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News from the week of April 25, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

90% grant possible for Tracy airport runway

Thanks to the availability of 90% grant funding, extensive runway improvements may take flight this summer at the Tracy Municipal Airport.

Tracy City Council members decided to move forward with plans for a two-inch bituminous overlay of the airport runway and apron. Estimated cost is $166,366, but federal grant funds are available to pay 90% of costs up to $150,000. The city's net cost would be $16,637.

Council members agreed to have city engineers submit a project application prior to a May 1 deadline.

“The potential for federal very good,” wrote Charles Schwartz, a consulting engineer for RLK Kuusisto, in a memo to City Administrator Audrey Koopman.

Prior to the information about the federal grant, the city planned a far less ambitious airport project to fill cracks and seal the runway. The crack-filling program qualifies for a 60% state grant that would have cost the city about $26,000.

City issues sump deadline

Water must be directed toward streets

Water from basement sump pumps must be directed outdoors, Tracy residents are reminded.

Sump pumps emptying into floor drains are thought to be a major contributor into an overloaded sanitary sewer system in Tracy early this week.

“The sanitary sewer is full,” Don Polzine, Tracy Public Works Director, told Tracy City Council members Monday night. At the same time, the city's storm sewer system has a great deal of extra capacity. Unfortunately, Polzine said he saw very few sump-pump hoses leading from homes to city streets Monday afternoon. Water from sump hoses emptying into a street drains into a catch basin and the storm sewer system.

City ordinance prohibits homeowners from connecting sump pumps to the sanitary sewer. Council members ordered that city staff begin a strict enforcement of the ordinance Monday.

Pool may close by August 1

• Earlier closing might attract lower construction bids

The plug may be pulled on Tracy's 50-year-old swimming pool sooner than expected.

The Sebastian Park pool was expected to remain open until the weekend of August 25. Demolition of the old pool and construction on the planned Tracy Aquatic Center was to immediately follow.

However, a new scenario surfaced last week that would require the pool to close by about August. 1.

The earlier closing would give contractors an earlier start on the aquatic center. It is hoped that the earlier start will be an incentive for bidders to offer the city lower prices.

Consulting engineers told city officials last week that the city would likely realize significant savings with an August 1 construction start.

“They said it could be a difference of $100,000,” explained Shorty Engel, pool administrator.

Unexpected bills push TAMS into red

Tracy Area Medical Services has enjoyed healthy financial numbers for most of its 2000-01 fiscal year.

Patient activity is up significantly from a year ago. Revenues are better than expected. Combined hospital and clinic operations have been profitable.

But two unexpected circumstances are expected to leave TAMS showing a loss of over $200,000 for the 12-month fiscal year that ends April 30.

“It's disappointing,” TAMS Administrator Dan Reiner told community advisory board members last week.

The financial reversal is due to more than $250,000 in unexpected expenses being added to TAMS financial statement for the year.

Tracy clean-up days offer free pick up of yard & garden debris

• $7 appliance recycling set

A two-pronged Spring Clean-up campaign is set in Tracy May 7-8.

One facet of the effort involves the pick-up and transportation of lawn and garden to the city compost site. The other segment involves the disposal of old appliances.

Compost materials

On Monday, May 7, City of Tracy Public Works crews will pick up biodegradable compost items from city boulevards.

Grass clippings, sticks and leaves must be bagged. Tree branches, not to exceed four feet in length, must be neatly stacked up.

City crews will haul the lawn and garden materials to the city compost site at no charge.

Unacceptable items, such as building materials, will not be picked up.

Appliance disposal

City residents can have old appliances picked up on Tuesday, May 8, for a cost of $7 an item. Stickers, which need to be affixed to the disposed appliance, can be purchased for $7 each at Tracy City Hall.

Volunteer help

Anyone who is physically unable to clean up his or her own yard, or move an appliance to the curb, is invited to call city hall at 629-5528.

A volunteer group, coordinated by David Tieg, is being assembled to assist. There will be no charge, but donations to cover expenses are welcome.

Hey, did you hear about Shanna Lowe winning state story-telling medal?

Shanna Lowe had a way with words at the Minnesota Class A State Speech Tournament Saturday.

Lowe became the first Tracy speech student in at least 16 years to earn a state medal. She took home sixth place honors in story telling.

“I was really excited about getting into the finals,” the Tracy Area High School junior recalled. “When people started saying, `Shanna, there's your name, there's your name.' I couldn't believe it.”

Nicole Wilking, Tracy's other state speech entry, just missed the state finals in discussion. Wilking tied another entry for eighth-place, wasn't able to advance to finals based on a tie-breaking formula.

“They both did really well,” said Speech Coach Steve Jones of the articulate students. “It was a nice way to end a good year.”