WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --         Westbrook — Terry Nelson and Ron Nelson of Woodstock Media talked to the council on where they are at on a project to possibly install a fiber optic network for Westbrook.

    Woodstock Media is a business that has 1200 customers, they now serve in several communities in southwest Minnesota — Woodstock, Russell, Ruthton, Holland, and  Garvin.

    They told the council they are a family owned business, although the two Nelsons are not actually related.

    They currently have a fiber optic line in Westbrook which serves the cell phone tower in the community.

    Currently Westbrook is considered an under served community in Minnesota because the only locally available provider has less than 25 meg broadband available. At this time  the state of Minnesota has set aside 30 million dollars in funding which is to be given to under served communities with a 50/50 matching grant.

    The two say they are satisfied with the recent survey results from the community, but they would like to  see more letters of support from businesses and organizations. They say it is important to have positive support from the community to up their chances of getting  a piece of the funding. The grant would be matched by their company.

    So even if you do not need it for your own use they still would like encouraging support for the future of the community.

    If they are able to get the grant it will not only make high speed internet available, but would likely offer residents extended television options.

    The company now has a contract to install fiber optic to a business in Westbrook and are working to sell and installation of another business.

    Although  the time line is very soon for letter submission, their address is: 337 Aetna Street, Ruthton,  MN 56170.

    Jeff Buesing of Western Community Action  updated the council on  the housing grant the city received last year. He said the grant was for  $425,000 with $55,000 deducted for administration expenses, leaving $370,000 for construction on 20 homes with an average of $18,700 per home. So far there have been 16 projects scheduled with eight of them complete. There is funding for four more projects yet available. If you are interested in applying for one of  these projects, contact the city clerk’s office for more information.

    City street supervisor Carl Conrad told the council all of the work has been completed on the sewer project to the lagoon site. He also says work is ongoing installing rip rap at the sewage lagoons. Conrad says he still has to find smoke bombs so they can check out the sewer issue on the north side of the city.

    The council approved a 12.34 percent increase in  the local budget levy. The total levy is $277,360. $270,860 goes to the general fund, and $6,500 for vehicle reserve fund.

    According to city clerk Katie Steen the bulk of the increase was due to going from part time street worker to a full time person. Also the city received a 7.5 percent insurance increase. A data package for the e-charging system for the police added $50.00 a month to the Verizon bill. Also increased  attorney fees for the police.

    Steen noted there were some other areas that actually were decreased because  previously budgeted items were not used. One item that was budgeted for at the pool was not needed so it was not put into the new budget.

    Fire chief Curtis Madson requested  to raise the township fire rates from $125.00 per section to  $150.00 per section. Currently the department covers all or portions of Westbrook, Rosehill, DesMoines River, Ann and Southbrook townships. He says that would put us in the middle of what other departments in the area are charging.

    The  council gave their approval of the request.

    The following building permits were approved: Tim Herding for new sidewalk, front and back steps at his residence on Ash Avenue; Jake Ellis for a deck and patios on his property on  Adams Avenue; Scott Johnson, install an egress window on his home on Ash Avenue.