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News from the week of August 15, 2001 Headlight Herald - Serving Tracy, Minnesota, since 1880

Illegal dumping continues

Public urged to keep eye out for perpetrators

Tracy Police Chief Bryan Hillger reported to council members Monday that non-acceptable items are still being illegally dumped at the city's yard and garden compost site.

“It was pretty good for three or four weeks, but it is picking up in bits and pieces,” the chief commented.

Hillger shared photos of a dismantled wood office table discarded in a brush pile and covered with branches.

“Whoever is doing this, they know that it is wrong because they are trying to cover it up.”

The city compost site is located off Hwy. 14, on the northwest edge of town. It's available to city residents for the disposal of biodegradable lawn and garden items, such as leaves, branches, and garden refuse. No other items are allowed. The city has a special permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to operate the dump.

A rash of major dumping violations this spring caused the council to establish a $500 reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of the individuals responsible. At that time, council members considered establishing more restrictive hours for the dump, and hiring a monitor to watch when the dump is open.

EDA seeks big funding jump

Multitude of development projects proposed

The Tracy Economic Development Authority is requesting a sharp increase in city funding for its 2002 budget.

In a budget submitted to Tracy City Council members Monday, the EDA requests $135,000 for its economic development fund. Last year, the council budgeted $30,000 for the 2001 revolving loan fund. An additional $50,000 appropriation was okayed by the council this summer. The city appropriated $10,000 and $5,000 for the EDA fund, in 1999 and 2000, respectfully.

“It is an aggressive budget, but if we are going to continue to move forward, we are going to be needing to spend some money,” said Bob Gervais, Tracy Community Development Director.

Gervais outlined the following possible uses of EDA money next year.

• $30,000 to help a local business expand.

• $25,000 to assist with the construction of a non-profit children's day care facility. (The EDA is applying for state-matching grant funding to construct the day-care center).

• $20,000 to develop a call-center.

• $10,000 to improve access to technology.

• $50,000 for the business revolving loan fund.

Solutions elusive for Eastview lot dilemma

Tracy City Council members found themselves on the horns of a real estate development dilemma Monday night.

Council members wrestled with these two questions: 1) Is it best to stand firm on the asking price of developed lots in the Eastview Addition, in hopes of recouping a larger percentage of taxpayer development costs? 2) Or should offers far less than the city's development costs be accepted and risk lower future prices, if the immediate pay-off is new housing construction, more property taxes, and reduced city debt?

Council members found that the answers were anything but clear-cut during a lengthy discussion. Council consensus was to leave Eastview lot prices at $9,000, but remain “open to negotiation.”

The debate was prompted by a Tracy Economic Development Authority (EDA) decision on July 27, to reject a $6,500 offer from Darin and Tammy Horner, to purchase a 100-foot lot on Sunrise Drive. The Horners planned to build a new house.

Tracy students taking core classes score above state ACT averages

Tracy School Board members heard reports from both school principals regarding recent test score results at their August 13 meeting. High School Principal John Rokke and Elementary School Principal Scott Loeslie were both upbeat in their reports.

Rokke reported that Tracy students who are taking “core” classes are doing better than state and national average on the ACT test. The core classes include college-preparatory electives, such as geometry and higher algebra. Students who take these classes typically plan to attend college.

The average composite (combined test results from four subject areas) scores for Tracy students who took the ACT test in 2000-2001 was 23.3. The state average was 22.8 and the national average 21.9.

However, Tracy students who have not taken the “core” classes, but still took the ACT performed lower than the state and national averages. These Tracy students averaged 18.7, while the state average was 20.3, the national average 19.5.

No curb-stop? It could cost you

Attention Tracy homeowners! Does your property have a working curb-stop for turning water service off and on?

The City of Tracy is considering an ordinance amendment that requires functional curb-stops at all properties. A public hearing on the proposed change will be continued on Monday, August 27.

Most city properties have curb- stops. But a handful of homes—no one is sure how many—do not have curb-stops.

City staff recommend the amendment because without a curb- stop, it is much more difficult and time-consuming to turn off water to a home in an emergency. It is also more difficult for the city to shut off water service for non-payment of a bill.

Monday night, city council members expressed concern that installing curb-stops could become a hardship for some owners. Estimated cost for installing a new curb-stop is $1,000, although costs will vary depending on individual property. Repairing a broken curb- stop could cost several hundred dollars.

Small grain harvest wraps up

By Dave Brakke

Most people associate October to be the month of harvest but for small grain crops August is the month to reap the rewards.

Small grain crops that are grown around the tri-county area include oats, wheat and a very small number of barley fields.

“It's not really a major crop for this area,” commented U of M extension educator Bob Byrnes.

According to Byrnes there are only a few reasons that farmers around this area grow small grain crops.

“Farmers can sell the grain, some of which maybe used to feed their livestock. Others are interested in the straw, while others use the fields to dispose of animal waste which can be used as fertilizer.”

Considering the weird weather patterns that the Midwest has been experiencing the yield have been quite good, and since dry weather is perfect for harvesting small grain crops most farmers were able to harvest without much problem.