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HEADLINING AT THE FARGO THEATRE Friday and Saturday was Ortonville native Mark J. Lindquist with his 16 piece Big-Band. His concert featured several Frank Sinatra tunes, in honor of what would have been his 100th birthday. Mark is shown abovefinishing the last song of his set, “My Way,” which he dedicated to Sinatra and his parents Gordon and Diane Lindquist of Ortonville, who have been so supportive of him throughout the years.  Mark belted out the crooner songs with passion and entertained audiences with stories about his life. The crowd gave him a standing ovation. He returned to finish the show with an awe-inspiring, “America the Beautiful.”

New assessment policy for City street projects approved

A Public Hearing was held during the Ortonville City Council’s regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 16 concerning the proposed assessment for the 2015 Utility and Street Improvements on Evergreen Lane, Pomroy Street, Dyer Street and Spring Drive. Approximately 10 people were in attendance for the hearing.

Brian Hiles of Ulteig Engineering was present to give a project summary.  He stated that total cost of the project was $438,204.05. The City’s share of the project is $360,003.57, with the assessable cost being $78,200.48.

The breakdown for each street was $96,547.22 for Evergreen Lane; $177,052.88 for Pomroy Street; $79,655.14 for Dyer Street; and $84,948.81 for Spring Drive.

The project assessments for street construction is based on 50 percent of the cost being assessable to the benefiting/adjacent property owners. Assessable street costs include excavation, aggregate base, bituminous base course and bituminous wearing course.

The project assessments for water system, sanitary sewer system, and curb and gutter improvement work will be based on 100 percent of the cost being paid by the City of Ortonville. This is in accordance with the City’s new Assessment Policy which follows the State of Minnesota’s Statues for assessments and special considerations.

Hiles explained the estimated rate at the public hearing in October of 2014  (old policy)and the actual rate assessed (new policy). Payments can be made in full prior to Nov. 30 or will be rolled over to the County and come out of their tax statements in 2015 over a 10 year period with an assessment rate of three percent annually.

“We tried hard to come up with a fair assessment policy by taking out water, sewer and electric along with curb and gutter,” said Mayor Steve Berkner. “The City of Ortonville has not done any street replacement that we have initiated through assessments for over 15 years. Hopefully this is something we can do about every other year      by doing six or seven blocks around town. We have found funding to do this so we are not raising taxes on anyone elses neighborhood, just those with the direct assessments.”

After adjourning the public hearing, the council approved the proposed assessment unanimously, with council members Kim Sykora, Mike Dorry and Ron Thomas absent.

In other business, the council approved a permit for allowing the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber of Commerce to have a Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 5.

A partial Ambulance reimbursement to the Stevens County Ambulance was approved by the council in the amount of $9,500 for two months of coverage through Dec. 31.

Council members approved Clifton Larson Allen Audit agreement for $13,950.

The next meeting of the Ortonville City Council will be on Monday, Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. in the Library Media Center.

Board approves agreement with U of M Extension, BEC

Big Stone County Board members approved a Memorandum of Agreement with the University of Minnesota for programs and positions at the Bonanza Education Center (BEC) at their regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Suzanne Souza, Big Stone County 4-H Program Coordinator, was present to discuss the dates for the 4-H Aquatic Robotics training and an outline of what will be taking place monthly at the Bonanza Education Center.

Souza stated that she will come before the board quarterly to report on how things have progressed. Suzanne hopes to recruit more students for the Aquatic Robotics for the program once they get the program going.

Bonanza Education Center is partnering with the University of Minnesota Extension-Big Stone County through an Aquatic Invasive Species grant. The money allocated to each county is based on the number of watercraft trailer launches (public accesses) and watercraft trailer parking spaces in the county. Goals of the use of funding are to enforce AIS laws, educate the public about AIS, prevent the spread of AIS and monitor the lakes for AIS.

The group plans to use an Aquatic Robot that will go into the water and Suzanne reported that the robot will be able to go under the ice during the winter months to help monitor the lake.

BEC is in a unique position to partner with the University of Minnesota/Extension to help achieve Big Stone County’s goals of education, prevention and monitoring.

The proposed AIS curriculum will be taught at the BEC and in the community to students at the local schools and citizens of Big Stone County.

Board members approved the hiring of Kim Hasslen of Ortonville as the Veterans Service Office Administrative Assistant. Hasslen began her new position on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

In other business, Liz Auch of Countryside Public Health Service, came before the board to update the commissioners on her budget. Auch is looking at a seven percent increase in her budget, which works out to a $4,000 increase for Big Stone County.

The board approved a resoluton for the revised County Program Aid. Minnesota counties are mandated by the state to provide essential services in Many program areas including human services, public safety and transportation.

Board members approved a State of Minnesota Safety Grant Agreement. The grant will be used to purchase a fume extractor and horizontal bandsaw for the Big Stone County Highway Department.

Seth Parker

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