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City approves homeless shelter's permit

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River Falls City Council members voted yes at its Nov. 24 meeting to granting a special-use permit to Our Neighbors' Place. The approval enables the new non-profit organization to open an emergency homeless shelter at 235 W. Johnson St.

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Some members raised the concerns they've been hearing from constituents: Safety and security screening of clients, property values, on-site supervision and maintaining open space. Before voting yes, the Council discussed and tweaked the wording to be sure the facility was designated as a homeless shelter and to be sure the applicant would run background checks on people who stay there.

The council took action on several other items:

  • Voted to place on the 2009 tax roll $32,488 worth of delinquent bills stemming from charges for electric, water, sewer, mowing and snow-removal services.
  • Approved the assessment amount of $4,000 for the annual inspection of Weights and Measures at applicable businesses in the city.
  • OK'd the renewable energy finance loan program, funded through the utility's POWERful Choices initiative; it provides monetary assistance to utility customers who want to offset the costs making energy-efficiency improvements.
  • Heard a first reading on a law that will restrict development on any land in the city with a 20% or greater amount of slope.
  • Decided to table an item that asked it to approve increasing the city's room tax from 5% to 8%.

Read more details about the Nov. 24 City Council meeting in the Dec. 3 print edition of the River Falls Journal.

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