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CSAH 21 bond bids to be sought

To finance the CSAH 21 infrastructure project, the Menahga City Council will solicit general obligation improvement bonds of $1,015,000.

The city's financial advisor Todd Hagen of Ehlers & Associates presented the proposed debt to the council earlier this week.

The 15-year bonds prompted council members to ask if an extension to 20 years could reduce assessment payments for residents.

"Five years won't make much of a difference in savings per year," Hagen said.

After doing a rough calculation, council member Joel Mickelson said the savings would be about $37 per year.

"I don't think it's enough," Hagen said. It's better to pay the debt sooner.

Additionally 15-year bonds will be more competitive to investors in today's market, he said.

The council will award the sale of the bonds on Sept. 14 with a closing date of Oct. 1 and payments beginning Aug. 1, 2010.

The council also approved a resolution entering into a Credit Enhancement Program with the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority.

The program allows the city to get a better bond rating and a lower interest rate.

In other business, the council:

-Heard Helenske architects Mike Erickson and Craig Helenske present a revised budget for the Greenwood Connections building expansion project.

The estimated cost is now $8.7 million - $1.3 million less than what was originally proposed.

The architects are proposing a 6,900-drop in square footage in the assisted living apartments.

"The information we're presenting today, we feel is very accurate," Helenske said.

A project of that expense will require an increase in rent for current and prospective residents, the council and the architects agreed.

Rent would need to go up to about $2,400 or $2,200, said council member Kim Rasmussen.

"That's a major difference from what it is now," she said.

Therefore, a feasibility study will be needed and the architects said they could offer that service for about $30,000.

The council made a motion to sign an agreement with Helenske Design Group. The agreement guarantees that the city will work with the firm if it decides to move forward with the project.

-Accepted the Greenwood Connections board recommendation to increase in lieu of taxes payments to the city from $13,000, that was approved last month, to $15,000.

-Heard Greenwood Connections Administrator Clair Erickson report that the board would like to hire an attorney to develop bylaws and that members directed him to find out how much the attorney would charge for the service.

Bylaws were developed at the Heritage Living Center in Park Rapids for purposes of comparable worth, so that the nurses are not paid the same as other city employees, he said.

But when City Administrator Teri Osterman contacted city attorney Jeff Pederson, he said the city would have to give up all budgetary authority for Greenwood Connections.

"The motion is to simply get a quote on how much (the attorney) would charge for developing bylaws," said council member Maxine Norman.

-Agreed to enter into an agreement with Wadena County to maintain and plow snow from County State Aid Highways within the city limits.

The city will get reimbursed $1,600 per mile for maintenance that consists of street sweeping, snow removal, minor pothole patching and crosswalks markings.