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Red Wing HRA discusses danger of shutdown return

January 30, 2019

RED WING — The possibility of a federal government shutdown still looms over the Red Wing Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

That was one of several messages from HRA Executive Director Randal Hemmerlin delivered to the city council Monday night.

Hemmerlin said he’d written his report to the city council before the government shutdown ended last Friday. The HRA had been funded for Section 8 housing through the end of February at the end of 2018. The HRA helps fund rent with 70 landlords in Red Wing to help pay housing costs for qualified renters in need of rental assistance. About $66,000 a month is spent by the HRA on housing assistance.

The funding of the government last week alleviated the problem for now. But if the government is shut down again, the clock on HRA funds starts ticking again. The current funding runs through Feb. 15, and the threat of shutting down again looms large, Hemmerlin said.

“These people shouldn’t have to worry about this, in my opinion,” Hemmerlin said.

In other HRA business, Hemmerlin said the agency is looking for development proposals for small-site properties located downtown, Old West Main and Pottery Place areas of Red Wing. The HRA allocated $150,000 at zero percent interest in Affordable Housing Trust Money to redevelop blighted, underutilized or vacant properties for residential or small-business use.

Hemmerlin told the council that any development deals would need to bring matching funds, so the program can leverage a total of $300,000 of investment.

Proposals must be received at the HRA by 3 p.m. April 30. Developers interested in seeing a request for proposals can contact the HRA.

In other business, the city council set a Feb. 25 public hearing date to make changes to the city charter concerning special elections. The changes would impact a timeline for special elections when a city council member resigns in the final year of his or her term.

The proposed change would mean special elections could only be called if a council member resigned before April 1 for a special election to be held.

Last spring, three members of the Red Wing City Council resigned after April 1. Special elections were held for two of those seats. Under the proposed change to the city charter, neither of those special elections held on the date of the Minnesota Primary would have been held.

Council Administrator Kay Kuhlman said the reason for the change is to comply with state statutes and to give enough time for all the public notifications required for an election.

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