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Three Rockford City Council members take their oaths of office at the Jan. 8 council meeting, the first of the year. The three are (left to right) Scott Seymour, Ted Hill and Debbie Buoy. (Photo by Susan Van Cleaf)

The Delano/Rockford High School boys’ hockey team has reserved the Rockford hockey rink for an outdoor practice that will be open to the public from 5 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 31. 

“As they did last year, the team would hold a practice and then the H.S. players would stick around and skate for a bit with any kids in the community or the (Hockey) Association that might want to meet and skate with them,” said Rockford City Administrator Dan Madsen.

“While it was cold last year, there were several fans and parents of players, as well as youth, that attended to watch the practice and skate with the team,” he said. “It was a fun event for the coaches, players and fans alike.”

Madsen asked for and got approval from the Rockford City Council for closing the Rockford rink to the general public in order to reserve the rink for the High School hockey team’s public outdoor practice.

The topic of the outdoor practice came up at the City Council’s Jan. 8 regular meeting. The council also took up other business. Here are meeting highlights.

OATHS OF OFFICE, APPOINTMENTS

At the start of the meeting, City Administrator Madsen administered oaths of office to City Councilors Scott Seymour, Ted Hill and Debbie Buoy, who were elected in November.

Then the council approved a host of appointments, ranging from assessor to weed inspector. Most appointments were renewed positions such as Wenck & Associates as city engineers, Dan Licht of the Planning Company as planning consultant, Crow River News as designated newspaper for city legal announcements, Ben Sanderson as fire chief and Trevor Brummer as Public Works Director.

Appointment changes for 2019 included Nathan Buoy as assistant fire chief for 2019-20, Bobbie Dahlke and Rosemary Seymour as Park and Recreation Commissioners for 2019-21 and Mike Werman and Nick Morter as Planning and Zoning Commissioners for 2019-21.

APPROVAL OF 2019 FEES

In other beginning of the year business, the City Council approved a number of fees for city services.

For example, the base rate for Rockford water customers is $4.95 and additional water costs $4.94 per 1,000 gallons. The base rate for sewer users is $4.95 with additional sewer usage costing $6.85 per 1,000 gallons. The sewer only rate is $54.34 per quarter.

Cost to rent the Riverside Park Building is $170 plus tax for nonresidents, $128 plus tax for residents and $40 for non-profit organizations.

FIRE DEPARTMENT RAFFLES

In other business, the council approved raffle permits for three events that will raise funds for the Rockford Fire Department. The Rockford Fire Relief Association will hold the raffles on or about Saturday, Feb. 23; Sunday, May 5 and Saturday, Oct. 5. The May 5 event will be at Riverside Park, and the other two events will be at the Rockford Fire Station. The three raffles are projected to raise $5,000 during the year.

BOARD OF APPEAL

Turning to the topic of property taxes, the City Council set April 9 as the date for the Local Board of Appeal and Equalization meeting at Rockford City Hall. Each year Rockford property owners have this opportunity to meet with Wright and Hennepin County assessors to discuss assessed property market values which will be used for calculating property taxes payable in the following year. Property owners can file protests of their proposed assessed property values.

VISIT FROM COUNTY COMMISSIONER POTTER

During Open Forum, Michael Potter, who represents the fourth district on the Wright County Board, summed up county board budget actions and upcoming issues for 2019.

He acknowledged that Wright County has an exceptionally high property tax levy for this year. He said the county board wants to correct this problem and to look closely at what it says “yes” to this coming year.

Potter said a new Wright County justice center finally is under construction, and the county should have undertaken the project sooner. Estimated cost in 2004 was $20 million. Cost estimates have risen to $47 million now.

The county also is looking at what to do about its aging government center, built in 1959. Potter said the estimated cost to remodel the center is $20 million, and he expected renovations to last seven to 10 years. He is advocating for an alternative, moving the government center to the justice center campus. He said a move would be more cost efficient than a remodel.

He mentioned high Health and Human Services costs when the court takes a child away from his or her parents - $1,400 a day. He is looking for a better alternative.

Potter said he has been re-elected as chair of the Highway 55 Safety Coalition, which is working to get money for Highway 55 improvements.

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