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Area News

Aug. 16 , 2019

McLeod County repeals wheelage tax

McLeod County’s wheelage tax is gone, but the decision to repeal it is tied to a web of other issues yet to be tackled, the Hutchinson Leader reported.

The move to repeal the wheelage tax came as the first step in a plan proposed by the budget committee to address a shortage of road funds. Tuesday’s action was taken to meet a state deadline, but now County Board members must consider: a 15 percent levy increase vs. a 9 percent levy increase with a new tax, and a $10 million bond.

The wheelage tax kicked in at the beginning of 2014 in response to an option allowed by the state to cover growing transportation expenses. It was collected when county residents registered their vehicles each year. Counties were also given the option of adding a sales tax. Some used both options.

Vintage snowmobile show leaving Waconia in 2020

Midwest Vintage Snowmobile Shows (MVSS) announced a few weeks ago that its annual ride-in will be moved to ERX Motor Park in Elk River, starting in 2020, the Waconia Patriot reported.

Formerly known as the Waconia Ride-In, which had taken place on the shores of Lake Waconia for the past 25 years, next year’s event will be called the Midwest Ride-In, and is scheduled for Jan. 24-26, 2020. It is billed as the world’s largest vintage, antique, and classic snowmobile event.

ERX is an all-season motorsports and events facility located on the north end of Elk River, on US Highway 169.

“The ERX complex stretches over 400 acres, includes multiple tracks, 10-plus miles of rolling wooded trails and a fantastic indoor facility that allows us to continue our popular Saturday night banquet with guest speakers and large display,” John Zeglin, the event’s co-chair for more than 25 years, stated in a news release.

“The Waconia Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau was disappointed to hear that the MWVSS has decided to move their show to Elk River for 2020, but we know the organization was faced with many unknowns at their Waconia location for 2020,” said Chamber President Kellie Sites. “We are hopeful that as the Lake Waconia Regional Park completes the work that needs to get done, we will get the Ride-In back in Waconia. The economic impact for Waconia and Carver County is quite important for us in the winter and we know that the people who attend the show love the people and amenities here.”

Glencoe charter change blocked by one vote

Glencoe City Council voted 4-1 Aug. 5 in favor of a proposed change in the city charter, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

The change would allow the fire department to switch from electing new firefighters and officers to using a selection process based on a recommendation of a committee charged with selecting the most-qualified candidates

Changes to the city’s charter require three readings, all of which require a unanimous vote to pass.

Councilor Allen Robeck voted against the proposal.

Monticello H.S. graduate is powerlifting champion

Amanda Lawrence, a 2015 Monticello High School graduate, has earned the title of female International Powerlifting Federation Champion of Champions, the Monticello Times reported.

Lawrence, 22, has accomplished this goal with just three years of practice.

At Monticello High School, she played basketball and soccer. When she started college, she joined a gym to stay fit. She said her goal was “to lose weight and start bodybuilding.”

At the world championship in Sweden in June, she earned first place for her weight class (185 pounds). She scored a 536-pound squat, a 259-pound bench, and a 556-pound deadlift, totaling 1,351 pounds, and breaking world records for her squat and deadlift.

Finalists chosen for McLeod County administrator job

McLeod County commisioners interviewed three finalists for the county administrator position Aug. 6, the McLeod County Chronicle reported.

The three finalists are Sheila Murphy, who has served as interim administrator since the spring of 2018; Clark Schroeder, former administrator of Curry County, OR; and Danielle Amira, an accountant in the City of Prior Lake’s finance department.

The finalists were chosen from a pool of about 25 applicants, according to County Attorney Michael Junge.

Litchfield School Board OKs referendum questions

Litchfield School Board, on a 5-1 vote Monday, determined the language for three questions for a fall operating and bond referendum, the Litchfield Independent Review reported.

The board plans to place those three questions on the ballot Tuesday, Nov. 5. The official questions, followed by tax details, are:

1. The board of Independent School District No. 465 (Litchfield Public Schools) has proposed to increase its general education revenue by $625 per pupil. The proposed referendum revenue authorization would increase each year by the rate of inflation and be applicable for ten years unless otherwise revoked or reduced as provided by law. Shall the increase in the revenue proposed by the board of Independent School District No. 465 be approved?

An increase in the operating levy of $625 per pupil will increase property taxes by $142 per year for a home valued at $137,000, the average-valued home in the district, according to school consultants.

2. Shall the school board of Independent School District No. 465 (Litchfield Public Schools) be authorized to issue its general obligation school building bonds in an amount not to exceed $32,995,000 to provide funds for the acquisition and betterment of school sites and facilities at Lake Ripley Elementary School, Litchfield Middle School and Litchfield High School, including the construction of improvements to the overall traffic flow, the creation of secure entries, the repurposing and creation of educational spaces, the repurposing and creation of common spaces, the completion of various deferred maintenance projects and the acquisition of furniture, fixtures and equipment?

Funding for building additions and improvements of $32.995 million, will increase taxes by $128 per year for homes valued at $137,000.

3. If both School District Question 1 and School District Question 2 are approved, shall the school board of Independent School District No. 465 (Litchfield Public Schools) also be authorized to issue its general obligation school building bonds in an amount not to exceed $11,430,000 to provide funds for the acquisition and betterment of school sites and facilities, including the construction and equipping of an aquatics facility addition to the existing high school facility?

This would fund construction for $11.43 million toward a new pool facility, create and improve a weight room or cardio space and soccer fields. As a result, this will increase taxes by $67 per year for homes valued at $137,000.