By Chad Koenen
The New York Mills City Council is hoping to turn $3,200 into more than half a million dollars.
During its regularly scheduled meeting last week, the NY Mills City Council approved a resolution to apply for a Local Road Improvement Program grant that could pay up to 75 percent of the cost of the North Boardman Avenue Reconstruction project. With an approximate cost of $700,000, that means the city could receive $525,000 in state funding to complete the project.
“It’s a relatively low cost for what could be a large reward,” said Michael Weber, of Apex Engineering.
Weber told the council, that the LRIP program is administered by Mn/DOT to fund road improvements in local jurisdictions like townships and city’s. He said the program has not been funded since 2017, but he heard last fall it would be funded again in the next fiscal year. He said Mn/DOT is currently seeking applications for funding and the North Boardman project would fit the types of projects the program is aimed to assist, due to its proximity to Brunswick, Dollar General and several office buildings.
“There is definitely some added value to the community to make these improvements,” said Weber.
Though applying for the funding doesn’t necessarily mean the City of NY Mills will receive state grant funding for the project, Weber said his discussions with people associated with the LRIP grant have resulted in positive comments about the local project.
“There is never any guarantees it will qualify. I tried to prod the program coordinator a little bit and obviously he can’t say yes or no, but he thought it would be a good project,” said Weber.
If the project is approved for grant funding it could result in 75 percent of the cost being paid through a state grant, instead of local taxpayers. Part of the project could also be paid through assessments. With a cost of just $3,200 to apply, councilman Latham Hetland said applying for the grant seemed like a good idea.
“It seems like a really good way to have a road project done without paying for the whole thing,” he said.
In other news
• Heard the liquor store report from City Clerk/Treasurer Julie Roberts. The increase in net revenues over last year was up 137.13 percent and the change over prior year of a percent of sales was 5.54 percent. The increase in revenues were in spite of the on-sale bar being closed for a good portion of 2020 due to COVID-19.
• Heard the fire department responded to 14 calls during the month of December and 221 calls throughout 2020.
• Heard the police department responded to 98 calls in December and issued 3 citations.
• Approved the purchase of a 2021 Ford Utility at a cost of $32,935 as a new squad car.
• Heard the new loader has been delivered and is ready to use. The council also discussed
• Discussed increasing the water and sewer usage rates that was agreed upon in the November 1987 agreement with the City of NY Mills and Newton Township. The agreement states the city can charge 1.5 to 2 times the normal water and sewer usage rates to residents outside of the city limits. Currently that increase was set at 1.5 times the usage rates, but the public works committee recommended increasing that to 2.0 times per the 1987 agreement. The council asked for more information in regards to the need to increase the rates before moving forward.
• Approved seeking bids for replacing the liner at the wastewater ponds after it was damaged by a piece of heavy equipment sliding down the slope last year. The council will seek bids to complete the work, but Weber said the work will need to be completed by a skilled labor contractor due to its PVC geo membrane.
• Acknowledged a $25,000 donation from Brunswick for the softball concession complex project.