Tricounty News

Local government activity, summarized

Below is a listing of recent governmental activity within the Tri-County News area:

Eden Valley City Council

The city of Eden Valley faces water tower repairs; this is one of the reasons they increased water and sewer rates for 2012. Their 2012 budget was approved at a Dec. 7, 2011, meeting; $400,000 in taxes will be levied in 2012.

The city discussed a proposed MnDOT project involving Highway 22 reconstruction and the rail crossing.

Liquor licenses were renewed in December.

At its Jan. 11, 2012, meeting, the Eden Valley council approved a mutual aid agreement with the new Chain of Lakes Fire Department.

The fire department will take bids on a new pumper truck, due by Feb. 23.

Commissions were assigned at the January meeting, as is customary.

An adjusted fee schedule was passed unanimously.

Mayor Korman plans to send a letter to CP Rail requesting a steam engine to stop in Eden Valley.

Kimball City Council

The City of Kimball is in the midst of a USDA Rural Development project, with construction set to begin in the spring. The water tower and the water treatment plant will be out of commission for a time this summer, and a back-up system will be in place providing city water.

Kim-Built Propane is in the process of building a convenience store and gas station on its property (on the north end of town). A number of logistical hurdles still are being worked out (including surveyor's land boundaries, easements, building codes and inspections).

The council designated committee members at its Jan. 3, 2012, meeting, as is customary.

The Kimball council meets regularly with Maine Prairie Township supervisors working on a number of issues including: orderly annexation, and use of the fire hall for township meetings and storage. The city has agreed to allow storage of township documents (currently stored at the town clerk's home and granary) in the city's police building. Maintenance on 135th Street (which bounds the city and township) is another common topic of discussion and planning. Their next joint meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 2012.

Kimball clean-up day will be May 5.

The city's proposed budget for 2012 is $560,200.

The per-year benefit to retired fire department members was raised from $825 to $875/year of service at the Dec. 6, 2011, meeting.

The water tower will be re-painted, inside and out. The council still is deciding on a color for the tower.

Liquor licenses were renewed at the December meeting.

The city sold a land-locked piece of land adjoining R.M. Johnson's Kimball Railcar Repair land to that company for $2,500.

The city has changed some of the insurance benefits available to its employees, at the recommendation of its agents.

After discussion at several meetings, and two public hearings, the city passed a resolution allowing non-residential, existing properties within city limits to be used for light commercial purposes. This relates to the purchase of the old St. John's Lutheran Church in Kimball, and the plans to make it a one-stop wedding shop. The council's actions at the Feb. 6 meeting paved the way for the sale of the property.

The council decided at its February meeting that winter parking restrictions WOULD be enforced, even though there has been so little snow.

South Haven City Council

The South Haven council appointed acting mayors and assigned committees at its Jan. 3, 2012, meeting, as is customary.

The city is working on a Community City Hall, with the possibility of funding for the project from USDA Rural Development. Until that funding availability is clarified, all plans are on hold. The total planned cost is $634,000; the USDA Rural Development loan is capped at $450,000. The council voted at its February meeting to pursue this funding.

At its January meeting, the council opened bids for debris clean-up and demolition from the March 5, 2011, fire on main street. The contract was awarded to Don Rettman Construction at a bid of $58,000. That work began in early February.

Liquor licenses were renewed at the council's Feb. 8, 2012, meeting.

Fire protection contracts were approved with the townships of Fairhaven, French Lake, and Southside for 2012.

The South Haven Fire Department purchased a rescue training doll for auto accident and water rescue training, for $1,400.

Watkins City Council

The City of Watkins adopted its 2012 levy and budget at its Dec. 8, 2011, meeting. Quotes were received for a new roof for city hall, but the issue is tabled until spring.

Liquor licenses were renewed at the December meeting.

Jake Schmid was added to the ambulance service. Mutual aid agreements for the ambulance service were approved.

At its Jan. 12, 2012, meeting, the future of Hilltop Care Center was discussed. Three parties are interested in the property, one of which is Assumption Home in Cold Spring.

Watkins is in the process of replacing water meters, at a cost of $130,619.

The City of Watkins approved purchase of a new pickup from AM Maus & Son in Kimball, for the city maintenance department, for $19,528.

The Watkins Pool was discussed, particularly those mandated safety additions (like four SVRS pump protectors, and a pool lift). Discussion followed about renovating the pool to a splash pad/water park. They will look into those costs. Discussion was held about converting the pool to a skate park, but liability issues may be prohibitive. Swimming lesson registration was tabled as of Jan. 12.

It should be noted that all city and township meetings are open to the public. Rules for addressing the council or supervisors vary, but anyone may attend.