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Winsted working with Millerbernd Manufacturing on expansion plan
Feb. 7, 2020

Ivan Raconteur

WINSTED, MN – Winsted City Council, following a public hearing during its meeting Feb. 4, adopted a resolution authorizing the mayor and city administrator to make application and execute a grant contract with the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) to implement a project on behalf of Millerbernd Manufacturing.

No comments were received during the public hearing.

City Administrator Adam Birkholz explained that, throughout 2019, city staff engaged in discussions with Millerbernd Manufacturing regarding the business’ need for expansion through the construction of additional facilities. City staff has worked toward attracting the expansion to occur within Winsted’s industrial park.

As part of the efforts, city staff proposed partnering with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to leverage state funding programs to gain the capital investments within Winsted.

Birkholz noted Millerbernd Manufacturing has worked with the city to initiate an application to DEED for the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF).

MIF provides financing to help add new workers and retain high-quality jobs on a statewide basis. The program focus is on industrial, manufacturing, and technology-related industries to increase the local and state tax base, and improve economic vitality statewide.

Funds are awarded to local units of government that provide loans to assist expanding businesses. All projects must meet minimum criteria for private investment, number of jobs created or retained, and wages paid. At least 50 percent of total project costs must be privately financed through owner equity and other lending sources.

Application to the Minnesota Investment Fund will not have a direct impact on the 2020 Budget. If the project receives the award, the final terms of the agreement will be negotiated at a later date, Birkholz noted.

Eric Stack, president of Millerbernd Manufacturing, said the expansion will allow Millerbernd Manufacturing to add about 100 employees during the next three years, bringing the company’s total employees from about 450 to about 550.

“It’s an exciting project,” Stack commented.

He expressed appreciation to the city for supporting the company’s plans for expansion.

The council adopted a resolution calling for a public hearing on the establishment of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district No. 2-8 within Municipal Development District No. 2, and the adoption of Tax Increment Financing Plan relating thereto, and the proposed business subsidy for Millerbernd Manufacturing Tuesday, April 7 at 6 p.m. in the city council chambers at Winsted City Hall.

SCBA purchase approved

Birkholz noted the Winsted Volunteer Fire Department established a committee of officers and general members to explore the purchase of new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses (SCBAs) to replace the current SCBAs. The current, aging SCBAs no longer meet National Fire Protection (NFP) standards, and could pose safety risks for fire department members who are using the equipment while extinguishing fires.

City staff asked the fire department to get quotes from equipment providers. Due to the estimated project expense, the quotes received were through Cooperative Purchasing Ventures to meet Minnesota State Statute.

At the Jan. 21 work session, the city council reviewed a recommendation from the fire department to purchase SCBAs from Emergency Response Solutions. The basis for the recommendation included the cost savings associated with the rechargeable batteries provided within the MSA equipment, versus single-use alkaline batteries quoted within the Scott X3 Pro pack. The estimated cost savings provided with rechargeable batteries is $200,250 over 15 years.

An estimated cost of $150,000 for the SCBA equipment was included in the 2020-24 Fire Department Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Given the variance between the budgeted project cost and the quoted project cost, the Winsted Fire Relief Association donated $40,000 Jan. 7 to cover the estimated variance.

The council approved the purchase.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• discussed a request to add a handicapped-accessible parking space on Main Ave., but took no action at this time.

• adopted a revolving loan fund policy.

• authorized the mayor to execute an agreement with Conway, Deuth and Schmiesing, PLLP to conduct an audit of the City of Winsted’s financial statements for the year ending Dec. 31, 2019, for a fee including expenses, not to exceed $30,250.

• appointed Steve Ebert to the City of Winsted Planning Commission with a one-year term, expiring Dec. 31, 2020.

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