Archive for News

One injured in car-semi crash on Highway 12

DELANO, MN – A 22-year-old Willmar man was injured after the vehicle he was driving collided with a semi truck on Highway 12 in Delano Friday.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a 2017 Ford Fusion driven by Ahmed Ali Abdi was westbound on Highway 12 between West River Road and Bridge Avenue when it lost control, crossed the center line, and hit an eastbound 2005 Freightliner semi driven by Abdulkhafar Jeilani Abukar, 51, of St. Louis Park.

Abdi suffered non-critical injuries and was transported to Buffalo Hospital by Ridgeview Ambulance.

Abukar was not injured.

Roads were snowy and icy at the time of the crash, according to the State Patrol.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

Delano Fire and the Wright County Sheriff’s Office assisted the State Patrol and Ridgeview Ambulance at the scene.

Wright County seeking foster homes

WRIGHT COUNTY, MN – Wright County Health and Human Services is seeking foster homes, according to a press release shared by the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

“Children enter foster care due to significant life factors often including abuse or neglect,” according to the press release. “This is an extremely difficult time for children. They are struggling and need extra support. The overall goal of foster care is to provide children with a temporary, stable, and caring family setting until they are reunited with their family or until a permanency plan is established for them.”

Wright County is especially in need of families who will support children over age 12, as well as families willing to care for children who have significant emotional or behavioral challenges.

Wright County Health and Human Services provides year-round training and support to foster parents.

“In order to preserve children’s educational stability, friendships, and support network, Wright County strives to keep children in their home communities,” according to the press release. “Unfortunately, this task is not possible if we do not have foster homes in each of our cities.”

Anyone interested in providing a safe and nurturing home for children by becoming a foster parent is encouraged to contact Marisa Ferguson at Marisa.ferguson@co.wright.mn.us or (763) 682-7484.

Flipped semi closes Highway 12 temporarily

MAPLE PLAIN/INDEPENDENCE, MN – The Delano Herald Journal has confirmed that a flipped semi near the Maple Plain and Independence border resulted in a closure of Highway 12 early Monday afternoon.

The driver of the semi, who has not been identified, suffered injuries, though the extent of those injuries is unknown at this time.

A West Hennepin Public Safety Department representative confirmed the road was closed for a period of time. It has been reopened, but will be closed temporarily once a tow truck arrives to remove the semi.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Delano Water, Light, and Power Commission to approve rates, budget Monday, Dec. 18

DELANO, MN – The Delano Water Light and Power Commission will discuss final 2018 budget details and general utility business during a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18, at Delano City Hall.

That special meeting will be followed by the commission’s regular meeting at 7 p.m.

That agenda will include approval of the 2018 electric and water rates, operational and capital budgets for electric and water, approval of salary increases for 2018, discussion of customer billing concerns, and approval of vehicle purchases.

Last Minute Monday – Check Out the Local Deals!

LMM_graphic_300x210Support your local businesses on Last Minute Monday and get great deals as you finish checking off items on your gift list!  Mon., Dec.18

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PRINTABLE PDF: CLICK HERE

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Delano tax levy to increase 6.65 percent

DELANO, MN – How much will property taxes increase in Delano in 2018?

The Delano City Council answered that question by approving the levy, budget, and capital improvement plan for the upcoming year Tuesday evening.

“The total levy is $3,282,640, an increase of 6.65 percent,” Finance Director Brian Bloch said. “More than half of that is coming from debt levies. They’re there because of our street projects.”

What does the levy increase mean for the average homeowner when combined with the county’s and school district’s tax levies?

“If you have a $250,000 home in 2017, you’re paying $3,228 in total tax,” Bloch said. “In 2018, if the home didn’t go up in value, you’ll pay $3,241. If the property value increases 6 percent, the home would be worth $265,000, and you’d be paying $3,466, or a 7 percent increase . . . We saw a significant increase in taxable market value, especially for homeowners compared to industrial, commercial, and retail.”

Bloch broke down the general fund expenditures of $3,560,800, noting that 28 percent will go to community services, 22 percent will go to general government, 20 percent will go to public safety, 13 percent will go to capital outlay, 12 percent will go to public works, and 5 percent will go to other.

“I’m curious what that’s allocated for,” resident Richard Kotten said, referencing the “other” category. “It’s quite a bit of money to have labeled as ‘other.’”

“Most of that is debt on this building . . . $160,000,” Bloch said. “Another $20,000 we put into the Economic Development Authority to pay for expenditures.”

City Administrator said the debt on the city hall building will be paid off in 2023.

“We have quite a few things that will fall off,” Mayor Dale Graunke said. “That’s why we’re projecting out four or five years.”

Graunke thanked Kotten for the question, and welcomed him to town, as he had said he was a new resident.

Bloch further broke down the general fund, explaining that it increased $148,345, or 4.3 percent.

Items impacting expenditures include a 16 percent increase in medical insurance; a 2 percent cost of living adjustment; capital needs; the new splash pad, which revenues are expected to offset; website redesign; and election expenses.

General fund revenues include 69 percent from property taxes, 10 percent from franchise fees, 10 percent from intergovernmental aids, 6 percent from transfers in, 3 percent for licenses and permits, 2 percent for charges for services, and less than 1 percent for other.

Bloch said the property tax percentage decreased by one point because intergovernmental aids increased by one point.

Regarding licenses and permits, Councilman Jon Sutherland said, “As far as estimates on construction activity, I’ve got a gut feeling you’re low. As far as lot inventory, we have more lots than that available in the city.”

Bloch agreed that he expects his estimate of 25 new homes to be low, as there have been more than 50 new homes built in 2017, but he stressed the importance of being conservative.

“If the economy continues the way it has been, we’ll have more permit revenue,” Bloch said. “It’s better to be conservative. One year, we budgeted $300,000, and had trouble getting to $90,000.”

Delano’s tax rate is 54.056 percent, the school district’s tax rate is 43.779 percent, and the county’s tax rate is 39.921 percent, for a total of 137.756 percent. Delano’s city tax rate is sixth lowest in the county, while the total tax rate is sixth highest.

Regarding the portion of taxes that go to the city, Bloch broke down how much services cost each month. For a $260,000 home, $20.82 will go toward parks and trails, $16.89 will go toward street reconstruction debt, $16.05 will go toward snow removal and street maintenance, $15.46 will go toward police, $12.36 will go toward capital outlay, $8.95 will go toward building and infrastructure debt, and $7.68 will go toward fire protection.

“If you compare that to some of your other bills, it puts it into perspective,” Bloch said.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved an amendment to the Wright County Area Transportation joint powers agreement to include Wright County. The agreement, which must be approved by all 14 cities included in WCAT, would allow the county to have representation on the Trailblazer Transit board and would require the county to fund 50 percent of transportation costs in the county, and the entire cost in five years.

• approved an ordinance amending city code related to right-of-way management regarding small cell towers within the right of way. Requests for small cell towers within the right of way will be subject to inter-department review. If a tower is abandoned, the company that abandoned it will not be allowed to build another tower within the city’s right of way.

• tabled the County State Aid Highway Corridor study. The study looked at current traffic and pedestrian movements and projected movements for 2027, and beyond 2027. Council members opted to table the study, as they requested more information about pedestrian wait times, and would like the county to consider changes to limit speeds within city limits. These structures must also be at least 10 feet from flood improvement structures.

• accepted a CSAH 17 study regarding river bank erosion near Second Street South. City Engineer Vince Vander Top expressed concerns that the study only addressed erosion and not flood concerns in that area. By accepting the study, the council did not endorse a remedy. City staff will continue to work with county staff to address the situation.

• recognized Dan Smith of the Friends of the Delano Library for various volunteer efforts, including working with the city to retrofit the library with LED fixtures and bulbs and leading a charge to have a mural painted on one of the library’s walls in the future. Smith accepted the award on behalf of the entire Friends of the Delano Library. “I appreciate what the city council has done in helping to fund some of the projects we’ve asked your help on,” Smith said.

• approved the vacation of a portion of a trail easement within Westridge Hills Third and Fourth Additions because the easement went through several homeowners’ properties.