TOWER— A former city landfill is now for sale following city council action on Monday. The city will accept bids for the 5.8-acre site, located just west of Hoodoo Point Road, through the end of …
TOWER— A former city landfill is now for sale following city council action on Monday. The city will accept bids for the 5.8-acre site, located just west of Hoodoo Point Road, through the end of the day on July 17. Based on a just-completed appraisal, the council set the minimum bid at $30,000.
Monday’s decision comes following a request by Dave Rose to purchase the property from the city as part of his plan to construct an RV park on adjacent property. Rose has indicated that the land would be primarily for green space and buffer, although he has yet to present the city with a site plan that would incorporate the site.
The city has maintained ownership of the property for years in hopes it could be used for riverfront development, although its former status as a landfill does complicate the use of the site. The former dump encompassed about an acre of the 5.8-acre tract and the city did undertake clean-up of the site under an agreement with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which does allow the property to be used for some purposes.
Mayor Josh Carlson said he favored selling the property as a means of getting it back on the city tax rolls. He said the city would also benefit from the funds generated by the purchase itself.
Neighbors to the property weren’t entirely pleased at the prospect of a sale, particularly if it were to facilitate development of Rose’s RV park, which is strongly opposed by residents in nearby Mill Point Plat. “Would the council consider keeping it as green space?” asked Mill Point Plat resident Joan Broten. But Councilor Kevin Fitton noted that Rose had indicated he intended to use the site mostly as a green buffer for his RV park.
“I understand the concern at Mill Point,” said Carlson, “but I don’t see the value of using it for green space.”
In the end, the council, minus the absent Brad Matich, voted to put the property up for sale. Interested parties should submit sealed bids directly to city hall by 4 p.m. on Monday, July 17.
In other business, the council approved seeking bids for extension of water and electrical service to several new seasonal campsites at Hoodoo Point, with a possible add-on to include full repair of the campground sewer, including a new lift station and force main that would tie into the municipal sewer system.
SEH engineer Jason Chopp estimates the cost of the initial option at $274,000, although an actual number won’t be known until bids come in. He estimates that the full sewer repair would cost an additional $99,000, for a total price tag of $373,000. The city plans to pay for the project through a revenue bond, which would be funded in part through campground fees from the new RV sites created by the project. Campground manager Randy Pratt estimates the campground will generate about $15,000-$17,000 a year in additional revenue as a result of the site upgrades, which should cover a portion of the cost of repaying a revenue bond.
But it’s not clear how quickly that payoff will come. Doing a quick calculation, Councilor Fitton suggested it would take about 16 years to retire the debt for the lower cost option, or about 19 years for the more costly option. The lower cost option would require the city to manually collect RV waste with a mobile storage tank. Chopp estimated the seasonal cost for that at about $8,300 a year, which would reduce the net revenue to pay off the bond. Mayor Carlson said the other revenue sources at the campground will also be tapped to cover the debt service, including an ongoing surcharge that the campground assesses on campers for long-term capital improvements, which generates about $8,000 a year. That fund currently has about $30,000 in it, according to Carlson.
The campground is currently served by a mound system that the city installed more than 20 years ago. That system will be abandoned under either upgrade scenario.
In other action, the council:
• Approved a letter of intent with Dougherty & Company for underwriting services for bonding for a Park and Recreation revenue bond. The letter specified no actual dollar amount and the letter is not considered binding on either party. The revenue bond would provide funding for the ??? project.
• Approved 2017 liquor licenses for Benchwarmers, D’Ericks, and Good Ol’ Days. The council will need to consider an ordinance change to allow for Sunday off-sale in town. According to Carlson, both Benchwarmers and D’Ericks have indicated they are interested in Sunday sales.
• Approved cigarette sale licenses for Zup’s, Bob’s Service, Food n’ Fuel, Good Ol’ Days, D’Ericks, and Benchwarmers.
• Approved street closure requests by Randy Semo and Dave Erickson for the 4th of July celebrations. Both establishments will be hosting outdoor events as usual.
• Approved changes rates for ambulance-related services. The specialty care rate will increase from $950 to $1,500, the mileage rate will increase from $12.50 to $15 and the ALS rate will increase from $1,250 to $1,350. All other rates will remain the same.
• Approved a motion to continue to purchase propane from Como Oil and Propane, which agreed to match a lower offer from Lakes Gas. The city will pay $1.04.9 for the upcoming heating season.
• Approved the transfer of the former Van Air hangar at the Tower Airport to Adventure Seaplanes.
• Sent proposed loan guidelines back to the Tower Economic Development Authority for minor revisions.
• Hired Adam Burgess as a summer helper pending completion of a background check.
• Approved reports from city officers and commissions.