Before we get to the worksession, we also have a brief meeting to adopt minutes, act of the consent agenda, and canvass the votes from Tuesday’s election. The work session, however, is where the action will be despite the fact we do not take action at work sessions.
Welcome center reimagined: Follow our discussion about the Welcome Center coordinator back in August, we will be hearing a proposal for a public/private partnership between the city and Growing Up Healthy for a LINK center. Read the proposal and related information in the packet. The Council must allocate funds for 2011 for this proposal to allow it to go forward; $20,100 is the dollar cost, but like in-kind services to community events and supporting the Library, this is not just an expense, but an investment in Northfield’s social infrastructure about which I’ve written before (commenting on Art Rolnick’s ideas, about the Library, and community events).
Safety center: It’s back. We still don’t know what MNDoT plans for the Woodley site and our partners are not yet really included, but:
The Council needs to answer three basic questions:
- What is the project scope?…
- How much is the City Council willing to commit to funding the project and how will it be financed? …
- Where should the facility(ies) be located
Wind project (described briefly last week): The only item included in our packet is a copy of an e-mail requesting a delay by the Rice County planning commission in considering a conditional use permit for 2 wind turbines. Unfortunately, this minimal documentation is part of a much larger information management failure at city hall. Fortunately, interested citizens and have helped alleviate the data void:
- Notification about the project: the Council only learned of the project in Rice County after a neighbor contacted Councilor Jim Pokorney who contacted city staff who, finally, contacted the entire Council.
- Review and comment: under Rice County ordinances, the city is to be notified so it can review and comment on a project in the County’s UR (Urban Reserve) zoning district. Unfortunately, Council did not receive the information in time to comment before the Rice County planning commission met last week to consider the conditional use permit. Fortunately, requests from Tim Madigan, interim city administrator and Tracy Davis, Northfield Planning commission chair along with other interested citizens have delayed the CUP until December 9.
- Project documents: Unfortunately, the Council was not provided with any of the relevant documents; fortunately another project neighbor e-mailed the Council the Spring Creek (Hubers) Wind Turbine CUP application, a Neighborhood Petition, and Attorney Carol Overland’s Brief.
- Carol Overland’s Legalectric blog: fortunately, we have a local energy law and policy maven. Read this for lots of background and information about not only the 2 turbines on which Northfield is permitted to comment, but other related wind projects in Rice County, the legal infrastructure for permitting large wind projects, and a guide to the policy and practical issues.
The Council has been allotted 15 minutes (!) at the end of the worksession agenda to consider our comments to Rice County and/or future steps the Council can/should take.
Pro forma budget review continues with information about enterprise funds (utilities, liquor store), municipal district #4 (the downtown TIF district) capital projects and capital equipment plans. I’ve said enough about the Pretty Picture Budget Process.