Berdette Schoep of the Clarkfield Area Community Foundation came to the Clarkfield council to ask for a donation to help the foundation reach its fundraising goals. Schoep's case reasoned that "Progressive communities have Community Foundations." The Clarkfield Foundation has raised over $225,000 since its inception. They have an endowment that is invested with Bremer Banks. Five percent of their investments come back to the Clarkfield community. Last year they donated about $8000 in grants. Some of the recipients Prairie Cardinals, library, Charter school, garden club, care center, and other groups. Clarkfield F&M bank will match up to $15,000 raised this year. The council discussed the requested $5000 donation.
Council member Jerry Kaupang maintained his stance of being against donating taxpayer money, stating that people are free to donate the money themselves. According to Schoep, "Clarkfield has already established itself as a progressive community. We have a community of about 900 people...and the Southwest Initiative Foundation has ranked Clarkfield as the #3 in per capita contribution in the Southwest Minnesota Initiative Foundation." The council will discuss the donation. They have until the end of the year to make a decision, and want to avoid putting themselves in a financial bind.
In other news:
The council finished some paperwork to allow them to have the option to set up a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district where the Hagg school is located. Basically a TIF allows the issuance of a bond to help cover the cost of whatever expenses for the work that needs to get done, and then as taxes are collected on that property, those taxes go toward paying the bond until it expires. The task force currently is discussing saving the west gym, wrestling, and pre-school rooms, and demolishing the rest of the building. There is not currently a business looking to take over and develop the "green space" that will be left, but there are grants that could help for both demolition and redevelopment. The council decided to set the bond amount at $50,000, with $5000 for administrative costs. This does not lock them into issuing a bond, it just allows them the option of using the TIF district if needed. A TIF district can't be set up after the city incurs costs related to the project, so the task force and council are just setting themselves up to have the TIF district as an option.
The Clarkfield pool needs concrete repairs. The council decided to have the Public Works department try to find an outside concrete business to handle the repairs so the Public works department can focus on other priorities.
The Clarkfield city attorney is examining the Solar Community Garden contract. This contract will allow Clarkfield to buy in to a solar garden to reduce the cost of powering city buildings. Xcel Energy buys the solar energy at a premium rate to meet their renewable energy quota, and gives a credit back to the city.