City of New Richmond, Wis., the City Beautilful

New Richmond City Council members held their regular monthly meeting Monday night, June 14. Members and audience participants attended in-person as well as virtually..

Here is what you need to know:

1. Planning, development posts approved

Community Development Director Beth Thompson prepared a list of Building Inspection Office numbers May 31, 2021:

Building permits: 170

Dwelling units: 102 (50 of these dwelling units are from Dakota Meadows)

Inspections: 790

Residential construction value: $11,116,638

Commercial construction value: $8,647,246

Building permit fees: $133,750

Council members approved adding a full-time entry-level job for the planning department and a full-time position to the community development department, superseding the city staff’s request for a part-time addition to the development department.

Planning has been minus a director since Noah Wiedenfeld was promoted to city administrator/utilities manager in September 2020.

Mayor Fred Horne made the suggestion to increase the development position to full time and Alderman Craig Kittle concurred.

“I think it’s much needed. We have a lot of things going on, a lot of people with too much going on. It’s only going to get busier. I think that’s a good idea,” Kittle said.

Wiedenfeld hopes to have people in place by the end of July.

2. Freedom Center memorandum updated

Council members amended the memorandum of understanding with VFW Post 10818 for the Freedom Center, reclassifying the project as private development. The reclassification will allow the Post to select contractors and subcontractors -- i.e. take advantage of donated labor and discounts from private contractors -- of their choice, avoiding the public bidding process required if the project were classified as a public project.

“The revised MOU would provide the City of New Richmond with the ability to exercise an option, not a commitment, to purchase the building for $200,000 after the building is completed so following the issuance of a certificate of occupancy,” Wiedenfeld said.

The initial MOU committed the city to contribute $200,000 to interior working, making it a public project. The five-year timeline established in 2019 remains intact.

The VFW is scheduled to present its site plan to the Plan Commission on July 8.

3. City will borrow $918,000 to refinance golf course

The council accepted a bid from 1st National Community Bank to execute a taxable general obligation promissory note worth $918,000 with a 10-year term at an interest rate of 1.49%.

The new note consolidates $510,000 general obligation debt and a $400,000 privately held debt into one taxable issuance.

The loan is expected to save the New Richmond Golf Course and, by way of the new note, the city, $50,000 in interest. The city is expected to close on the loan July 8.

4. Quick hits

The City Council recognized Jeff Peplau for his 21 years serving on the board of Friday Memorial Library.

Council members extended their heartfelt thanks to the 652nd Engineer Company for recent efforts on the construction of the mixed-use trail at Freedom Park, and to all of the local community members who dropped off food, prepared meals, and showed their appreciation.

Tom Lindfors is a western Wisconsin freelance journalist and former Star-Observer reporter. Contact him at tom@lindforsphoto.com

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