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Annexation of Blue Line Junction property still in the works

The Worthington City Council on Monday night discussed options regarding annexation of Blue Line Junction and surrounding property owned by Larry Potter. City staff was following up on the matter following conversation that took place during a special May council meeting.

City Planner Matt Selof explained to the council that annexation is possible. City staff has determined this area is within an orderly annexation agreement with Lorain Township, and the next steps would be to verify that agreement and proceed with annexation.

Selof reported that he spoke with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and found that there would be no issue with putting “household” waste into the existing industrial sewer line to the east. Pending annexation, the council could give the directive to proceed with an agreement allowing Blue Line Junction to connect to this line.

It was also noted that while the additional sewer load would be minimal, this industrial line is already overburdened. The city is looking at future plans to alleviate that, but there is currently no timeline for any projects to resolve the overcapacity issue.

No formal votes were taken on the matter, but Selof was directed to further explore annexation and a possible connection with the industrial sewer line to the east.

In another matter, council members voted to engage the services of JJ Lopez Enterprises LLC for work including incorporating new and existing rental housing data into the city’s data base. The work shall be performed on an hourly basis at a rate of $60 hour for a total fee not to exceed $24,000. The term of this agreement shall begin on or about Sept. 6 and terminate on or about Jan. 20, 2023.

The council also approved a Nobles Home Initiative (NHI) application submitted by Brad and Sheryl Hoekstra. The applicant is seeking approval of tax abatement for the construction of a single-family home on Lot 1, Block 2, Woodland Ridge Addition.

A resolution was also passed Monday urging Gov. Tim Walz to declare a special session to pass bonding and tax bills. The Minnesota Legislature was unsuccessful in passing such bills during the 2022 Legislative session. It was noted that the tax bill includes increased appropriations for Local Government Aid (LGA), which is an essential program to help restrain local property taxes in many Minnesota cities.

In other matters, the council:

* Recognized city staff who received 2021 Longevity Awards. With 10 years of service are Gretchen Block, Joe Joswiak, Kevin Prins and Mark Riley. With 15 years are Kirk Feit, Keith Heidebrink and Josh McCuen. With 20 years is Jeremy Braaksma. With 25 years are Troy Appel, Vida Iten, Deb Olsen, Nancy Veen and Todd Wietzema.

* Approved a proposal from the engineering firm Short Elliott Hendrickson to complete design work for roof replacement for the maintenance hangar at Worthington Municipal Airport. The proposal for these design and construction services calls for a lump sum fee of $13,300.

* Heard a presentation from Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center Managing Director Tammy Makram about the upcoming season of shows at the facility.

Additionally, the city’s Economic Development Authority members also approved a pair of applications for the Façade Improvement Matching Grant Program.

Dan Krueger had submitted an application for the program on behalf of DK Buildings LLC, which owns the building at 416 10th St. that currently houses The Globe. The rehabilitation work includes replacing front windows, the door and new flashing. The business is currently zoned ‘B-2’ and eligible for a 1:1 match for eligible improvements as defined by the program’s requirements. A bid received for the work was $21,289.90, which was enough to qualify for a full $10,000 match.

Also, Maria Thier on behalf of T&H Real Estate submitted an application for the Façade Improvement Matching Grant Program for work to be done at Laundry on 10th at 211 10th St. The proposed work includes painting the exterior of the building, trim and edging, and repair work to the built-in awning. The business is currently zoned ‘B-2’ and eligible for a 1:1 match for eligible improvements. Two bids were received for the project, with low bid being $6,976. The maximum eligible amount of $3,488 was awarded.

In other EDA business, the city was granted a 10-foot easement along the northern property line of the new Cemstone site, as well as a 50- foot stormwater/drainage easement along the south and part of the west side of the site and an easement over a stormwater pond to the southeast. The city council also approved the same easements as required.

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