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Coming soon: New senior, disabled housing option

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Chairperson Barbara Averill gave the River Falls Housing Authority's annual report at Tuesday night's City Council meeting and with it plans to build 24 apartments on South Main Street next to Oakpark Apartments - roughly near the intersection of South Main and Broadway streets. She said the project targets low-income seniors and adults with disabilities.

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The Housing Authority competed for and won funding, bought the property and is in the planning and permit process. Averill didn't know when construction would happen but said the project should start soon.

The first step: Demolishing two houses on the site.

A few details about the Housing Authority's vision for the apartments: Affordable, all Americans with Disabilities Act accessible; underground parking; balconies; and a "nice facade."

"We're looking forward to working with city staff," Averill said.

The Housing Authority's report mentions that it doesn't use local taxes to operate and paid nearly $38,800 in 2005 property taxes.

Other meeting news

  • Planning and Development Director Buddy Lucero presented a working draft of the Boundary Agreement as River Falls and its surrounding towns inch closer to signing the document that determines the divvy of tax revenue, zoning jurisdiction, development responsibilities and infrastructure expense, among other issues.

    Lucero's preparing for the June 21 public meeting about the agreement and sought the Council's direction on certain parts.

    Council Member Joleen Larson called protecting the Highway 35 corridor "huge."

    Mayor Don Richards said the agreement needs to be signed.

    Several asked questions about the agreement.

    Tom Caflisch suggested that council members re-examine progress on the agreement monthly.

  • Town of River Falls Interim Chairperson Diana Smith relayed resident requests to bring grass clippings and brush to the city's compost site, possibly for an extra fee and saying they have nowhere else to take them.

    Council members Wayne Beebe, David Cronk and Joleen Larson weighed in, agreeing that maybe a year from now -- when the site is cleaned up and the city has some idea of its own intake volume -- they could consider it.

  • As part of a resolution about personnel policy, council members debated vigorously the city's approach to meal expenses. Mayor Richards jockeyed for $25 per day like the federal government allows, arguing it saves time.

    Caflisch insisted that city employees should eat like they would at home and get reimbursed only after turning in receipts showing the expenses.

    The Council agreed with Caflisch and passed an amended resolution.

  • City Engineer Kristy Treichel showed council members the unfunded storm water mandates coming ultimately from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aimed at protecting water quality.

    Bad news: New rules will likely result in higher fees.

    Good news: River Falls has great water quality so compliance doesn't necessarily mean major improvements.

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