News

Wed
22
Apr
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Voters approve school levy

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

With 78 percent of those casting ballots voting yes, either in person or absentee, the District 777 $1.5 million levy for the construction of a new sports facility easily passed Tuesday. The unofficial vote was 671 for and 191 against. In all, 862 votes were cast.

That vote total was substantially below turnout in the past two levy referendums conducted by the school district. The low turnout was most likely due to people staying away from the polls due to the coronavirus threat.

There were 1,959 votes cast for District 777’s $26.3 million building bond levy in August 2018 with it passing with support at nearly 70 percent of those who went to the polls. The final vote was 1,370 to 589, a margin of victory of 781 votes...

 

Wed
15
Apr
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County again votes 3-2 for SCBHS refinancing

 

By Reed Anfinson

Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

With another 3-2 vote, the Swift County Board of Commissioners vote will proceed with the process of issuing $7.73 million in general obligation bonds to purchase the debt from Bremer Bank related to construction of Scandi Haven Village in Benson.

The action was taken at the county board’s April 7 meeting. In moving ahead with bonding, commissioners also expressed frustration with another $378,000 being added to the amount.

Wed
15
Apr
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Post Office still serving community in time of need

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

The United States Post Office continues to serve residents of the area through the COVID-19 shutdown.  The U.S. Post Office lobby in Benson is open like normal, although patrons are asked to keep their social distance and stagger their turns at the lobby desk.

In addition, the U.S. Postal Service is doing its part to keep contact among employees, and between customers and employees to a minimum.

“We’ve been reinforcing workplace behaviors to ensure that contact among our employees and with our customers reflects the best guidance regarding healthy interactions, social distancing, and risk minimization,” said Nicole Hill, Customer Relations Coordinator, St. Paul Postmasters Office.  “We have implemented measures at retail facilities and mail processing facilities to ensure appropriate social distancing.”

Wed
15
Apr
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$1.5 million levy passes with strong support

District 777 residents cast absentee ballots at the Swift County Courthouse Saturday.

Updated 4-16-20

With 78 percent of those casting ballots voting yes, either in person or absentee, the District 777 $1.5 million levy for the construction of a new sports facility easily passed Tuesday. The unofficial vote was 671 for and 191 against. In all, 862 votes were cast.

Voting this spring had a heavy emphasis on casting absentee ballots in light of the deadly and highly contagious coronavirus sweeping the country. The goal was to keep people from having to mingle with others while casting ballots.

Wed
08
Apr
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Levy the cheaper option for rural land owners

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

It was a question that has weighed on District 777’s board of education for years: Should it find a new home for the Benson High School gymnastics program and get it out of the inadequate and unsafe space at the Benson Armory?

If it did vote for a change, how would it pay for renovating an existing space or for new construction?

This past December, the board of education made the decision that the program would get a new $1.5 million home either with voter approval or by board action. The facility, to be constructed to the north of the Benson High School and east of the football field, will also be used for other school activities.

Wed
08
Apr
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April 14 levy vote going forward; consider voting absentee

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Voters in District 777 will be going to the polls next Tuesday to cast ballots on a $1.5 million levy referendum for the construction of a new school recreational facility that will be primarily used by the gymnastics program.

District 777’s levy referendum is one of four elections taking place in Minnesota April 14. Montevideo and Bertha-Hewitt schools are also conducting levy referendums and Houston County is filling a vacancy on its county board.

Voting this spring has had a heavy emphasis on casting absentee ballots in light of the deadly and highly contagious coronavirus sweeping the country. The goal is to keep people from having to mingle with others while casting ballots.

Wed
01
Apr
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District 777 $1.5 million levy vote still on for April 14

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

District 777’s $1.5 million bond levy for “the construction and equipping of a multi-purpose facility to be used for the district’s gymnastics program and other school activities” is still on for Tuesday, April 14. Voting at the Benson Armory will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The proposed building would be built on a vacant lot the school district owns just east of the football field and north of the high school.

A flyer was sent out this past weekend to all District 777 voters giving them options for voting in the referendum. It gives residents detailed information on how they can vote despite the current restrictions on social distancing...

 

Wed
01
Apr
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Hospital refinancing plan gets city, county approval

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Refinancing of Swift County-Benson Health Services debt to potentially save it $300,000 annually in interest payments took a step forward Monday night during a joint meeting of the Benson City Council, Swift County Board of Commissioners and SCBHS governing board.

While those annual savings would go down as debt is paid off, it is also estimated that over the life of the debt close to $5 million would be saved.

In all, SCBHS has $17.142 million in debt on its books. It was proposing to refinance $9.277 million of that debt that currently has interest rates ranging from 5.49 percent to 6.24 percent with city and county help. It would leave $7.915 million in debt with interest rates ranging from 2.0 percent to 4.2 percent in place.

Wed
01
Apr
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County adapts to new meeting requirements

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

“Hello. Is there anyone online?” Swift County Board Chair Gary Hendrickx, District 1-Appleton, asked as their special meeting last Tuesday got underway.

It was a sign of these coronavirus times when the county board was practicing social distancing measures by having people call into the meeting rather than show up in person. Sheriff John Holtz replied he was on the line.

However, all commissioners were present in the large meeting room in the basement of the Swift County Law Enforcement Center. In addition to Hendrickx, there were commissioners Ed Pederson, District 2-north Benson and Benson Township, Pete Peterson, District 3-south Benson and Torning Township, Joe Fox, District 4-Hegbert Township, and Eric Rudningen, District 5-Kerkhoven. Also, at the meeting was Swift County CEO Kelsey Baker...

 

Wed
25
Mar
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County still debating on how to help SCBHS

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Swift County, the City of Benson and the governing board of Swift County-Benson Health Services will conduct a joint meeting Monday on refinancing for the healthcare facility’s debt.

It has been estimated that with county and city stepping into help with refinancing bond and loan debt at lower interest rate, that SCBHS could save nearly $300,000 annually and $5 million over the life of its debt payments.

Where and how that meeting will take place has been changing as the three public bodies try comply with social distancing mandates from the state government as well as comply with the Minnesota Open Meeting law...

 

For more on this story, and to keep up on all the latest in area sports, subscribe to the Swift County Monitor-News print edition or our PDF internet edition. Call 320-843-4111 and you can get all the local news and sports delivered to you!

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