This is budget season for the City of Sleepy Eye.

This is budget season for the City of Sleepy Eye. As you would expect, a lot of time and effort is expended on this important process. There is always a desire to spend enough to get the needed work or project satisfactorily completed, but never to spend more than is absolutely necessary.

Our City taxes are lower than all our neighboring communities. It’s a position we’d all like to continue to be in. With that level of budgeting in mind, preliminarily it’s looking like $100,000 could be added into street improvement and another $40,000 or so into improving the appearance of the store fronts on Main Street—in the form of low interest loans. Of course this is subject to City Council approval and that is on the agenda at the Sept. 11 Council meeting.

Speaking of spending money, the 12th Avenue crossing project has been getting some recent attention. This project has been studied over the last number of years and comes to the forefront today because the City has a reasonable chance of getting a grant to help with the project. That grant would come to the City in the amount of nearly 1 million dollars. That grant would provide significant help as this project is projected to cost in the neighborhood of $3.5 million. Twelfth Avenue is the street that runs past the new Event Center. The crossing would occur just north of there over the railroad tracks and continue north to St. Mary’s Street, connecting there at the east end of Home Cemetery.

Presently, all the folks living on the north end of the city must travel back to First Avenue in order to get downtown or to the south end of town. This crossing would give all those folks more reasonable access. The project would include all the necessary infrastructure—water, storm and sanitary sewer. City policy requires that streets and the required infrastructure are normally assessed back to the property owners served by the street. But since there is no development there yet, those assessments would be deferred and paid for when the property develops. The City would pay for the development out of reserve funds and get a return on their money as the property develops in the future.

The police station project is slated to begin any day now.

The City has been sending out a survey to the second one-third of our property owners over the past few days. Last year the City surveyed one-third of the property owners and this year will be surveying a second third. The surveys are anonymous and seek to gather information on how the residents feel about City services and City infrastructure. The surveys help the Council hone in on the community’s priorities.

City officials recently sat in on a presentation from Herzog Property Management. They are considering building a 36-unit housing complex with one, two and three bedroom rental apartments here in Sleepy Eye. They would be open to community investors becoming a part of the project if they go ahead.

A group led by Jim Klein was present at the last City Council meeting to propose adding two additional softball fields to the Prairieview Park softball complex. The additional fields would allow for scheduling tournaments that would bring a lot of people to the community. Apparently there are a lot of times when the City’s present fields do not handle the need that exists. The Park Board is working with this group and will study this proposal and look into costs and possible layout.

A firm has been hired to assist the City in the search for a new City Manager.

There are lots of exciting things happening in Sleepy Eye. Progress is alive and well.