Worthington City Council rejects request to cancel part of PurNet loan



Darlene Vortherms, who founded the company, asked the city to accept a final payment of $ 66,359.96 (about 59% of the remaining loan balance) and to write off the remaining $ 46,797.41.

PurNet had obtained a loan of $ 142,120 from the Town of Worthington on September 15, 2015. The loan was made at an interest rate of 5% for a term of 20 years to help Vortherms finance a new building in the city’s bioscience park.

The terms and conditions of the development contract stipulated that the city would cancel each payment due as long as Vortherms complied with the terms of the contract, loan agreement and promissory note.

The loan balance, as of September 15, was $ 113,157.37.

The loan agreement also states that the city will stop waiving the monthly payment on the sale, disposal or transfer of the property to be developed, and that Vortherms would be obligated to make each monthly payment of principal and interest. .

City administrator Steve Robinson said the partial loan cancellation would be an unusual precedent.

“I don’t see how we can even envision this,” Mayor Mike Kuhle said. “I think it should go back to 2018 when she sold the business. Beyond that day, she could no longer guarantee jobs (she intended to create).

City councilor Alaina Kolpin agreed, saying Vortherms broke the contract with the sale of the business in 2018.

The brief discussion led to a unanimous board decision to deny Vortherms’ loan cancellation request.

City council also approved a $ 2,500 per month contribution to the local taxi service for the remainder of 2021. The funds will come from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act award and will offset losses suffered by the service. taxi due to reduced ridership during COVID. -19 pandemic. The existing five-year contract with the taxi service expires at the end of this year, and it is not yet clear whether the provider will continue to operate.

City Councilor Chris Kielblock said the transport committee is opening a request for proposals for a new contract.

Honorary Advisor Salvador Adame expressed concern about a potential loss of taxi service.

“There are a lot of people who drive without a license,” said Adame. “They can’t get a license and have to drive. Lots of people use the taxi service, and if we don’t have it, it’s going to be worse.

Kuhle agreed that maintaining a taxi service in the community is important.

“Everyone sees the value of taxi service,” said Kuhle. “You have to have someone willing to do it and someone who is willing to fund it.”

In another action, the advice:

  • Approval of an application by Minnesota Energy Resources to install utility natural gas wireless meter reading technology on a city-owned natural disaster siren pole near Elmwood Avenue. The pole is the one the city plans to remove as it replaces the storm sirens in the community. Once the sirens are replaced, the city will have five instead of nine.

Minnesota Energy Resources will have to pay a one-time administration fee of $ 500 and will be responsible for future maintenance of the pole.

Once something is in place, Robinson said the general expectation is that infrastructure will be installed within 12 months. He demanded that the city be exempted from providing infrastructure for the entire site within the one-year period.

“The reason we are asking to prepare the whole development is so that people can see what it will look like in the future,” said Robinson.

  • Awarded the 27th Street extension project, which includes the reconstruction of 1,270 feet of street and the installation of a 32-foot concrete surface, to Wicks Construction Inc., of Decorah, Iowa. Wicks was the lower of the two bidders for the project, offering $ 393,163. The engineer’s estimate for the work was $ 448,270.

  • Approval of a purchase order for a new single axle snow plow truck valued at $ 40,000. The truck will replace a 2004 model in the department.

  • Authorized an upgrade to plans for a closed waterslide for the city’s new outdoor pool under construction at the Worthington Area YMCA. A translucent blade was recommended, resulting in a cost increase of $ 15,000.

  • Accepted a grant of $ 424,704 from the Federal Aviation Administration for airport improvements.



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