STACIE KVILVANG of Ehler’s and Associates gave a rundown on what the city of Big Lake is looking at with the call for the sale of $2.5 million of taxable bonds to be used to purchase property along Minnesota Ave. (Photo by Bill Morgan).

City to buy library building

Staff Writer
Bill Morgan


The Big Lake City Council voted to approve the call for the sale of $2.5 million of taxable G.O. tax abatement bonds to refinance the city’s EDA lease revenue bond from 2008 and acquire property at 790 Minnesota Ave. to be used, in part, for a library.
Stacie Kvilvang of Ehler’s and Associates summarized the proposed bond issue to council and recommended two possible call options for the call date (payoff or refinance of the bonds).
Kvilvang said since a large portion of the bond issue is to finance previous land acquisition for an industrial park, there will be future land sale proceeds that could be used to pay off or write down the bond issue at refinancing.
The two options are a three-year or five-year call date to provide the city with the most flexibility. The difference in annual debt service for Big Lake between the two options is approximately $840 or $12,600 over the term of the bonds.
Kvilvang said if the city is of the opinion that significant land sale proceeds will be realized in the next several years, then a three-year call would be appropriate. If the city thinks it will take quite a bit longer, then Kvilvang suggests a five-year deal.
Council voted to go with the three-year option.
A public hearing on the issuance of the tax abatement bonds is Dec. 3 with the city awarding the sale of the bonds the following week. Closing date is scheduled for Dec. 31.
Delinquent Fees
Two public hearings were held at Wednesday’s meeting in regards to unpaid utility and maintenance fees. The first public hearing was in regards to 2013 delinquent utilities for approximately 460+ properties amounting to $308,474.98. The second public hearing was for unpaid delinquent weed/ grass/snow removal maintenance that involves 25 properties and over $6,368 in fees.
No one from the public attended the meeting to speak against the charges. All charges will be certified to the county starting this week to be tacked on to the homeowners’ 2014 property taxes.
Legion Donation
Police Chief Joel Scharf asked council to approve a donation in the amount of $750 from the Big Lake American Legion. Scharf said the money will be used towards the department’s purchase of new badges for members of the division.
Scharf said a request was made by members of his department in 2012 to select a new style of badge that would show the brand associated with the department. The $750 donation amount — coupled with a previous $1,000 donation — helps bring the amount needed to fully purchase the badges to a realistic goal, Scharf said.
Fire Dept.
Chief Randy Miller gave a rundown on recent fire dept. events:
•The BLFD has dealt with 10 calls for service in the last three days;
•Firefighters are going through training now and have more training dates upcoming:
•A new Polaris 600 snowmobile is now part of the department’s fleet and Miller said they sold their used one for nearly $1,000 in an auction;
•Miller said the department is looking at possibly purchasing a thermal imager by 2014.
Police Dept.
•Scharf said he has seen over 6,500 calls for service to his department so far this year;
•Scharf’s officers completed quarterly gun training in St. Cloud this past week;
• The BLPD is training with their “go-bags” that will be part of each officer’s squad car’s arsenal;
•Scharf said he and the county are working on dealing with the safety issues associated with traffic and pedestrian accidents along Eagle Lake Rd. His department is considering installing flashing LED lights at crossings to slow traffic near and around the high school turnoff.
Comm. Development
•Todd Bodem welcomed Heidi Steinmetz as the city’s new economic development manager;
•Bodem mentioned the city’s website will now feature new videos on the site much like what the City of Monticello has;
•Bodem said the Dill Dental, Lake Shopping Center and Northern Star Apartment projects are moving along well.
Building Dept.
•Bodem filled in for Mick Kaehler and said the building department has seen 22 single-family permits so far this year.
Engineering Dept.
•Jared Voge of Bolton & Menk said the water repair at Big Lake Homes has been done;
•Voge said the Co. Rd. 43 improvements won’t occur until spring due to BNSF scheduling;
•The well head protection plan is being worked on by his department.
Finance Dept.
•Jessica Green said she and staff are working on delinquent utility issues;
•She is also looking over the fee schedule and budget for 2014 and working on year-end items.
Liquor Store
•Jan Muehlbauer said the recent Wine Fest event was a success with 136 paid participants;
•Muehlbauer said she dealt with an alarm at the liquor store at 2:30 a.m. and it was discovered there was a small electrical issue in the alarm box that caused the distress signal. Muehlbauer said it’s been fixed and is back to being operable;
•The liquor store will be hosting their first-ever Black Friday event featuring many sale prices and deals for customers interested in stopping by that day.
The usual second meeting of the month for November has been cancelled due to the Thanksgiving holiday, so the next council meeting is Wed., Dec. 11 at 6 p.m.


SHERBURNE COUNTY FAIR BOARD MEMBER Irene Kostreba, pictured here showing a very old poster advertising a Sherwin Linton concert, is still looking for items to display in the county fair history center. Items could be given on loan or donated to the fair board. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

FRESH FLAME BURGER serves up fast food with its own flair on Hwy. 10 in Big Lake. Clara Henderson, Kari Luckey and Jamall Whitelaw ordered their food to go from restaurant owner Gus Afrooz. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

SHERBURNE COUNTY 4-H’ers got some hands-on experience working at the 4-H foodstand at the fairgrounds Wednesday evening in preparation for the Sherburne County Fair, which starts Wednesday. About 60 kids from six different 4-H clubs learned how to grill burgers, cook fries and hot dogs and serve customers during the orientation event. Above are Big Lakers Katie Olson (left), Kirsten Olson and Taylor Muehlbauer cooking fries and Bailey Muehlbauer (right) getting hamburger buns ready. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

GRAND KNIGHT DENNIS NAGORSKI of the Knights of Columbus presented Big Lake Chief of Police Joel Scharf and Becker Chief of Police Brent Baloun with a donation of prescription drug drop-boxes for each city. Along with marijuana, prescription drugs are often abused because of easy access. Keeping them out of the water system is important to protect the environment. Now our residents have a safe way to dispose of their unwanted or out-dated medications. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).