July. 28 — In Mayor Steve Gander’s appreciation, the leaders of the East Grand Forks are pleased with the work the Urban Planning Organization is doing and are elated of the people who work there.
“Until you make a decision we don’t like,” he joked.
This time, a vote by the planning organization’s board of directors final week prompted the city to try to delay funding for federal roads. City council members on Tuesday directed city officials to ask the Minnesota Department of Transportation to aid the city swap federal road money it is due to receive in 2022 for equal allocations in 2023 or later. It’s currently unclear whether that would unkind, in fact, that the city’s federal money goes to the state in exchange for a promise to take it back later, or whether the state will broker some considerate of deal between East Grand Forks and another city that accomplishes the alike thing.
The planning organization coordinates infrastructure and financing work between federal, provincial and city governments, and its board members voted 6-0 on July 21 to schedule an East Grand Forks request to amend a lengthy-term standardized transportation plan. That decision isn’t an outright “no,” but it does forbid the city from replacing a $1.6 million project that would erect a $1.6 million roundabout at the intersection of Bygland Road and Rhinehart Drive at the city’s south end with a $2.2 million plan to rebuild 10th Street Northeast as it extends alongside the Industrial area on the eastern edge of the city. Both projects are dependent on the $860,000 in “sub-target” federal subsidies that East Grand Forks is due to receive in 2022, and whichever of the two in the organization’s lengthy-term plan will get the money.
“MPO Council is seeking more information on how to improve the road network in and around 10th Street to provide transportation options,” Earl Haugen, executive director of Planning Organization, wrote to Eastside leaders. He said board members wanted to know how much the city believed it would cost to work on the 10th street and where the money would come from, as well as a “timing plan” for that work.
With the change to the MPO plan postponed but financial and logistical deadlines still looming for the city to get the ball rolling on a project on which federal money is being spent, a city council decision aims to purchase East Grand Forks time to study the 10th Street project and, eventually, justify its inclusion in the plan Long term transportation of MPO.
But City Councilman Brian Larson said the elephant in the room is the roundabout project.
“If we go into this rabbit hole of this unused industrial complicated and go nowhere, we’re going to kick ourselves for not trying to bring this roundabout back to life and build something,” he said.
The city attempted a similar exchange with three other cities in northwest Minnesota that included a federal sub-purpose “group”—Croxton, Thief River Falls and Bemidji—but none were interested.
Effectively trying to delay federal funding is the latest development in the many months back and forth about where that money should go. The lengthy-distance transportation plan currently calls for a roundabout, which is intended to “cool down” traffic along Bygland Road, but some councilors have argued that the dilapidated section of 10th Street, making it firm for trucks and other heavy vehicles to manipulate for business should be There is an even more crucial civilian priority.
After months of debate, council members voted to preserve the rotor at the top of the city’s list of federal funding, but Gander overturned that vote with a major veto. Then council members failed to get enough votes to override their veto, and Gander broke the tie and put a street reconstruction project in the plan.
Council member Clarence Vetter, a consistent support for the Vertigo project, said he had no problem with delaying federal funds.
“I don’t know that 10th Street will rise to the top of the cream,” he said. “What do you do… if the study comes back and says the methods are just as pleasing as they are?”
“But you know they aren’t,” said council president Mark Olstad with a chuckle.
“From a transportation standpoint, yes, they are,” Vetter said. “From my job—that’s, well, they’re not draining or what you’ve got, so, no, they’re not.”
Gander said the funding delay keeps the city’s options begin, and lets the city know if the 10th Street project is going through MPO traffic.
Disability, election judges, primary budget
And in related news, East Grand Forks City Council members:
—I heard from Muhammad Muhammad, director of the East Grand Forks Islamic Center, who turned an exchange at a local Dairy Queen into an opportunity to support for people with disabilities on the upcoming anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. After asking for aid reading the menu at the ice cream shop, Mohamed told council members that an employee there had asked him why he was driving if he was legally blind. Muhammad said he told her that legally blind people can still drive in Minnesota, and the attendant told him it wasn’t the case in the US and asked him to learn to read. Mohamed said he decided to use this as a learning moment that could hoist the profile of people with disabilities rather than cause it to go daft.
Informally approved increases in city election judges’ salaries by $1 an hour to $13 an hour for most judges and $14 an hour for senior judges. East Grand Forks election judges final received a pay bump in 2012, when city leaders agreed to increase it from $9 and $9.50 for the routine judge and chief justice, respectively.
– We took a first look at the city’s general fund budget for 2022, which is currently seeing an initial 5% increase in revenue from local property taxes – which, if history is any judge, is a 2-3% rise in actual property taxes for residents It is assumed that every big-scale purchase requested by city department heads makes it into the final budget due to be approved in December. The budget, as it stands now, also includes a planned 1.5% hoist for city employees, most of whom are members of one of the four unions that won those bonuses during contract negotiations with city managers earlier this year. With these assumptions in place, the city’s public fund spending of $12.55 million would be $481,000 less than the general fund’s revenue of $12.07 million.