Alexandria considers WCI funding requestThe Alexandria City Council is considering a request to provide the West Central Initiative (WCI) with an $8,000 contribution.
The Alexandria City Council is considering a request to provide the West Central Initiative (WCI) with an $8,000 contribution.
WCI is a regional community foundation that supports families and helps strengthen the economy of west central Minnesota through its four initiatives: business and employment, communities and the region, workers and their families, and promoting philanthropy.
The money would come out of the city’s 2010 budget and go to WCI’s endowment fund. The council referred the matter to its budget committee for further consideration.
The city’s contributions to WCI over the years has amounted to $98,0000.
Over its 23-year history, WCI has awarded more than $7.88 million in grants and loans in Douglas County, according to Tom McSparron, WCI donor services officer. It has also supported the local Jingle Bells fundraiser, Habitat for Humanity and the United Way.
Earnings from the endowment fund make it possible to award more grants and loans.
Contributions would be matched dollar for dollar by the McKnight Foundation.
Council member Cindy Bigger asked if WCI’s investments have suffered a hit during the economic downturn. McSparron said that investments were down about 22 percent recently but he added that WCI has not had to cut any programs or staff and it expects the economy to turn around in 2010. “We have every intention to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” he said.
Bigger also asked if cities have been reducing their WCI funding to make up for LGA cuts. McSparron described the response from cities as “encouraging.” He said, for example, that some have cut their annual contribution but added a year on to their original commitment.
In other action…
In other action, the council:
•Called for plans to make water main improvements to Ridgewood Drive.
The $28,510 project will be included in the city’s phase three annexation area in Alexandria Township. The cost to individual property owners is expected to amount to $5,600. Property owners are not required to connect to the waterline and may continue to use their existing wells.
•Approved a request from the St. Mary Church to block off Irving Street between 4th and 5th Avenue on September 20 for its annual block party.
•Approved a request from the organizers of the West Central Minnesota Heart Walk to hold the event on Thursday, June 25.
Participants will walk from Voyager Elementary School to the Runestone Museum and back. Registration begins at 5 p.m. and the walk will start at 6:15 p.m. For more information, go the website, www.alexandriamnheartwalk.org.
•Approved a request from the Lakes Community Free Church to use the Legion Park basketball court area for its annual “Heat in the Street” three-on-three basketball tournament on Thursday, July 23 from 4 to 9 p.m.
•Accepted a plaque of appreciation from the Alexandria Sesquicentennial Committee.
The committee appreciated the city’s support in organizing events to celebrate Alexandria’s 150th year as a city last summer.
•Approved a final reading of an ordinance amending the licensing of mechanical contractors and installers. The change allows the council to suspend or revoke any such licenses upon notice and hearing for any reasonable cause.
•Approved a final reading of an amendment to the city’s sign code.
Its purpose is to “establish a comprehensive and balanced system of sign control that accommodates the need for a well-maintained, safe and attractive community and the need for effective communications including business identification.”
The 15-page document spells out the rules for all types of signs – electronic signs, flashing signs, marquee signs, monument signs, etc. Some signs are prohibited, such as those that display the word “stop” or “danger,” or signs that create a traffic hazard.
The city’s zoning administrator is empowered to enforce the provisions of the ordinance. In some instances, the city can remove the sign without notice. In other instances, a notice of violation will be mailed to the sign owner. If it is not corrected within 10 days, the city can remove the sign.
Because it is so long, the entire text of the ordinance is not being published. The full text is available at city hall.
•Approved a request to vacate a portion of a platted but never used 10-foot long utility easement in Franzen’s Westwood Addition, just west of the intersection of Westwood Drive and Winona Drive/Lark Street. This will allow the land to be conveyed so a garage addition can be built by Tony Primus.
•Agreed to replat Lakeview Park Third Addition, converting 14 twin-home lots to eight single-family parcels.
•Approved a final plat – J.A. Meadows, a 44-acre piece of land near 34th Avenue and South Broadway. The proposed subdivision doesn’t include land for a public park so a cash contribution amounting to 10 percent of the undeveloped value of the land is required. This will amount to $80,710 when the outlot is subdivided.
•Approved a final plat and replat for “The Pines First Addition.” The new plat realigns the five previously platted lots and adds a building lot on the east side of the intersection of White Spruce Way and Karnis Drive. The property owner is Eugene Karnis.
•Agreed to Public Works Coordinator Bryan Bjorgaard’s request to hire a new street department worker to replace Bryan Tolifson.
•Received an update about a transportation study the city has been working on with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Douglas County. The total cost is estimated at $150,000. The city’s share is $10,000. The consultant doing the work is WSB from the Twin Cities.
•Scheduled a work session to review a storm water plan developed by the city’s storm water utility committee. The session is set for either July 6 or August 3 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., depending on the consultant’s schedule.
•Was informed by Douglas County Commissioner Paul Anderson that an open house for the county’s new public works building is set for July 30 from 3 to 7 p.m. “It is a state-of-the-art facility,” Anderson noted.
•Proclaimed Douglas County Relay for Life Day on July 10, 2009.
•Approved the following licenses: sign hangar – Collins Electrical Systems, Inc. (new); massage – Emily Clark, located at 418 3rd Avenue East (new).