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October 17, 2013     Tri-County News
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October 17, 2013
 

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PAGE 20 Thursday, October 17, 2013 ....... www.tricountynews.mn .~!i!i !ii~! ~!iii!iiiii!i!i!~ il i!i~: 9 .y Jean Doran Matua Editor The 2004B bond (for building facility improvements at the Eden Valley-Watkins schools in 2004) was sold Oct. 9, 2013. This was announced at the school board meeting that day. Approved at the previous meeting, the sale actually saved more than anticipated: more than $367,456. There were nine bidders (which is good), and the winning bid was from UMB Bank in Kansas City, Mo., with an interest rate of 1.65 percent (the current rates are 3.9 to 4.375 percent). The bond total is $4.07 million. The sale will close Nov. 6. District taxpayers will save $52,000 a year beginning next year. Because of the late date of the sale, these savings are not included in the proposed levy for 2014, but it will be reflected in 2014 tax bills. German students One of the teachers and two stu- dents from Germany were present at the Oct. 9 board meeting. Each of them expressed their thanks for the opportunity, and to express what a wonderful time they've been having. Systems Accountability Report Sharon Borgert, Curriculum Director, presented the 2013 Sys- tems Accountability (PER) report. Students in the district continue to perform above the state aver- age. EV-W graduation rate (93.10) and attendance rate (96.41) also are above state average. Borgert explained that schools are assessed on a different scale than previously, the Multiple Measures Rating (MMR) is used now to rate proficiency, growth, achievement gap reduction, and high school graduation rate. Based on the MMR score for the elemen- tary school (59.47 percent), the school is eligible to apply to be a Celebration school; this would be the second year for EV-W Elemen- tary. (The high school is not a Title I school and therefore not eligible.) Math proficiency for EV-W students is above the state aver- age (71.4 percent) at all grade lev- els. EV-W scores in reading were slightly above the state average (58.5 percent). In science, EV-W fifth- and tenth-grade students outperformed state averages; fifth- graders scored nearly 30 percent above state average. Grade 8 scored below state level, however. Science teachers will meet to find out why scores Were low. Borgert explained that test scores this year cannot effectively be compared with previous years as the state has changed the test. This year's tests are more difficult, and both school and state scores are down considerably. Other actions The board has approved the 2013-16 transportation contract with Eden Valley School Bus Lines and Dockendorf Bus Service, Inc. The contract allows for an annual increase of two percent; extra- curricular transportation remains the same as the current contract. A contract has not yet been reached with the teachers; their next negotiations meeting is Oct. 21. The board approved the 2013-18 Strategic Plan, and the list of School Board Goals for 2013-14. Construction is winding down, but there are still projects that have not been accepted (notably the caf- eteria floor inthe Eden Valley ele- mentary school); these will not be paid until completed to the dis- trict's satisfaction. Snow removal bid was granted to Stockinger Lawnscape for the Watkins Elementary School, and Thielen Excavating for the Eden Valley schools. School staff will take care of small snowfalls, and these contractors will take care of larger snowfalls. The district, like all school dis- tricts, is nearing audit time. The district is preparing its certified levy. The district can levy up to 105 percent without going to the vot- ers; once the levy is set, it can always be lowered but cannot be raised. The district is displeased with the service from the Southwest Edu- cation District, with the coordina- tor and other personnel changing so often. Also, their only training is in W'lllmar. The district is considering a change to Benton-Stearns which is closer and possibly offers more con- tinuity of service. The-district has agreed to pay the $1,800 royalties so that the school can perform the musical "Annie!" in May; in return, the dis- trict will get the first $1,800 in reve- nues from selling tickets. The next meeting of the EVoW school board-is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13. Meetings are open to the public, and a pub- lic forum (opportunity to discuss issues with board members) is a half hour before the meeting. Jean Doran Matua Editor At_ its Oct. 10 meeting, the Watkins city council approved the purchase and installation of play- ground equipment for a portion of the new V.F.W. Park in Glenshire Estates on the west side of town. The playground area is 33 x 89 feet, and the equipment, installation, and finishing will cost $19,636; the vendor is Midwest,Playscapes in Chaska. The Parks committee has the funds to pay this, and the purchase will be made after Jan. 1, through the City. Sheriff's report Deputy Josh Case reported that there were 47 calls in September including 11 traffic stops. There has been one more theft by check (after a number of them last month in the area). There was a suicide in town Tuesday afternoon, and he wanted to clarify that there was no danger to anyone else (after rumors were flying over text messages and the like). Because Meeker County is identified as one of the 13 deadli- est counties in the state, the Sher- iff's Office will participate in Safe & Sober patrols for seatbelt use over the next month. CentraSota CUP A Conditional Use Permit was approved by the zoning board and was scheduled for approval at the Oct. 10 meeting. One council mem- ber was missing, however, so no action could be taken (full council vote was required). This issue was recessed for a short meeting Tues- 'day evening, Oct. 15, for full board approval. CentraSota plans to add two million-gallon tanks on its prop- erty in Watkins. The new tanks will be the safer tank-within-a-tank design. Ambulance report The new oxygen tanks are installed and working well. There are only two paid employees for Watkins Ambulance: a clerk/trea- surer, and the state data entry per- son; all others are volunteers. Pool report Needed repairs have been made to the south wall of the pool, and it is believed that the costly leak has been stopped. The pool is now filled to the proper level of water for the winter. With the addition of $12,761 in donations this year (over $500 last year), and with increased usage, the pool took in $37,817 in 2013. There was a lot of overtime this year which ate into revenues (and the council will look into prevent- ing that for next year). Net loss to the city this year was $36,131, slightly less than last year's $36,839 loss. All in all, it was felt to be a very good year for the city swimming pool this year. There was $216 in concessions (candy, bottled water, and pop) leftover from this season. They were split between the Watkins Ambulance and the Watkins Lions. Meeting time change (not) The council usually changes its meeting time to 6 p.m. during the fall and winter months, and was scheduled to begin with Novem- ber's meeting. Instead, the council unanimously decided to keep the meeting time at 7 p.m. throughout the year. Other business In other business, the coun- cil approved appointment of Fire Chief Walter Kramer and Assis- tant Chief Bruce Walz. There are four delinquent water bills; they were approved to be certified to the property owners' 2014 prop- erty taxes, the same for lawn care charges not paid. Mark Wirz was added to the Board of Adjustments, and Mike Grunewald to the Planning Commission. Finalization of the 2014 pro- posed budget and levy was tabled as they only recently received important data from the county. Cuts still need to be made, but not as drastically as they thought. This will be discussed at the next regu- lar meeting which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14. Meet- ings are open to the public, and the council in October changed "open forum" to the beginning of the meeting; no action can be taken, but the council will hear any issues from the public at that time. sets specia Jean Doran Matua Editor .y The council has set Jan. 28, 2014, as the date of the special election to fill the council seat vacated by Cheryl Thielen (she moved away). At the beginning of its Oct. 9 Prospective candidates may file meeting, Jeff Bradshaw was sworn with the city clerk between Nov. 19 in as the newest member of the and Dec. 3. Eden Valley city council. There was discussion about the The financing for thisyear's por- sidewalk ordinance in town. The tion of the street (water and sewer primary concern is about sand- repairs) project has gone through, wich-type signs placed on the side- Todd Hagen of Ehlers attended the walk that could pose hazards to meeting to explain the process and people walking. This will be dis- the sale of the $1,055,000 General cussed further. Obligation Improvement Bond. Those property owners (both The council approved the sale. residential and business) who have He presented a certificate to the been on temporary water service council acknowleging the city's during the construction project "AA-" credit rating from Standard have not been metered. The coun- & Poor's regarding the sale of the cil agreed to estimate usage based bond. The better rating equates on last year's usage, and water cus- to lower rates and, in this case, a tomers will be billed accordingly. savings of about $41,000 off the Traffic on Church Street has bat. The sale will close Nov. 6. The calmed somewhat, especially council approved financing of the when there is a police vehicle project, parked there. Chief Junker ordered Engineer Kent Louwagie pre- a speed trailer recently, but when sented an update on the street proj- it arrived the radar didn't work. He ect. Sanitary sewer is done, and will try again. water services are nearlydone (test- Adam Saltmarsh of Arvig came ingremains to be completed before out and checked the room for switching back tothe regular water microphone requirements. He has within a week). They are building ordered five microphones for the the casing to go under the railroad counciltableandtwowirelessmics. tracks and continue to work on the They should be in and installed by railroad crossing. Storm sewer will the November meeting. be dofie within days, and then util- The next meeting of the Eden ities work can be done. Sidewalks Valley city council will be at 7 p.m. were removed Oct. 9, and new side- Wednesday, Nov. 6. Meetings are walks should be installed within a always open to the public. They are "couple of weeks." All is going well. also recorded and broadcast pm The council approved the first pay- cable TV (usually on Thursdays) by ment on the project. Arvig Communications. Jeff Bradshaw was sworn in as a council member during the Oct. 9 meeting of the Eden Valley city council. Staff photos byAnton Matua. Eden Valley city council holding the certificate of their newest bond, for $1.055 million, for this year's portion of the Highway 22 construction project. Pictured are, from left, Kevon Gabrelcik, Mona Hang, Jeff Bradshaw, mayor Pete Korman, and Dan Thielen. t