St. Michael EDA recommends business assistance program

The St. Michael Economic Development Authority (EDA) recommended the city council approve a business assistance program, but the council wants more information.

The council also heard an update about the Crow River Improvement Project, and took action to save $400,000 in bond interest.



Community development director Marc Weigle said the EDA recommended approval of a Business Rent Reimbursement program to help new businesses considering to move into a commercial building.

Weigle said the EDA thought the program could give the city an advantage over other cities for businesses looking to more into the area, or could help existing businesses make a move into commercial property.

Mayor Jerry Zachman and councilors Kevin Kasel, Joe Marx, Nadine Schoen and Chris Schumm expressed concerns with subsidizing new businesses that could potentially compete against existing businesses.

The council agreed to discuss the program at a future work session meeting.

In other EDA-related news, Weigle said he has been working with a potential day care use that is interested in city-owned property at the northwest corner of County Rd. 19 and Hwy. 241, but said the EDA is not willing to reduce the land price below current market value.

The council agreed that the land price should not be reduced … again stating it does not want to subsidize one business that is competing against other existing businesses.



In other matters, city administrator Steve Bot updated the council about the Crow River Improvement Project.

In addition to the final project plans, the council was also provided with updated contracts and a funding agreement between the city, Crow River Organization of Water, and the Wright County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Bot said a pre-engineering meeting is mandatory for all bidders and will explain specifics of the project and make sure bidders know what is all required.

The council approved the plan and ordered bids for the project, and approved a cost-sharing agreement.



In further news, the council heard from a financial consultant regarding a potential refunding of two bonds, which would be combined into one bond for a total of $3.44 million.

The interest savings by refunding both bonds is more than $400,000 during the life of the bonds. The consultant said the refunding does not extend the terms of the bonds further, but only saves on the interest costs.

The council unanimously adopted a resolution ordering a public hearing on adoption of a capital improvement plan and issuance of general obligation capital improvement bonds.

In other action, the council:

PROCLAIMED Sept. 23 through 29 as Minnesota Women of Today Week.

HEARD that an environmental consultant is working on surveying and testing for hazardous materials at 105 and 109 Central Ave., and that once a report is complete, the city will move forward with removing hazardous materials and demolishing the buildings.

HEARD from Mayor Zachman and councilor Schoen that they recently went on a lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., to urge for support of Interstate 94 corridor improvement.

-Compiled by Aaron Brom