Kim Ukura is the editor of the Morris Sun Tribune.
- Member for
- 1 year 9 months
Almost every taxpayer in the state of Minnesota will face increased property taxes next year - even before any tax changes made by counties, cities and school districts - thanks to a tax shift approved by the state legislature in July. During this year's legislative session, the legislature eliminated a tax break called the Homestead Market Value Credit (HMVC) and replaced it with the Homestead Market Value Exclusion (HMVE).
The Morris City Council approved two resolutions at their meeting Tuesday that will help get a Pacific Avenue improvement project underway next spring. The first resolution approved an agency agreement with the Minnesota Commissioner of Transportation to accept federal aid for the project, and the second accepted a bid and awarded a contract for the work. City Engineer Jeff Kuhn told the council the project consists of federal, state and some local funding. The federal funding is roughly $400,000 and state funding is about $200,000.
MORRIS -- Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman visited the West Central Research and Outreach Center and the biomass facility at the University of Minnesota, Morris, as part of a state-wide tour of Minnesota's clean energy marketplace and infrastructure. Thursday's tour included a look at the WCROC's solar heating and cooling systems, the renewable hydrogen and ammonia pilot plant and the biomass gasification system at UMM. The purpose of the visit was "learning what the future can be in the days ahead" and "how to find ways to make that work," explained Rothman.
MORRIS -- The biggest sticking point for the Morris Planning Commission's proposed zoning plan for the City of Morris is what to do about the railroad corridor through downtown. At a public hearing on Tuesday night, discussion about the proposed change prompted a small debate about the role of industry for the future of Morris. The Planning Commission has proposed 20 changes to the city zoning map .
MORRIS -- The Stevens County Board of Commissioners discussed proposed policies for licensed child care homes, approved a gravel lease agreement and appointed a county coroner at their meeting on Tuesday morning. The discussion over new policy began when Stevens County Human Services Director Joanie Murphy presented the board with a draft of policies for licensed child care homes. Current rules require a provider that takes care of children from more than one family to have a license.
Although there was some disagreement about the use and nature of incentive performance pay at a school board meeting Monday, the Morris Area School Board approved incentive performance pay for both district principals. High school Principal Mike Coquyt received $1,402 and elementary school principal Brad Korn received $1,427 out of a possible $1,900 in incentive performance pay. Superintendent Scott Monson told the board the incentive performance pay process involved setting focus areas and goals, drafting action plans for each focus area, working on each of the action items, then meeting wi
In the midst of budget discussions in Morris and Stevens County, Morris Public Library director Melissa Yauk has been working hard to get the word out about everything that happens at the library each day. In addition to showing just how the library works, Yauk also shared the new technology and electronic resources the library has added within the last year, thanks to work with the Viking Library System, the Stevens County Economic Improvement Commission and the Friends of the Library.
Enrollment at the University of Minnesota, Morris is at the highest total in more than 10 years, with 1,822 degree-seeking students on campus, continuing a four-year growth trend. When combined with nondegree-seeking students - PSEO students, people taking only one class for enrichment and online students - the total enrollment sits at 1,934. This number is still preliminary until the Board of Regents meets in October. "We're very excited about the growth," said Bryan Hermann, UMM director of admissions.
The neighborhood I lived in when I was a kid was in a new, suburban development, one without any amenities like parks or walking paths because much of the neighborhood was still under construction. A couple of years after we moved in, when I was around eight, the neighborhood joined together and decide to build a community park. I don't know all the details about how it was paid for or what the agreement with the city was, but I do remember that the entire neighborhood pitched in to help assemble the playground one rainy Saturday in the fall.
At a meeting on Tuesday, the Morris City Council approved a preliminary tax levy for 2012 of about $1.3 million, a 7.6 percent increase from 2011. However, in his notes to the city council, City Manager Blaine Hill said he anticipates the final levy will be somewhere between 3 and 5 percent. The preliminary city budget is set at $9.6 million, about a 13 percent increase from last year. That increase includes additional revenue and expenses from the federally-funded Pacific Avenue Project, activity in bond funds and some one-time transfers.