The city of River Falls is moving forward with its plans for hydroelectric relicensing. The city council approved in February a resolution to relicense the hydroelectric project (which includes both dams) for the final time, and remove each dam "At the end of its useful life."

The city is now moving forward with the relicensing process and has approved an agreement with TRC Solutions consulting firm. TRC Solutions will help city staff complete the initial application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for relicensing.

According to the council packet, TRC was chosen because "they had the potential to provide the best fit for River Falls due to their experience in similar projects and environmental qualifications."

The agreement was approved without discussion by a majority of the council.

Sterling Ponds final plat

Villas of Sterling Ponds housing development is set to start growing again. The city council approved a final plat for Phase 3 of the development.

The preliminary plat was approved in 2003. The plan commission and council approved and updated the preliminary plat in late 2017.

The final plat includes six lots in the interior block of Brentwood Circle. A pond access easement dedicated to the city was added.

A number of conditions were recommended by staff in order for the plat to be approved. Some of those include requiring the developer to plant one tree for every 40 feet of frontage on all streets in the right of way. This would be about 34 trees.

Parts of the area to be developed are within the city's "shoreland buffer area." The city is requiring the developer to allow staff to review the site plan for lots in that area, as certain building materials are not permitted within that zone.

The developer will need to install all street signage at the approved locations, at the developer's cost.

The developer needs to provide proof of insurance to the city.

SAFER grant

The council approved an application for a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This is a three-year grant that would provide funding for hiring and employing firefighters for three years. The grant will fund 75 percent of salaries and benefits for the first two years and 35 percent of the cost in the third year.

The River Falls Fire Department asked the council to approve the grant application so that a daytime fire officer could be hired to assist with staffing operations at the fire station.

The daytime officer would be "first out" to the department's "all calls," would assess the situation and order an appropriate number of firefighters and other resources to the scene. The daytime officer would also assist with training preparation, public education, inspections and more. This would also be part of the department's succession plan, when Fire Chief Scott Nelson retires sometime in the next few years.

The grant request is for $184,112. The total cost of the position is $298,560, according to City Administrator Scot Simpson.

Municipal court

The council approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the city municipal court. The MOU formalized procedures and processes for administration of the court. The MOU is required to comply with Wisconsin law.

Official newspaper

The River Falls Journal was named the city's official paper. It was the only bidder for that position.

Watch the full council meeting below:

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