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December 19, 2013     Tri-County News
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December 19, 2013
 

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22 PAGE December 19, 201 For the Record Thursday, .......................................................... Taxlevies and budgets dominate December meetings Jean Dorao Matua shortfalls. The final levy can be changed meeting expenses. EV-W District, $1,974,067 (down 9.85%) Editor December is the designated month for city councils and school boards to approve their final levies for the coming year. While no one can adequately predict the future, these local government bod- ies must anticipate next year's needs and City of Eden Valley Now that construction is com- pleted for the season in down- town Eden Valley, there was con- cern about safely keeping side- walks clear of snow and ice. The problem is that the sidewalks are new cement, and some snow removal methods could harm them. The solution: the city has con- tracted with Landscaping Plus to clear all downtown sidewalks for the duration of the winter. Three individuals have filed for the January 28 special election to fill a remaining council seat. They are Robert Bischof, Mark Kern, and Brent Bengtson. The council adopted its 2014 budget and levy, with no increases over the 2013 levy. The 2014 levy is $400,000; it has not increased in five years. "We're working within the dol- lars we allocate," said mayor Pete Korman. Because the State of Minne- sota has made cities tax-exempt for many purchases starting in 2014, the city could save about $13,000 (the amount of sales tax Eden ValleyTo page 26 next year; it can go down, but it cannot be increased. This would work fine if state legislators didn't add mandates or with- hold funds as they so often do. All of these government entities work long and hard calculating budgets, plan- ning for all contingencies, and trying to keep taxes as low as possible while still That said, local tax levies for cities and school districts are being set. Here's a quick comparison of 2014 levies: Eden Valley, $400,000 (same) Kimball, $425,703 (up 5%) South Haven, $111,483 (up 2%)) Watkins, $533,270 (up 2%) Kimball District, $1,658,649 (down 3.27%) The Kimball School Board will set their final levy and hold the Truth In Taxation meeting this week, at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18. This is the last of the local Truth In Taxation meetings. City of Kimball At its Dec. 3 meeting, the Kim- ball City Council adopted its final 2014 property tax levy and budget. The approved levy is $425,703, including several bonds, up 5 per- cent from last year. The new police truck is in. Equipment will be swapped out before it is put into use, after Jan. 1. The council approved renewing the contract with Fair Haven for policing there. City engineer Randy Sab- art discussed the need to make accessibility changes to City Hall. Because the city received a loan through U.S.D.A. Rural Develop- ment, the government agency can require that City Hall meet acces- sibility requirements. The most important issues are front-door access, and bathrooms. The fire exit on the south side of the build- ing also is not accessible. SEH, the city's engineering firm, has drawn up plans and the city must budget for improvements to start in the spring. Old city street signs will be for sale, as available, for $10 each at city hall. The next meeting of the Kim- ball city council is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7. City of South Haven The preliminary 2014 levy was set for the City of South Haven at $111,483, a 2-percent increase instead of the 3-percent increase previously set. The 2014 general budget is $178,724. The final 2014 levy can be decreased but not increased. Anual cost-of-living wage increases for both hourly and sal- aried employees were deferred until after the annual financial statement for 2013 is presented in February. Kurt Hubbs, owner of 410 Oak Ave. building, attended the Dec. 3 council meeting. He lives ia the upper west wing of the build- ing and would like to rent out the upper east wing as an apartment. Building inspector Scott Qualle recommends that a certificate of occupancy for the rental unit be required. Last year, the building was not approved for an R2 zon- ing (two-family occupancy), but Qualle has no objection to the request if the unit passes inspec- tion. Parking could be an issue. The council approved Hobbs' request, and will allow a second South HavenTo page 26 City of Watkins At its Dec. 12 meeting, the Wat- kins City Council adopted its final 2014 property tax levy and bud- get. The approved levy is $533,270 which includes two outstanding bonds from 2007 and 2013. The council agreed to allow St. Anthony Church to use the Vil- lage Hall during winter 2014, and before then if needed. The church is in the process of replacing its boiler, and the school's boiler is on its last legs. In the event the boiler at the school goes, they will need a place for religion classes and as a social hall for funerals, fish fry events, etc. The council agreed to a $25/floor fee to the church for religious ed. classes, $50 per other event, and a refund- able $200 cleaning deposit (only actual cleaning charges will be deducted from it). They will get one event per year free, like all other non-profits. Snow plowing with the new equipment is going well. The only problem was on Meeker Avenue. With cars parked on both sides of the street, the 12-foot plow has barely 6 inches clear on either side pf the plow. Watkins/To page 26 EV-W School Board (ISD 463) Superintendent Mark Mess- man and business manager Cathy Wuertz presented Truth In Taxation information on lev- ies and the local tax situation. The total levy for 2013, payable in 2014, and funding school year 2014-15, is $1,974,067, a 9.85-per- cent decrease from last year. This will be certified at the Dec. 18 meeting. The situation with the 10-pas- senger van has been cleared up. The dealer (Lundeen Bros. Ford) affixed the new sticker on the door designating it a MPV (multi- passenger vehicle) instead of a BUS. It can now be inspected, and can then be used to transport students. Board member reported that the IMPACT program received an Otto Bremer grant for $18,000. Negotiations with teachers are still stuck and will move forward in mediation. Their next meeting was Dec: 10. The board approved purchase of one law enforcement Motorola radio for each office/building in the district. The radios will allow EV-W Board/To page 26 Local crime blotters Car hits train in Cokato At 3:16 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, the Wright County Sheriff's Office was notified of a car vs. train accident at Quimby Avenue Southwest and the Burlington Northern tracks just south of US Highway 12 in Cokato Township." The initial investigation indicates that a 2006 Ford Focus, being driven by ]anna Jo Marie Larson-Stigen, 23 of Cokato, was northbound or Quimby Av SW when it failed to stop for the railroad cross- ing and collided with an eastbound train. The roadway was slippery at the time of the crash. Larson-Stigen was transported to Hutchinson 'Hospital by Cokato Ambulance for injuries received in the incident. The accident remains under investigation by the Wright County Sheriffs Office. Crash with injuries Dec. 15 Sunday, Dec. 15, in the early after- noon, a motorist called in a vehicle in the ditch on County Road 12, Spring Hill Township in Stearns County. The motorist then checked the car and found it was on its roof. The occu- pants were trapped inside and yell- ing for help. Stearns County Sheriff's Office, Melrose Fire Dept., St. Martin Fire Dept., and Melrose Ambulance responded to the crash. The three occupants, Desiree Ruprecht, age 19 of Cold Spring, Lindsay Spanier, age 20 of Sartell, and Trevor Spanier, age 21 of Paynesville, were extracted and taken to the Melrose Hospital by ambulance. One person was later air- lifted to the St. Cloud Hospital. The Stearns County Sheriff's Office is investigating the crash. Kimball police blotter The City of Kimball patrols both Kimball and Fair Haven. This con- tract was recently renewed. There were 76 calls in Kimball. These included: 60 parking viola- tion warnings (and 1 citation), 25 extra patrols, 23 equipment warn- ings, 14 business checks, 10 speed citations (and 7 warnings), 5 agency assists, 5 citizen contacts, 4 driver license violation warnings, 4 license plate/tab warnings (and 2 citations), 3 driving complaints, 3 DWI citations, 3 insurance violation warnings (and 2 citations), 3 medical calls, 3 sus- picious vehicle/person, 2 accidents, 2 civil complaints, 2 DAR/DAS/DAC arrests, 2 motorist assists, 2 seatbelt citations, 2 suicidal individuals, 2 welfare checks. There also were one each of the following: alarm, animal complaint, careless/reckless driv- ing citation, disorderly conduct cita- tion, domestic complaint, fight, fire/ burning complaint, harassment complaint, intoxicated person, juve- nile problem, matter of information, minor consumption citation, neigh- bor dispute, violation of order for protection citation, passing on right warning, stop sign/light citation (and 1 warning), theft, and threats complaint. Watkins police blotter (The City of Watkins is policed by Meeker County Sheriff's Office.) There were a total of 37 calls in November 2013, down from about 60 in October. There were 8 traffic stops (5 warnings and 3 citations), 5 animal complaints (including 1 dog-bite), 3 suspicious person/vehicle calls, 2 agency assists, 2 welfare checks, 2 fire calls, 2 hit-and-run cases, 2 med- ical calls, 2 cases of trespass; and there were 1 each of the following: 911 hangup, abandoned/stalled vehicle, alarm, public assist, domestic call, driving complaint, property-damage accident, vehicle unlock, and viola- tion of order for protection. Deputy Josh Case talked with the council about snow removal pol- icy and illegal parking in winter. The usual procedure is to issue a warn- ing once, then a citation. The biggest problem in Watkins is on Meeker Ave. where cars park on both sides of the street and the 12-foot-wide plow can barely make it through. Meeker Ave. may be restricted to parking on one side of the street only. Wright County Sheriff's Office Dec. 9, Jordan Tyndale Vaughan, 24 of Annandale, was arrested in Buffalo on a Wright County warrant for domestic assault. Dec. 10, Derek Roland Lindala, 41 of Annandale, was arrested in Southside Township on the charge of third-degree DWI. Dec. 13, Leah Christine Finical, 20 of Clearwater, was arrested in Clearwater on a Morrison County warrant for fifth-degree controlled substance violation. Dec. 13, Natasha Christine Frey, 29 of Annandale, was arrested ha Buffalo on a Wright County warrant for viola- tion of conditions of release. Dec. 13, Brian Thomas Bloom- quist, 38 of Maple Lake, was arrested in Corinna Township on the charge of domestic assault. Dec. 14, Kayla Ann Foley, 18 of Maple Lake, was arrested in Monticello on the charge of domes- tic assault. Dec. 15, Tyler James Fisher, 19 of South Haven, was arrested in Buffalo on the charge of fifth-degree assault. There were 96 property-damage accidents, 9 personal-injury acci- dents, 2 hit-and-run accidents, and 7 car-deer accidents. There were 5 arrests for DWI, and 104 tickets for miscellaneous traffic violations reported this week. Meeker County Sheriff's Office Sunday, December 15. 2013 10:16 :a.m. the Sheriff's Office received a report of harassing text messages at a residence on Rails Avenue West, Eden Valley. 5:56 p.m. the Sheriffs Office responded to a car/deer accident near the intersection of County State Aid Highway 34 and 370th Street, Forest Prairie Township. The deputy noted damage to the vehicle's front end pas- senger side and the deer had left the area prior to arrival. 7:15 p.m. the Sheriff's Office dis- patched Watkins Ambulance, per the request of the Stearns County Sheriff's Office, for a report of a med- ical at Powder Ridge Ski Hill, 93rd Avenue, Kimball. One individual was transported to St. Cloud Hospital. Saturday. December 14 2:14 p.m. the Sheriff's Office dis- patched Watkins Ambulance to a medical at a residence on Luella Street, Watkins. One individual was transported to'the St. Cloud Hospital. 4:49 p.m. the Sheriffs Office dis- patchedWatkins Ambulance to a med- ical at a residence on Luella Street, Watkins. One individual was trans- ported to Meeker Memorial Hospital. 5:39 p.m. the Sheriff's Office received a report of a car/deer acci- dent on MN Highway 15, Dassel Township. The caller was transferred to the MN State Patrol. 5:51 p.m. the Sheriffs Office dis- patched Eden Valley Rescue to a med- ical at a residence on 228th Avenue, Eden Lake Township, Stearns County. The Stearns County Sheriff's Office dispatched Paynesville Ambulance. 9:46 p.m. the Sheriffs Office trans- ferred a cellular call to the MN State Patrol for a report of a northbound driving complaint on MN Hwy. 15, north of KimbaU. 11:44 p.m. the Sheriffs Office responded to a report of a possible juvenile party at a residence on 650th Avenue, Forest Prairie Township. The deputies made contact with several individuals and citations were issued for minor consumption. Friday. December 13 3:58 p.m. the Sheriffs Office issued a deer possession tag to an individual for a deer that was hit on County State Aid Highway 2, Forest City Township. Thursday. December 12 10:00 a.m. the Sheriffs Office took a report of theft at a residence on 365th Street, Forest Prairie Township. 1:13 p.m. the Sheriffs Office arrested RustyWilliamHubert Staten, age 24 of Watkins, at a residence on Meeker Avenue South in Watkins on a Stearns County Warrant. Wednesday. December 11 9:39 a.m. the Sheriffs Office took a report of.a burglary at a property on State Street North, Eden Valley. 4:33 p.m. the Sheriff's Office responded to a dog complaint at a residence on 722, Kingston Township. One female German Shepard with a red collar was transported to the Meeker County dog pound. 5:13 p.m. the Sheriff's Office responded to and dispatched the Dassel Rescue Squad and Gold Cross Ambulance to a medical at a res- idence on 309th Street, Kingston Township. 10:21 p.m. the Sheriffs Office responded to a domestic situation at a residence on North 4th Street, Watkins. The individuals were separated for the night and a report was taken. Tuesday. December 10 10:13 p.m. the Sheriff's Office assisted the Eden Valley Police Department with a welfare check at a residence on Hyneman Avenue East, Eden Valley. Monday. December 9 12:28 a.m. the Sheriff's Office dis- patched Eden Valley Rescue Squad, per the request of the Stearns County Sheriff's Office, for a report of a medi- cal at a residence on MN Highway 22, Eden Lake Township. 11:46 a.m. the Sheriffs Office responded to assist the public at an address on 380th Street, Forest Prairie Township. Upon arrival the deputy assisted with a property exchange. 12:47 p.m. the Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a civil issue at an address on 380th Street, Forest Prairie Township. Upon arrival the deputy advised the complainant ot options. 7:04 p.m. the Sheriff's Office received a cellular 9-1-1 call report- ing a vehicle off the roadway on MN Highway 15, Kimball. The caller was transferred to the MN State Patrol. 10:09 p.m. the Sheriff's Office responded to a disturbance at a resi- dence on 380th Street, Forest Prairie Township. The individual was advised of his options. 11:04 p.m.. the Sheriff's Office responded to and dispatched Watkins Ambulance to a medical at a residence in the Watkins Trailer Park, Watkins. The individual was treated" on the scene and no transport was needed.