By Alex Sina Staff Writer On Tuesday, the Clarkfield City Council got an update about the daycare center. It was supposed to open April 9th, but recent snow delayed inspections. The daycare secured additional funding, but it was held up by the property deed. The bank requested the city back the loan, but the daycare board didn’t want the city to incur costs.
The city attorney worked with the Dawson Credit Cooperative union attorney for a solution. The council discussed the proposal: The city conveys the property to the daycare board with an agreement that if the board ceases to operate the business, or fails to pay taxes or maintain the structure, etc, the city can buy it back for $1. The board, as owner, can then pledge the property to the bank as collateral for the note. The city, who holds the buyout right, then agrees the bank would be ahead of their buy-back option. The bank has the mortgage against the property signed by the daycare board, not the city.
There was extensive debate about whether or not to agree to this. Initially, Council members Jerry Kaupang and Sue Fritz voted for it and Dale Stringer III and Dale Stringer Jr. voted against it. Council member Emily Bruflat was not present, so the vote was a tie.
The reasoning for voting against it was they didn’t like the idea of the city being out almost $450k ($189k to pay the contractors from CTS, ~$243k from F&M) if the daycare failed. The argument was the funding should have been secured before construction even began.
Daycare board members agreed, but explained that the daycare need is there. It’s a county-wide crisis. They talked about how the daycare would be valuable to the community, as well as bringing in families and money. The need for daycare isn’t going away.
Mayor String III and Council member String Jr. changed their votes to make it a unanimous yes for the proposal.
In other news:
The Council approved several ordinances for Clarkfield Cardinal Days, including a noise ordinance for the band, an alcohol license for a beer garden, and having free swim for all three days of the event, July 20-22.
Clarkfield is also purchasing a mosquito sprayer, and the Park and Rec Board will likely have a new volleyball net as part of their budget.
Clarkfield Clean up Day will be May 5th. The council voted that for garbage disposal, the first cubic yard will be free, and after that the cost will be $10 per cubic yard. The Board of Equalization and Appeals is scheduled for April 16th, the city council meeting was moved to the same day.
The council approved a donation of books and crafts to the library, and a gear dryer for the fire department.