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Public hearing on city taxing districts moves to Cole Memorial Building

A public hearing on the city of Pequot Lakes’ urban and rural taxing districts has been moved from city hall to the Cole Memorial Building, next to the bobber water tower.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 23.

The city council is considering a proposed three-year phase-in to equalize taxes paid by urban and rural taxing district residents. The taxing districts were established in 2002 when the city and Sibley Township merged. The ongoing discrepancy in taxes was brought to the city council’s attention last year.

Residents in the rural tax district, or the former Sibley Township, likely will see their city portion of property tax increase, while residents in the urban tax district, or the former square-mile city limits, likely will see their city portion of taxes decrease to fix the 10-plus year disparity in city taxes among those two tax districts.

The city council will gather public comments at the July 23 hearing before considering an ordinance change at its August meeting, at which time the council could change the length of the phase-in period.

The goal is to have the phase-in start with 2014 property taxes.

Highway 371 expansion

The Pequot Lakes City Council on Tuesday, July 2, agreed to have its engineering firm do a facility study for an estimated $33,600 to look at options the city has to discharge its treated wastewater after the Highway 371 expansion is built in 2018.

The bypass route of the four-lane highway goes directly through the middle of the current spray irrigation field, and because of the time involved in the engineering and permitting process from various agencies, the city agreed to have Widseth, Smith, Nolting (WSN) do the facility study.

The council also adopted a resolution supporting an application to Minnesota Management and Budget requesting $250,000 in state bond funds for 2014 to replace the wastewater treatment facility spray irrigation field equipment that the Highway 371 expansion project will affect.

If funding was awarded, the city would be required to contribute $250,000 in matching funds.

And the council authorized city staff to continue to meet with city engineer Tim Houle of WSN on turning back roads to the city relating to the Highway 371 expansion process.

In other business July 2, the council:

• Adopted Part 2 of the Wellhead Protection Plan, which will be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Health for final review and approval.

• Appointed Bill Habein to the planning commission through Dec. 31, 2014.

• Agreed to hire two part-time police officers, Chelsey Collette and Patrick Pickar.

• Agreed to build a public works garage just north of city hall at an estimated cost of $85,000 to $90,000 for maintenance equipment.

• Designated Wells Fargo as an additional city depository for 2013 to make a long-term investment of $1 million to take advantage of interest rates.

• Accepted Tri-City Paving’s low bid of $11,760 to resurface the parking lot and widen the sidewalk at the Pequot Lakes Library.