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Council to decide how to proceed on mayoral choice

NEW ULM — The New Ulm City Council will determine how to proceed with interviewing mayoral candidates Tuesday.

On April 20, the council decided to interview mayoral candidates before the May 18 meeting and appoint a person to the position during the regular meeting. However, because of a higher than expected number of candidates, the council will need to determine a different process.

Nine candidates originally applied for the mayor position. One had to withdraw due to a family member working for the city.

The remaining eight candidates are Michelle Markgraf, Justin Mattson, Sam Poquette, Jeremy Reed, Charalee Reinhart-Kalk, Micah Roux, Richard Seeboth, and Terry Sveine.

The council has the option of interviewing all eight candidates or approve interviewing only a select number of candidates.

However the council decides, the interview process is scheduled to take place before Tuesday, June 1, with the appointment of a new mayor during the June 1 city council meeting.

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The council will receive a recommendation from the New Ulm Airport Commission to make no changes to any flight patterns at the New Ulm Municipal Airport.

The airport commission considered alternative options to address the noise concerns brought forth by neighboring residents of the area near the New Ulm Municipal Airport May 11.

The commission considered the safety of aircraft users if the traffic pattern for Runway 15 was changed from the normal “left-hand” pattern to a “right-hand” pattern. Concerns from the commission were that a right-hand pattern would create a blind approach for most aircraft users due to the way cockpits are set up and lack of sightlines out of the aircraft for a right-hand pattern.

It was also discussed that this process could take significant time for FAA review and approval. The commission also reviewed concerns that were brought forth by local and area users of the airport. The commission considered using this time to educate the public on the FAA rules and regulations for aircraft approaches and why pilots take the routes that they do. The commission also suggested reminding aircraft to be mindful of the minimum approach altitudes.

The city council and city staff have received complaints about the noise from the airport due to increased usage. The city discussed the complaints with North Star Aviation staff and discussed operational alternatives to lessen aircraft noise for the neighboring properties during the April 20 work session. The top suggestion was to change New Ulm airport from a left-hand approach to a right-hand approach.

Staff later received numerous calls and emails from local pilots sharing their safety concerns with the proposed right-hand traffic alternative.

City staff took decibel readings near the airport on May 6, 2021. The readings were taken along North Highland Avenue near 11th North Street. No readings came back greater than 69 decibels. This complies with city code requirements.

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The new recreation center fee schedule will come before the city council for adoption. The improved recreation center is scheduled to reopen about August 2 upon completion of Reinvest in New Ulm Ulm (RENU) construction.

The expanded facility will have many new amenities and improvements. Staff is recommending new daily admission and membership fees be established and fieldhouse gym rentals revised along with different age categories.

The new age categories are Infants (under 1 year), Youth (1-11 years) General (12-54 years) and Seniors (55 and over). The recommendation is to set daily admission fees. Admission for infants is free; $7 for Youths and Seniors and $9 for General.

Ultimate daily admission is $11 for adults include fitness classes. The indoor playground admission for Youth and track use only is $3.

Other fees for Rec Center Punch Cards, 3-month Rec Center membership and Annual Rec Center memberships are also available.

This fee schedule was previously approved by the Park and Recreation Commission.

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The council will hold a public hearing on the proposed 2021 surface reconstruction project. The project provides removal and replacement of the existing surface in areas where no underground utility work is planned and minimal subgrade correction will be required. The project was included in the preliminary 2021 capital improvement program engineering report adopted at the December 1, 2020, council meeting. The engineering report recommended that the benefit of the surface reconstruction be specially assessed at the rate of $1,620.00 per residential parcel to the benefiting property.

The public hearing on the 2021 Surface Reconstruction Project is on the following 3rd North Street from Garden Street to Washington Street; 8th North Street from Franklin Street to Washington Street; 18th North Street from Broadway to State Street; 20th North Street from US Highway 14 to North Broadway and Franklin Street from 17th North Street to US Highway 14

A total of 12 blocks will be reconstructed. The estimate for the 12 blocks is $489,720. It is funded by the Street Department Budget. The estimated to be assessment is $115,668.

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