The Winnebago City Council held a regular meeting on Tuesday, October 11 at 7 p.m.
A mixed bag of items on the agenda included updates on an upcoming housing study, an offer for city-owned land and a lease agreement with Optimal Performance Specialists (OPS) clinics, who will provide health services in the Winnebago Clinic building on Main Street.
In a special meeting held on Tuesday, September 13, the council purchased the vacant Winnebago Clinic building from the United Hospital District for $1, hoping to provide more local health care options to Winnebago residents. .
The initiative has been spurred by the Winnebago Professional Health Services Task Force, which has also recruited a nurse practitioner – Heidi Stevermer – who is willing to provide services from the Winnebago Clinic building.
On October 11, the council took steps to install Stevermer, a representative of OPS Clinics, in the building by approving a lease agreement with OPS Clinics.
The terms of the agreement are valid for one year, starting November 1.
Under the agreement, OPS clinics will pay $0 in rent, but will pay all utility costs for the building.
“Essentially they won’t pay any rent to the city, but they will pay utilities and whatever it costs to operate the building,” Calvin Howard, Board Member, summarized. He added, “I personally would be fine with essentially no income, but after the first year, and (Stevermer) has settled in, I think getting something to cover the taxes is relevant.”
The board agreed, and Paul Eisenmenger’s motion approving the lease agreement passed unanimously.
The council also accepted Seth and Kala Voss’ $500 offer for city-owned land on First Avenue NW. The Vosses have resided in Winnebago since last December and intend to build a home for their family on the vacant lot.
“Together we have a big family and we have decided that Winnebago is the place where we would like to put down roots”,said the couple. “Our goal is to build and install our house within three years.”
The council took a look at other housing developments as they heard an update on an upcoming housing study by Bolton & Menk.
The study, which will cost $22,531, will be partially funded by $5,000 from the Bevcomm Foundation and a $5,000 Compeer Financial Rural Feasibility Study grant.
The city also hopes to secure a rural community building grant of $10,000 for the project, leaving the city with just $2,531 in costs.
City administrator Judi Hynes shared that she met Bolton & Menk on October 11 to kick off the planning process.
Bolton & Menk intends to conduct demographic and housing analyzes from the end of October. The study has an estimated completion date of March 2023.
In other matters, the Winnebago City Council:
• Approval of a donation of $1,230.60 from the City’s 10 Percent Gambling Fund to the Faribault County Freedom Rock organization. The funds will cover hotel costs incurred while artist Ray (Bubba) Sorensen painted the Freedom Rock installed near the Winnebago Civic Center.
• Approved the purchase of three-year firewall security kits and devices from Bevcomm for use by municipal services.
The town hall will buy a three-year subscription to Watchguard T80 services, which costs $3,364, while the waste treatment plant, sewage treatment plant and street utility will buy subscriptions to Watchguard T20 services- W, which cost $1,262.51.
• Approved a four per cent salary increase for Deputy City Clerk Kendra Reineking, who has worked with the city for the past six months.
• Set Winnebago Tax Truth Public Hearing date for Dec. 13 at 7:00 p.m.
• Set the date for the City Council’s budget workshop, which will take place on December 6 at 5:00 p.m.
• Renewal of a two-year large industrial user license for Greenfield Global.
The license changes will include a 50-pound increase in the company’s CBOD5 limits and a 50-pound increase in its TSS limits. Greenfield Global’s user fee will increase to $8.18 per 1,000 gallons over the next six months. Starting August 9, rates will increase to $10.58 per 1,000 gallons.
• Street closures approved for the Halloween Business Parade, which will take place on October 31 at 5 p.m.
As of 4:30 p.m., the Cleveland Avenue W blocks between Foundations Bible Church and The United Methodist Church will be closed. One block of Second Street SW and another block of Cleveland Avenue W will be closed to avoid traffic issues.
• Approved resolution 799-2022 accepting donations to the Town of Winnebago.
Donations included grants and monetary contributions from First Financial Bank, Bevcomm, Greenfield Global, Compeer Financial, and the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, donation pot contributions to the Winnebago Pool, and donations from various organizations and individuals for the Freedom Project Rock.
• Received an update regarding City Impound Services. The Faribault County Joint Animal Control Powers Group has been disbanded and its services in Winnebago will be replaced by two animal control officers employed by Faribault County.
• Approval of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to be sent out for mowing services for the city.
• Entered a closed session to discuss collective bargaining, after which council took no action.