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REA expanding, may move to Lake Mary Township

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news Alexandria, 56308
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

A lot of business at the April 24 Douglas County commissioners' meeting was routine - but a few new things popped.

The Runestone Electrical Association (REA) may be relocating its corporate offices to Lake Mary Township.

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Jeff Schiffman, executive director of Douglas County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, requested a public hearing be held at the June 26 commissioners' meeting to discuss designating the REA property in Lake Mary Township as a tax increment finance (TIF) district. The commissioners approved the meeting date.

The REA will be expanding, resulting in additional jobs and will need more space, which is available at the Lake Mary site. REA will take up 14,000 square feet and Star Energy Service, an energy consultant, will span 17,000 square feet.

A TIF district makes it more affordable for a business to develop an area and give back to a community. Generally, a project in an economic development district can be paid through bonds or a pay as you go plan.

"Roughly it's going to add about $4 million in taxable market value to the county," Schiffman said. About $2.7 million would benefit Lake Mary Township alone.

Schiffman said he does not know what future plans are for the REA building in downtown Alexandria. However, given the expansion, it will likely remain an REA property.

ORDINANCE CHANGE

Commissioners adopted amendments to the Douglas County Zoning Ordinance concerning sanitation and subsurface septic treatment systems. The changes are planned for implementation in August.

A draft copy of the ordinance presented at the April 24 meeting by Land and Resource Management Director Dave Rush can be found on the county's website.

HIGHWAY

MAINTENANCE

Bids were received for striping and liquid calcium chloride contracts in Douglas County. Commissioners accepted the low bids on each.

AAA Striping of St. Michael was awarded the 2012 highway-striping contract for $186,908. Traffic Marking Service, Inc. of Maple Lake and Swanston Equipment Co. of Fargo, North Dakota also submitted bids.

EnViro Tech Services, Inc. from Savage submitted the low bid, $158,149, for liquid calcium chloride. Tri-City Paving of Little Falls also bid.

Commissioners granted permission for the Awake the Grapes run on County Road 34 on Sunday, May 27.

BOND REFUNDING PLANS

A public hearing will be held during the May 22 commissioners meeting to discuss refunding of bonds issued to finance the public works building.

Bonds issued at the time of the project by the Housing and Redevelopment Authority were not "general obligation" bonds, meaning bank qualified, which are more attractive to investors.

Carolyn Drude with Ehlers, the county's bonding consultant, said there is a possibility to refund the bonds as general obligation if turned into a capital improvement bond plan. The county could save money on its principal interest payments - resulting in savings for taxpayers, if voters approve at the public hearing.

A separate annual information meeting, usually beneficial to townships, will be held at Public Works on Wednesday, May 30 at 7 p.m.

Follow #AlexMN @EchoPress reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.

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