Rick Almich was hired to do a job for the city, and that job is coming to an end. Last year, the retired Springfield City Manager was hired by the City of Montevideo to be the Interim City Manager after former City Manager Steve Jones announced his retirement.

Rick Almich was hired to do a job for the city, and that job is coming to an end. Last year, the retired Springfield City Manager was hired by the City of Montevideo to be the Interim City Manager after former City Manager Steve Jones announced his retirement.

At the March 2 city council meeting, Almich made what amounted to his last public appearance before the city council to discuss progress being made on negotiations with a developer to build a multi-family, market rate housing development in Montevideo. Almich said: “The project has been worked on since June of last year. A lot of information has been conveyed to not only the EDA commissioners, but also to council members, planning commissions, and so forth.”

He expressed confidence that the project could soon reach fruition. “As I look at this,” he said, “I think we are well into the 11th hour of this project becoming a reality. We just have some additional legal items to go through to ultimately consummate the deal with the hope that construction can begin this spring or early summer.”

Specific details of the project will not be given until the city reaches an agreement with the developer. Until that time, the city will continue to work with all partners to seal the deal. One partner which was approached early on was the Montevideo School District. “It should be noted,” said Almich, “that one of our partner’s could have been the school district. The superintendent was very supportive of the project and said they were willing to do their part.

“Eventually, the EDA and I came to the conclusion that, given the task of their having a major referendum on their hands, we didn’t want to place any more burdens on them while they were busy with the referendum.”

Almich said that the school district will directly benefit from the housing project. “The school district will see an additional property tax revenue of $21,000 per year once the property is placed on the tax rolls.”

He also noted that, in addition to the school district, the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners are also supportive of the project.

According to Almich, the company they are working with has already sent one proposal to the city. “The last time I corresponded with the developers, I sent them an official counter proposal to their initial proposal. There has been no adverse comment about our counter proposal. They are aware that we are organizing public hearings, and I am hoping my letter laid things ut clearly,” he said.

Almich told the council that, as stated in the counter proposal, the developers would be responsible for all associated development costs. “Jan (Flaherty) and I are finishing up the purchase agreement that will be shared with the EDA commissioners in the next week or two. That also makes it clear what we are willing to do and not willing to do financially for the project,” said Almich.

Almich expressed his satisfaction at how this project has progressed over the past several months. He said: “I’m comfortable with where we are at this point in time. That doesn’t mean the other shoe couldn’t drop and we’d need to reschedule the public hearing based on further negotiations.”

The council offered a resolution of support for the project, and it was unanimously adopted. Before he left the podium, Almich made some closing remarks. “This may be the last time I appear before this group. I don’t think I’ve always indicated how much I appreciated working here in Montevideo: it’s been a great time! I’ve been here off and on for about a year, and I have not had one bad day working with this organization. For a city manager to be able to say that is pretty unique in my profession.

Almich had equally kind words to say about the Montevideo community. “The community has been great to work with,” he said. “it is a great community. I hope the citizens realize how good of a local government this is. It’s the best I’ve worked for, and this has been the highlight of my career!”

That is high praise coming from a man who has dedicated his entire career to helping manage cities. Almich closed his remarks by saying: “You’ve got a great council. Robert (Wolfington) has done well and will continue to do so, and Alek (Schulz) was a great choice for Community Development Director.

“I love this community and the many people I’ve been involved with and have come to know. Maybe I’ll be back someday; you never know!”