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Raymond City Council to Become a Part of Highway 23 Coalition

The Clara City Herald / Billie Jo Rassat on August 15, 2018

At the regular Raymond City Council meeting on Aug. 13, the council approved a membership to the Highway 23 Coalition. With the membership, the city is in support of the organization who will continue to "fill the gaps in four-lane access" along Highway 23 that runs from Marshall to St. Cloud. 

Before the council approved the $1,000 membership for one year, a presentation was given from Highway 23 Coalition Secretary/Treasurer, Aaron Backman. In his presentation, Backman talked about the work the Coalition has done with the support of its other members and grants they have been awarded. "More partners will strengthen our voice," Backman said.

According to Backman, the Coalition secured $105 million from Governor Mark Dayton's 2018 Bonding Bill. With those funds the Coalition has been working on different areas along Highway 23. In one such area, the Coalition made it possible to upgrade a seven mile stretch, from New London to Paynesville, from two lanes to four lanes.

Locally, Backman talked about how the city's membership with the Coalition and their efforts would affect Raymond. He mentioned the length of Highway 23 that connects with County Road 1. That area, Backman said, is a place of concern to the Coalition.

The motion was made by council member Tim Stutelberg to become member of the Coalition because he has known people who have been hurt in the accidents at the intersection ofHighway 23 and County Road 1.The motion was seconded by council member Brad Heida, passing 4-0.

Also in attendance at the council meeting, that was held at the Hawk Creek Country Club, were Hawk Creek Country Club Manager, Kevin Hauser, and Raymond Economic Development Authority member, Ron Ulferts. Both men asked the council to consider putting country club full-time employee, Ernie Jenkins, on the city's payroll in order for him to get benefits. Hauser said Jenkins' salary is just not enough for the work he does at the golf course throughout the year. Jenkins puts in an average of 50 hours a month and is off about two months a year. Ulferts brought up the idea that Jenkins be offered a city position and in those off months he can fill in where the city is in need, like with snow removal. Ulferts added Jenkins' skills as a mechanic would be worth it for the city, as "Without Jenkins, the golf course would not be running today," Ulferts said about how Jenkins' skills have kept the water system, the mowers, and other equipment the course uses running. 

After discussion on the issue, the council agreed to look into this matter further and will address it again at the next meeting.

Ulferts also asked the city where they were at in regards to the efforts of a past project form the Kandiyohi County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Executive Director Jill Bengston. For some time now, Bengston has been looking into putting in rental properties in Raymond. In her last correspondence with Raymond's Mayor Ardell Tensen, he said Bengston has been waiting to receive written agreements with two other cities, along with Raymond, for similar projects to be funded under the same grant. The council agreed to keep inquiring about the efforts Bengston and the Kandiyohi County HRA have been making to bring much needed rental properties to the city.

In other business, two members of the Raymond Lions Club were also in attendance. Lions members Bridget Neuman and Ian Graue came to the council to seek their input on the needs of the city the Lions could use recently gifted funds. They were looking for smaller projects to work with the city on to make the community a better place. 

The council gave the Lions members a few ideas including putting in trees along Highway 23 in from of the cemetery, helping with a recent push for Raymond Museum putting new ceiling tile in the Community Center, and updating the Community Center kitchen with things like cabinets.

The Lions members promised to take the council's suggestions back to their organization or more discussion in hopes of starting another community project for the betterment of Raymond.

Also on the agenda, the city approved the purchase of two trucks. The trucks are a 2007 pick-up with approximately 191,000 miles on it for $5,995 and a 2011 pick-up with approximately 72,000 miles on it for $20,000. Before approving the purchase of these vehicles, the council discussed how the city workers were in need of newer vehicles and these two would serve the city well.

With no other business to discuss, the meeting was motioned to adjourn and the next council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 10, in the Raymond City offices.