The Willmar City Council met last night and approved the budget, as well as next year’s tax levy. The levy was set at 5.25 million, a 5 increase totaling $275,755.00. Growth in the Willmar tax base will take care of most of the tax increase. The budget for next year will be $42,018,899.00. That includes capital improvements, the wastewater fund, debt service, general operating and more. The city saw an increase in total health insurance of around $600,000.00. Also increases parks and rec spending for staffing, and a decrease in money
coming in from the school district for the school police resource officer.

The city of Benson is supporting the sale of the fuel haul building at the Fibromin location to a California company that wants to make renewable natural gas. City officials were recently approached by BioPro and by Chippewa Valley ethanol, who had a proposal to buy the building to produce steam for power and possibly grow its operation. Benson officials rejected that idea and is planning to go ahead with the Xcel Energy sale to Brightmark
Energy of San Francisco.

According to a story in the West Central Tribune newspaper this morning, another Kandi Mall business will be closing its doors. Sears Hometown will be going out of business, and a liquidation sale is taking place now and will go through the 12th of January. The Sears Holding Company had announced a bankruptcy in October. Sears Hometown stores are owned independently. The Alexandria Sears will also be closing.


According to Bryce Anderson, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center calls for above normal temps over most of the U.S. this winter. However, a weak EI Nino in the Pacific Ocean is an influence that could increase some colder temps, and in the northern Midwest this winter, it may be a bit snowier, with the great lakes seeing more lake effect snow. And, the northern plains are in line for more snow and colder temps according to NOAA.

In one of the more unique product recalls recently, Lumber Liquidators has recalled five gallon buckets. The buckets could be a “drowning hazard”, as young children may fall into
them. Over 22,500 are on the recall list because they do not have warning labels on
them. The buckets are yellow, and for instructions on how to get the proper labeling, contact Lumber Liquidators.

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