6/13/2013 2:49:00 PM City Community Center youth program closed
by PAUL RIGNELL
A Taylors Falls summer youth program that had grown in popularity will not be offered in 2013 due to the absence of its supervisor. City Council member Larry Julik-Heine, a liaison to the Parks and Recreation Commission, reported at the council meeting June 10 that Bob Zemlin, who led youth in afternoon arts and crafts for six-week sessions in 2011 and 2012, had run into a conflict for this summer. Julik-Heine also said the parks commissioners had not found a candidate to succeed Zemlin in time.
They did not circulate flyers for the program at Taylors Falls Elementary School this spring as they had in the previous years. The city had charged just $1 per day per youth for the arts program, held at the Community Center, which met four afternoons per week starting after the school year ended and continuing into mid-July. “It’s unfortunate,” Julik-Heine said. “It’s been a popular program, but next summer, we’ll get somebody to run it for us.” Mayor Mike Buchite said that in spite of his legislative lobbying, and approval from the House of Representatives, a proposed bill that could have attracted business into an industrial park on County Road 37 was not passed in the 2013 legislative session. Buchite said that a measure to waive state property taxes for incoming businesses over five years never received a hearing in the Senate.
The mayor said there are four available lots in the business park, where the city and Chisago County completed infrastructure in 2012, and Buchite said that the tax incentive, if approved in a future session, could mean annual savings of $2,000 to $5,000 over five years for a business with a new building. In other city business, council approved a 50-cent hourly wage increase for Coordinator-Zoning Administrator Adam Berklund, who has worked for the city about 18 months. At a 12-month review for Berklund last December, council members said they wanted to approve a 50-cent increase but also wished to see improvement in his correspondence, including grant applications, and greater clarity in his emails to council and staff. Berklund told the council this week that the Library Board wished to award a painting contract during a special meeting June 12. One request for bids on the project drew two quotes that differed by about $5,000. Library Board members felt they could not be certain about those bids, Berklund reported, so they decided to open the process again for further bids.
The city contacted Menards, of St. Croix Falls, which offered the names of three more area contractors. Volunteers from groups including the Library Board, Lions Club and Historical Society will prep and prime the library’s exterior before the professional contractor paints. Berklund said the work will change the library’s facade from pink to a yellow color scheme. Council voted that parking on Ravine Street, adjacent to Romayne’s bar and grill, will be switched to parallel parking from angled parking after the road is re-paved this summer. Council members said parallel parking on the block will improve safety for all motorists.