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Loan forgiveness among city council agenda items on Monday

The Worthington City Council, during its 7 p.m. Monday evening meeting, will consider action that will use American Rescue Plan Act funds to offset COVID-related public transportation ridership shortfalls.

COVID has affected ridership in local public transportation, leading to funding shortfalls. Changes in the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Public Transportation program has reduced funds available to offset these shortfalls, leaving public transportation -- including the local taxi provider -- challenged to continue service.

Members of the Joint Powers Transit Authority (JPTA) recommended earlier this month that the city of Worthington and Nobles County each contribute up to $2,500 per month of American Rescue Plan Act funds for the months of September through December 2021. The Nobles County Board of Commissioners approved similar action, contingent on city approval, during its Sept. 21 meeting.

In a separate business item, council members will consider a request from Darlene Vortherms on behalf of PurNet Real Estate, LLC for partial forgiveness of a loan granted in September 2015.

The city loaned PurNet $142,120 on Sept. 15, 2015 for a term of 20 years at 5.0% interest to generally assist in financing the project. The developer -- Vortherms -- is requesting the city accept a final payment of $66,359.96 (approximately 59% of the remaining loan balance) and forgive the remaining $46,797.41. Vorthems sold Purnet on Sept. 1, 2018, but retained ownership of the company's building, which she's now hoping to sell.

Also on Monday, the council is expected to award a bid for the 27th Street Extension project, which involves reconstruction of a 1,270-foot segment of street from 1,300 feet to 2,570 feet west of U.S. 59. The project shall include grading the roadway, placing aggregate base, constructing a 32-foot concrete surface and turf establishment.

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