property Tuesday.
“The proposal to annex that property comes along with the city’s efforts working with the landowner to combine 12 acres of land with the business park to accommodate two businesses we’re currently working with for 2019 projects,” City Administrator Phil Kern said of an existing purchase agreement.
He explained that the city typically executes annexation by ordinance following a request from a property owner. That route requires an agreement between the city and the township, and comes with a 30-day wait period.
Orderly annexation requires an agreement between the city and the township, but does not require a wait period.
The agreement calls for the city to compensate Franklin Township for three years of taxes that would have been paid, amounting to $5,500 in this case.
The Franklin Township Board approved the agreement Monday.
Now, the city will begin the filing process with the appropriate state authorities.
Delano Municipal Ballpark will receive about $100,000 in improvements in the form of a new backstop and netting.
Following approval by the council, Bauer Design Build will extend the existing steel roof of the grandstand, increasing the height of the backstop to about 30 feet at an estimated cost of $94,998, plus a commitment from the city to spend about $5,000 for netting.
Landscape Structures Inc. had also submitted a bid of $40,000 for a retractable fabric extension of the backstop that would slope toward the field to a height of 26 feet. The city would then be responsible for about $15,000 for footings and site work, plus $5,000 for the netting.
This proposal included a 10-year warranty on the fabric and a 15-year warranty on the steel structure supporting it.
Members of the Delano Athletic Club suggested they would be content with either option, but that the steel roof extension would be more ideal for safety, spectator visibility, and drainage.
Ultimately, the council decided the steel option would last longer and, therefore, be a better value over the course of time, in addition to the advantages stated by Delano Athletic Club members.
Capital improvement project funds will cover the cost of the improvements.
Commercial building fire suppression loan
According to state law, any business expanding its building by more than 2,000 square feet is required to install a fire-suppression system in the new portion.
Kern noted that this is a financial burden for some small businesses.
Therefore, he proposed creating a loan program for commercial and industrial properties under 10,000 square feet looking to expand up to 50 percent of its existing footprint.
This loan would cover the costs associated with providing the building with the additional water service line needed for the fire sprinklers, with the property owner responsible for the cost of the fire-suppression system itself.
There would be no interest on the loan. Repayment would be required three to five years after completion of the improvement, with loan forgiveness if the business continues its operation and payment of property taxes throughout the five-year repayment period.
This loan program would initially be funded by tax abatement funds created by the Delano Crossings development project. In the event that the loan program is under funded or no longer has funds, the city would not be able to continue offering the subsidy.
After hearing the proposal, the council approved the general boundaries of the proposed program.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved the transfer of $704,954 from the general fund to the general capital projects fund, due to a surplus in the fund as a result of increased building permits and budgeting practices.
• approved the placement of stop signs to create a three-way stop at the intersection of Wright County Road 30 and Tiger Drive. City and county staff are also in discussions about the possibility of a mini roundabout at the intersection, with the estimated cost of $250,000 to $300,000 split between the city and the county. Before pursuing that option, staff will monitor the safety and traffic flow of the intersection with stop signs. Safety improvements are happening at that intersection following discussions between representatives of the school, city, and county.
• accepted the 2018 general election returns for the city as submitted by the election judges and declared results of the election for four-year terms for the mayor and city council members.
• approved a no parking zone along Second Street North between the entrance and exit of the Delano City Hall parking lot in order to provide parking for firefighters responding to emergencies, while also providing clearance for fire trucks leaving the fire station. Additional parking restrictions could be added if deemed necessary by city staff.
• approved the purchase of three skid loader attachments from Titan Machinery, of Bloomington, at a cost of $22,124. Attachments will also be able to be used on the sidewalk machine. Funds for the attachments will come from leftover funds from the $325,000 budgeted for a single-axle truck purchased in 2017.
• reviewed a request from the Big Woods Garden Club for an amendment to the Riverfront Park planting plan. The proposal was tabled until council members and the Delano Park and Recreation Commission can review it.
• approved closures of portions of Bridge Avenue East and Second Street near Delano City Hall for Old-Fashioned Christmas. The closures will be extended for the Deladazzle parade that will start at the fire station, proceed down Second Street, turn right onto Bridge Avenue, right onto River Street, right onto Elm Avenue, and then back to Second Street.