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Opposition arises to fire-protection fees

STEWARTVILLE — How much should township residents pay for fire protection and first responders? Should they pay the same as those who live in town?

Those questions and others flew back and forth during the Stewartville City Council meeting on Tuesday when Mike Meyers, a supervisor from the Rock Dell town board, addressed the council about the proposed 2012 fees.

The city council voted to keep the present formula for calculating the fees; Judy Hanson voted no. The formula factors in one half of the population of the township or town and one half of the market value of all property, not just the buildings.

Meyers said some of the townships might not accept the fees and that "some of us do have options, some of us don’t," he said.

Different formulas have been tried to calculate the fees. In years past, the number of calls was used as a way to charge the townships, but fees could fluctuate from year to year depending on the number of calls in one year, said City Administrator Bill Schimmel. One year, the city proposed using the formula endorsed by the Minnesota Association of Townships, but the townships did not like that calculation either, Schimmel said.


Meyers suggested changing the formula to not include land in the calculation but only the buildings and one acre.

Mayor Jimmie-John King said he liked knowing someone would respond if his arm got caught in a combine while he was in a field. Also, he said, if a field catches on fire, the neighbors would like help protecting their crops.

In other business, the council approved:

• $106,000 in financial assistance for infrastructure improvements for Geotek, which is in Tax Increment District-Redevelopment District No. 2.

• The 2012 transit grant application for the state to operate the Heartland Express Bus. The state will pay 80 percent of the costs of operating the bus, and the city will pay 20 percent.

• A drainage study costing $3,690 for the Tebay Industrial Park to ensure a storm water net run-off of zero.

• An update to the commercial site plan review checklist in the zoning ordinance with the help of city engineer David Strauss for $4,820.

• A special council budget meeting at 6:30 p.m. Sept 6 at city hall.


The next regular meeting of the council will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 at city hall.

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