RC Council wants assurances in assisted living facility project

An assisted living facility remains a consideration in Rush City, though city councilors want assurances the city won’t end up owning or running it.

On Monday night, the City Council set a special meeting for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, to meet with the developer and the city’s financial consultant to talk more about bonding for the project. If the project receives the green light from councilors, they likely will host a community meeting at a larger venue, such as the community center, in town.

On May 27, the council viewed a timeline in establishing a tax increment finance district for such a facility from the city’s financial consultant, Ehlers and Associates. A public hearing on this matter was set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 11, at City Hall.

In the meantime, the city continues to discuss the project with developer Pete Jesch, of Summit Development, who wants the city to bond for the project due, in large part, to the better interest rate the city can attain. One thought is if the city were to bond for the project, the developer could pay it back in about three years.

However, the council’s concern is the risk of the financial piece falling through.

“The developer can present a letter of credit to show its financial solvency, but if the developer disappears, we’ll be the owner,” Mell said. “We want the developer to own and run the facility.

Still, she added, “It’s not the end of the world if the city ends up owning the property because an assisted living facility is an asset, but it’s not the desired outcome. We want as many assurances as possible for as little risk for our taxpayers as possible.”

 

In other news:

• The council again talked about whether to impose assessments or not with a 5th Street improvement project.

While the city is hoping to move forward with the project next summer, questions about assessments and the legal process need to be ironed out with the city attorney, who was not present at the meeting Monday, Mell said.

• The city is putting together a proposal to enter back into negotiations with Twin Cities-based Interstate Energy Partners regarding a property sale at the industrial park for its propane business. The company wants to bring in propane by rail, have bulk storage on property at the industry park, sell it wholesale and haul it out by truck, Mell said.

• Last month, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recognized the city for having an outstanding facility after MPCA staff reviewed the performance of the city’s permitted wastewater treatment system from Oct. 1, 2012, through September 30, 2013. As a result, the city received a certificate of commendation, recognizing the city and its operating staff for the outstanding operation, maintenance and compliance of the city’s wastewater treatment system. Rush City has earned this distinction 11 times  since 1979.

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