Busy night at Rochester City Council meeting - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Busy night at Rochester City Council meeting

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC)--  A number of topics were addressed at Monday's Rochester City Council meeting, from increasing property taxes to upcoming road construction projects.

At the truth and taxation meeting, some area residents spoke out about the proposed increase.

Rochester resident, Konrad Schulz-Fincke says, "I would like to recommend that the property taxes stay the same as they were in this year."

In the past, the market value credit program through the state helped cities, but this year it was cut from the state's budget.

Now Rochester residents will have to foot the $47,950,000 bill, to operate the city, as the market value credit no longer applies.

Some people, including Reuben Unseth, spoke up, saying taxes shouldn't increase, "It's been challenging for those people, especially those that have been laid-off, lost jobs. My job four years ago went from full-time to part-time and I'm grateful that by God's help I've been able to muster up three or four jobs and keep the family afloat."

Council President, Dennis Hanson says the reality, is that the levy increase is necessary, or city services will be cut.

"Street repairs filling all those lousy potholes every summer, snow plowing in the winter time, parks that wouldn't get mowed and venues that would get shut down."

In other council news:

Construction will start this summer on 2nd Street Southwest, from 6th Avenue to 11th Avenue.

The project will replace the 42-year-old concrete pavement along with improving traffic signals and pedestrians crossing. In 2009, 2nd Street was revamped from Broadway to 6th Avenue.

The council is now going to open the project up for bids.

Finally, City Lines is contracted with the city through June of 2012, but at the beginning of the new year, the Federal Transpiration Administration is requiring the city to open the service for bids.

While that's nothing new, the council did approve city lines to run a non-exclusive franchise for up to 5-years, meaning even if they don't get the new contract bid, they can still run a competitive bus company, possibly with the same routes and cheaper fares.

The council also approved a lease with a new company, Bio Mold, for space in the Minnesota Bio Business Center. The new company will make screws used for orthopedic surgeries and bring 12 new jobs to the downtown area.

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