Tricounty News

Kimball council purchases water tower mixer

At its July 15 meeting, the Kimball city council agreed to purchase a water tower mixer from Utility Service Group at a cost of $18,500. (The water tower maintenance contract was put on hold for now.)

Heritage House of Kimball came to discuss their plans to flip their expansion plan and build to the south; there will be fewer restrictions, and it’s better use of the space. They have purchased Aqua Lanes, which will be torn down, and this is where their expansion will go. Because of the change in plan, they will get started on construction a little later than they’d planned. The north side of the existing building, and all the trees there, will not be changed.

Rich Janski rents the three irrigation fields from the city for crop land. One of the fields was planted in hay, as required by the MPCA. Because of the wet winter/spring, and residents running their taps to prevent freezing, there has been more irrigation than usual on this field and a fungus has developed. Janski anticipates possibly half a crop there this year, instead of the two to three crops he feels he could get. He is asking the council to pay for his lost crop. He wants to be reimbursed field rent and alfalfa seed (about $20,000). The council will consult with the city attorney.


Update on revenue, local broadband and more

Minnesota Management and Budget announced revenues for April, May and June were $235 million more than previously forecast.

It was good to recently hear that state revenue exceeded expectations for the last three months of the fiscal year after a few months of disappointing reports.

But there is another side to that taxpayer coin. Of that $235 million, $181 million came from individual income taxes. A reason for that could be that people were holding tight on paying their tax bill until near the Aug. 15 deadline after getting dinged by the tax increases that hit them in 2013. That was the year our taxes were raised by around $2 billion. Also, reports indicate refunds paid back to taxpayers were less than projected.

One thing to keep an eye on is that corporate taxes were $53 million less than projected. Why is this the case? Is this a natural swing? Are companies adjusting their operations in response to the tax increases? We will find out.


Eurasian watermilfoil discovered in Middle Spunk Lake in Stearns County

Eurasian watermilfoil has been discovered growing in Middle Spunk Lake near Avon in Stearns County, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

The nonnative, invasive aquatic plant was discovered rooted at various locations along the eastern side of the lake to a depth of nearly 12 feet. The highest densities were found near the public beach and public water access on the northeast shore; the plant was found matted on the surface in other areas as well.

Follow-up inspections were done on both Lower Spunk Lake and Upper Spunk, because of their proximity to Middle Spunk Lake. Eurasian watermilfoil was not found in either of the adjacent lakes after visual inspection.


Take a Day OFF* at the Stearns County Mississippi River Park

One of Central Minnesota’s premiere outdoor events is returning for its sixth consecutive year Saturday, Aug 2, at Stearns County’s Mississippi River Park.

Take a Day OFF* (Outdoor Family Fun) on the Mississippi River will provide families with a chance to experience a variety of outdoorW-DNR-PWELCTake-a-Day-OFF-200021932011 recreational and nature educational activities. The event will include canoeing, fishing, paddle sports, geocaching, archery, live reptiles, make and take projects for kids and much more. No experience is necessary, equipment is provided, and activities are FREE. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2.

The event will include two special canoe paddles down a 5 mile stretch on of one of Minnesota’s most precious resources, the Mississippi River. Paddle participants must be registered and ready to load the bus at 10:30 a.m. and
2:15 p.m. Space is limited and registration is required at the event. There will be a special presentation by Pine Creek Kennels and MN DNR aquatic invasive species dog, Redgie at 1 p.m.


EV-W adds section of kindergarten

More additions may be made next month

At last month’s Eden Valley-Watkins school board meeting, anticipated class sizes at the elementary school were discussed. Several classes (kindergarten, fourth and fifth grades) were on the edge of being large, but no decision was made to add teachers then. At the July 9 board meeting, it was decided to add one kindergarten section for the 2014-15 school year. There now will be four sections of kindergarten with an expected 20 students in each class. Fourth and fifth grade will be considered at the Aug. 6 meeting, and teachers will be added then if deemed necessary. (Student numbers fluctuate up to, and even after, the beginning day of school.)

Routine administrative assignments were made for the coming school year, including newspaper (the Voice), and banks (State Bank in Eden Valley, and Farmers State Bank of Watkins). 

The bid from Arvig Communications had been accepted for a new phone system for the district. At $51,274, the system should be installed next week, and staff trained in time for the coming school year. Although not budgeted for, the district will recoup much of the cost in savings by not having to pay for a T1 line connecting the buildings. The new system will have a number of safety and security features for the schools, and its expected lifetime is 10 years.