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April 21, 2016     Tri-County News
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................................ www.tricountynews.mn PAGE lo9 April 21, , .jp ByIeanDoranMatua, Editor to subscribe to an existing solar Before the start of the regular garden, in the same or adjoin- meeting April 6, a Board of Review ing county as the city; no city is was held for Stearns County and being asked to provide land for a then for Meeker County prop- solar garden. There is no up-front erty owners. There were three cost to the city, even the legalwork requests for adjustments in Stea- can be handled by the League of rns County; two were denied and Minnesota Cities which is work- one (for council member Mark ingonastandardized contract.All Kern) was deferred to the county construction, maintenance, and board. No Meeker County prop- scheduled replacement of solar erty owners came to the meet- cells is handled byGeronimo. The ing with requests; the auditor only down side, if there has to be reported that there were about 10 one, is that subscription requires sales in the past year and that val- a 25-year commitment (which is ueswent up about 10 percent, completely transferable). Ana- len Piekarski from berganKDV, tyzing the city's current electric- the city's auditor, presented ity usage, eden Valley could save their annual report on the city's more than $3,000 the first year, finances. The city again got a clean and a total of $79,000 over the bill of health, with the usual "lack 25-year contract. of segregation" comment. (Most The program is currently avail- small cities and other institutions able through federal and state don't have enough personnel to subsidies to Xcel Energy, encour- completely segregate financial aging movement away from coal tasks. For instance, the same per- and toward renewables. The son may accept utility payments deal, which likely will go away and record them. Ideally, there after 2016, each subscriber saves would be more staff involved in about 10 percent of their electric specific tasks, with more checks bill; Geronimo earns an equiva- and balances. This simply won't lent amount, as does its financial be achieved in Eden Valley or any backer Berkshire Hathaway. other small town.) It could be advantageous to go Of note, the city's water fund with Geronimo as they already revenues were up about $16,000 have the necessary approvals or 6.4 percent; she attributes from Xcel Energy and the Public this to more accurate catching Utilities Commission, and the city of water through meters. Main- could be plugged into the solar tenance costs were down about garden (perhaps in Cold Spring, $10,000, and the fund balance was Paynesville, or at St. John's Oni- increased nearly $17,000 for 2015. versity) before the end of this year. There was a large change in the A rental ordinance was unan- Brookview Apartments account imously approved for city rental as well: revenues were down properties, after several years of $5,300 (because of vacancies), work. Accordingly, the city's fees and repairs were up $11,000 for and schedules were updated to 2015. The net cash flow, however, include related review and admin- is increasing over the years: more istrative fees. (The penalty for vio- than $25,000 since 2013. lation of the new rental ordinance Kurt Seestrom from Geronimo is $100.) Energy came at the invitation of An apology letter was part of mayor Brent Bengtson to answer Susan Anderson's sentencing last questions about solar gardens year. The letter was received in and the possibility of Eden Val- February, and mayor Bengtson ley participating. Geronimo has read the letter aloud at the meet- contacted several cities along the ing. Anderson's infractions were Highway 55 and Highway 94 cot- in 2012 when she was deputy city ridors, presenting the same infor- clerk and city funds were misap- mation. The proposal for each is propriated. A public computer internet use policy and agreement was pre- sented. It is necessary because the city owns the access point. There was discussion about use of the internet by patrons (and others) under the age of 18 and whether this can be controlled. There is a public use policy screen that must be accepted by users before they can access the city's wi-fi located at the Eden Valley Area Library. The council unanimously approved the transfer of $10,000 from the General Fund to the Fire Department fire truck capital escrow fund. Police chief Ernie Junker reported that March has been busy. He will send out spring cleaning letters soon, to home- owners whose yards need to be cleaned up after the winter. Eden Valley will host a Sky Warn class, if anyone is interested in learning how to identify dangerous cloud formations and storms. Public Works director Jim Rademacher noted that new signs are up at the city's brush site with new (reduced) hours and limita- tions. There will be separate piles for lawn clippings and brush, and the site is for use of city residents only. Misuse of the brush site will resuk in its being closed. The city will begin crack-filling city streets as soon as Mother Nature allows. Rademacher added that he has been notified by MnDOT that in 2018 they will mill and overlay Highway 22 south of Highway 55 to Litchfield. The city will need to have any water work done under the highway first, and this may be an opportunity to cost-share with such a project. The sewers have been cleaned, and a televisor was to come later in the week. The council plans to meet in a special meeting with the engineer Kent Louwagie and contractor Kuechle Underground to finally finish the Highway 22 project. That should be some time before the next regular meeting sched- uled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May4. See Kimball city council meeting write-up on page 25. ByJeanDoranMatua, Editor on Sunday, but not intoxicating At its April 5 meeting, the South liquor (until a vote by the public Haven city council approved giv- allows Sunday liquor). ing $300 to the Initiative Founda- Mom's Place was approved tion. for a combination of on- and off- The council approved South sale intoxicating liquor. Bedrock Haven Fire Relief pull tabs at Bed- Bar & Grill was given the same rock Bar & Grill on Oak Avenue. approval, with the addition of off- Kurt Seestrom of Geronimo sale approval. Energy made his presentation to The council approved (with the council and answered ques- four in favor, and Kothe opposed) tions. The council will review the moving to mailed ballots for city contract recommended by the elections. This move will save League of Minnesota Cities before about $11,000 for a new tabula- making its decision, tor and an assistive voting device Fire chief Oscar Laneyreported that would be needed otherwise; that there were five rescue calls the city would no longer need to and four fire calls in March 2016. recruit, train and pay election The council approved up to $5,000 judges. Ballots would be mailed for a poly tank for stormwater from and returned to the county. drainage by the fire hall, and land- Now that this is approved, vot- fill to help solve the drainage prob- ers will receive more information lem there, prior to the next election. Ballots Stainless steel tables have been will be mailed to all registered vot- ordered for the community hall. ers; those not registered may do Cost of street work (street sweep- so online, or at the city or county ing, crack-filling, and paintingyel- offices. low stripes on Oak Ave.) were dis- James Theisen proposed a new cussed; more checking will be "South Haven Festival," scheduled done on the painting; up to $600 for July 30 this year, replace what was approved for street sweeping, used to be "South Haven Days." and up to $5,000 on crack-filling There is renewed interest in the streets most in need of it. festival, and new people involved Now that the city no longer in planning it. Although it is not owns and operates a liquor store, a city-sponsored event, the coun- its liquor ordinance is out of date. cil gave their approval for a July 30 A new ordinance was drafted by community South Haven Festival. the city's attorney Matt Brown and Bids for demolition of the unanimously approved. Among Municipal Liquor Store on Oak the changes in the new ordinance, Ave. will be opened May 3 during setups are no longer allowed (pre- the next regular council meeting viously allowed on Sundays); and that starts at 7 p.m. restaurants may sell beer and wine By Jean Doran Matua, Editor within a half hour. ble, but he'll make it as close as he tribution to $1,300 per man year. The Watkins Chamber of Com- After discussing several dis- Deputy Ernie Defries made can. He hopes to open around May Verizon was given a permit tomerce agreed earlier that day to tressed properties in town at his report: things are pretty15. (He also owns a 24-foot food construct a utility building with repeat the "free swim" days, three its April 14 meeting, the coun- quiet. Meeker County Sheriff trailer f or catering.)So far theplan completion required by July 22. days during the summer where cil agreed to schedule a date to Brian Cruze attended the meet- is pizzas and sandwiches to start, This willnotbecompletedintime, free passes willbe made available inspect all properties in town. ing to present his annual report with upscaleentrees at night. Heis it has not yet begun, and there is a at various businesses in town. (That date has not yet been set, for the county. The county has applying for a license to serve beer, $500 fee to re-apply. The council discussed a Girl but it will be soon.) Any property mounted increased drug and wine and setups in the restaurant; The city has hired a new PoolScout communityproject, aneigh- owners found to be in violation of traffic enforcement in 2015. He this was approved by the council, Manager, Ashlee Lundberg. Sheborhoodlendinglibrary/exchange city ordinances will be sent warn- explained that aiming at drugpending all the paperwork being worked at the pool last year, so is box that could be installed in ing letters with a time deadline to crimes, other crimes will follow, approved, background check, etc. familiar with many of the proce- McCarthyPark. The council unan- rectify the violations. The coun- and that increased traffic stops The plan is to be open until 9 p.m. dures. Shewill obtain the required imously approved this. cil asked the county sheriff, who yield arrests for drugs, theft, and weekdays, until 10 p.m. Fridays certification, and is working to The city and chamber will was at the meeting on another more. (Anyone dealing drugs, or and Saturdays, and to be closed hire lifeguards and water safety coordinate efforts to find grants matter, if there was any limit to stealing, he explained, is going to Sundays for now. instructors for this year's pool and other ways to beautify Wat- the number of citations a prop- get into a vehicle to drive.) Sadly, The Watkins council again dis- season. Needed repairs will be kins: flower pots on main street, erty can receive: according to the Meeker County is still among the cussed subscribing to a solar gar- made to the pool itself and to new garbage cans, for starters. The city's ordinance, each day in vio- most deadly counties in Minne- den through Geronimo Energy the building. The pool manag-newer street lights from Xcel aren't lation constitutes a new violation sota for DUI deaths at #25. and agreed to table approval until er's job description has changed nearly as bright as they'd like them and thus a new citation, with no Colin Kuechle introduced him-the League of Minnesota Cities to be focused on just managing to be either. limit to the total number of tick- self to the council. His grandpar- develops a standardized city con- the pool. Snacks will be delivered, Virl Liebrenz in Public Works ets given; if tickets go unpaid, the ents are Watkins natives, and he's tract. At least one large business and no fundraising activities are has received his sewer license, and individual would be summoned to cooked for many years including in Watkins likely will subscribe as part of the job. As two other city is due a 50-cent raise. He will get court, in New York and New Orleans. He well. employees will have Certified Pool his CPO license in Mayor June and The council unanimously plans to open a restaurant in the There was discussion about the Operator licenses, this will no lon- could be up for another 50-cent approved replacements for the space that has held a few restau- strip of land recently purchased gerbearequirementofthejob, but raise either then or at the end ot Suburban rescue rig operated by rants in the past, next to the Wat- by the EDA along Highway 55 having certification as a lifeguard the year. Watkins Ambulance: $1,300 to kins Liquor Warehouse on High- (in front of Glenshire Estates). A and/or water safety instructor is The council approved Public replace the "bubble lights" with an way 55 west of town. It will be strip mall is one possibility, Dairy required. Works director Steve Geislinger LED light bar, and about $150 to called "Keeks," a play on the name Queen, Dollar General, a doctor's The council agreed unani- to get bids on a 2" overlay on vat- replace the alternator. As it is now, Kuechle. The plan is to cook "from office are all options being consid- mously to keep the season pass ious roads and the city parking lot without the replacements, they scratch, the best we can," he told ered. rates the same as last year: $100 across from Wally's Care. The city can't run the siren and lights and the council. It won't be purely The council approved increas-individual, $150 for two people, will do their own crack-filling. expect the battery to not go dead organic, or completely farm-to-ta- ing the Fire Relief Association con- $200 for 3-5 people. D ID,