Richland Center City Council May 2nd Meeting

The Richland Center City Council met for regular business on Tuesday night, May 2nd.

At the meeting the council approved a pair of resolutions closing two Tax Increment Districts in the city: District #2 along Highway 14/Orange Street, and District #3 which is the North Industrial Park. Both districts were created in 1995 to spur redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects that add value and tax base to the city. The city’s portion of the unused funds that were collected from the districts will be reinvested in the housing stock within the city – 75% of which needs to be “affordable” housing. A plan to that effect will be developed for a program to start after the funds are available in January. The City Council is also considering starting another Tax Increment District, however that can’t happen until District’s #2 and #3 come to an end.

The Richland Center City Council approved bids to be sought for a lighting efficiency upgrade. City Utilities Electric Superintendent Dale Bender discussed a program that’s available through WPPI – the city’s regional power supplier – that would retrofit each of the city-owned buildings with energy efficient lights at a total cost of just over $97,000. Bender said the payback would be achieved in just over three years, and the 10-year savings would be approximately $283,000 – or a 291% return on investment. The council gave the go-ahead to Bender to seek bids for the project to be considered in the future.

A “Slow-No-Wake Zone” ordinance on the Pine River was introduced and unanimously approved by the City Council Tuesday night. The rule applies to the entire length of the Pine River lying within the limits of the city – bound roughly by Bowens Mill to the north and Wal-Mart on the south. Violators will be subject to a minimum penalty of $100. “Slow-no-wake” means that motorboats or personal watercraft need to operate as slowly as possible while still maintaining steering control. The ordinance does two things. It promotes safe usage of the Pine River, while also protecting the banks from possible erosion from the wakes.

In other action from the Richland Center City Council meeting last (Tues) night, a grant application was approved for Richland Center to become a Bike Friendly Community. The application is free to submit, and the designation may ultimately help the city achieve outside funding – most notably the Safe Routes to School grant for a biking and walking path to the Richland Middle School. The City Council approved the lone bid from Gary Manning to tear down buildings at 382 E. Haseltine Street in the amount of $13,100. The bid amount exceeded the $8,000 budgeted for the work. The remainder will come from the city’s cash on hand. Finally, updates to the ordinance that deal with trash or other items placed outside of a building were discussed, but no action was taken. Mayor Paul Corcoran proposed adding fines to 1st and 2nd violations, with the clean-up work done by the city after a 3rd violation. Any possible changes to the resolution will be discussed further by the Public Safety Committee and be brought back to the council at a future meeting.