NB council approves inter-fund loan

The North Branch City Council Monday night approved a tax-increment financing loan agreement that allows the city to repay funds advanced for the debt service payment of bonds.

The city’s Finance Director, Richard Hill, explained that in 2009 a TIF district was set up to fund the housing portion of the ESSBY development.

Since there hasn’t been a housing development built on the city-owned land, there’s been no money to fund TIF.

The inter-fund loan agreement that was approved by the council via a 3-2 vote allows the city to someday pay itself back dollars levied for the purpose of supporting the TIF.

Council member Joel McPherson asked Hill if the loan agreement had to be used by the city to repay itself.

Hill stressed that to recoup money a future council could utilize the inter-fund loan agreement, but it didn’t have to be used in that way.

“It just gives you the ability,” he said.

Council members Theresa Furman and Ron Lindquist, who voted against the agreement, said they’d rather see any available future money go toward paying down the city’s dept.

Hill noted the agreement keeps that option open.

Speed study

In conjunction with the safe routes to school program, the council unanimously approved a speed study request from North Branch Area Public Schools and residents. The area possibly to be studied is Lincoln Avenue, between Gerald and Hillshire Avenues.

City Engineer Diane Hankee said there’s no guarantee speed limits in the area would be reduced, but she felt it was important to submit the request to the State Commissioner of Transportation.

“That is a very high speed around that corner,” Mayor Amy Oehlers said of the current 55 mph speed limit. “It’s a pretty scary area.”

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