The Motley City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday, to support grant applications to Sourcewell and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for energy and environment planning and implementation.

The city was invited to participate in the Region 5 Development Commission’s (R5DC) energy and environment planning program. R5DC will provide assistance in “local planning to mitigate against (Motley’s) unique identified near-term energy and environment risks.” Once the city’s plan is approved, it can receive up to $10,000 in grant funding.

R5DC will apply for a $200,000 grant through the USDA’s Rural Community Development Initiative program and partner with 10 cities within the region, all of which will receive a portion of the funding. Though it is a matching grant, R5DC will also apply for $10,000 in matching grants from Sourcewell.

“This is for anything that makes anything energy efficient,” said Motley City Clerk/Treasurer Curt Bryniarski. “If we wanted to make a building more energy efficient ... That kind of thing we could use this for.”

The planning process between the city and R5DC will consist of four meetings. The city will be responsible for creating a five-person team consisting of representatives from the city and community members to spearhead the city’s plan. The entire community will be surveyed for input on the work plan. The result will be an energy and environment report and a five-year work plan with funds to complete the projects identified.

The projects can cover a wide swath of energy and environment plans, ranging from rainwater gardens, to back-up generators to solar deployment. The committee will ultimately work with R5DC to identify what projects move forward.

“From what I’m seeing here, they’re pretty wide in their scope of things that you can do,” said Council Member Pat O’Regan. “It’s a lot of different areas we could be looking at.”

“What we could do is, go ahead and approve it, then we should probably start a committee,” said Mayor Al Yoder. “We could put every department head on there and whoever from the council wants to be on there just to come up with ideas what to do.”

The planning process wouldn’t begin until the third quarter of 2021.

Council Member Steve Johnson asked if it would hurt the city if it decided not to partner with R5DC.

“No, this is just a grant,” Yoder said. “This is a way of us getting some funds to pay for certain things that could be upgraded and would be better for the environment.”

Motley City Council Briefs:

In other business Monday, the Motley City Council:

• Scheduled an open house/meeting with representatives from Motley, Becker, Byron, Meadowbrook, May, Villard, Fawn Lake and Moose Lake townships for 6 p.m. Monday, March 1, for fire contract renewals;

• Advised Chief of Police Jason Borash to post abatement items seized from a local property for bids on the city’s website and social media pages. Items include an old pellet stove, push lawn mowers and fence posts;

• Scheduled city-wide garage sales for May 1-2;

• Scheduled City Clean-Up Day for May 15;

• Approved a bid from CTC IT to provide information technology services to the city at a cost of $350 per month;

• Approved a sponsorship agreement with Morrison County for Road Improvement Grants for Cemetery Road and Harrison Street;

• Accepted $355 worth of donations to the Fire Department’s truck fund;

• Consented for the use of bonds from the city of Pierz for improvements to the Harmony House, which is owned by Horizon Health of Pierz;

• Advised Mayor Al Yoder to get more information on a request from the Morrison Soil and Water Conservation District to assign a representative from the city to an advisory committee for the Long Prairie River One Watershed; and

• Approved a request for a letter of support from Todd County and Wadena County for a joint application for Local Road Improvement Program funding, contingent on Todd and Wadena counties providing letters of support for Motley’s Cemetery Road and Harrison Street projects.

The next meeting of the Motley City Council is at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 8, at Motley City Hall.

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