Tricounty News

Mayor Loch presides over his final council meeting

Levy and budget approved, vacant council seat to be filled, National Flood Insurance considered

By Jean Doran Matua, Editor

Mayor Jim Loch opened the Dec. 13, 2012, Watkins City Council meeting and conducted business as usual. There was no trace of reminder that this would be his last meeting as mayor after 27 years.w-Watkins council
Mayor-elect Dennis Loch (at right) presents outgoing mayor Jim Loch with a plaque commemorating Jim’s 27 years of service as mayor of Watkins. Dennis’ council seat will be filled by council appointment. Staff photo by Jean Doran Matua.

At the end of the meeting, just before adjourning, mayor-elect Dennis Loch presented his cousin Jim Loch with a plaque commemorating his 27 years of service.

When Dennis takes the mayor’s seat at the Jan. 10 meeting next month, his council seat will officially be vacant. (Any resident wishing to be considered for appointment to fill the remaining two years of this council position should contact the city clerk by Dec. 28. Interviews will be conducted Thursday, Jan. 3, by appointment. The council hopes to appoint someone at the Jan. 10 meeting.

In other business, the council:

• Heard the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office report on policing the city: 33 calls in November. The winter parking ordinance is now in effect: 1 warning, then a citation for parking on city streets _____.

• Adopted the 2013 levy and budget, as presented in September: $_____ 

• City engineer Kent Louwagie explained the National Flood Insurance Program, administered by FEMA, that the council is considering for the city. This insurance would be required, if the city joins the program, for the eight properties identified as flood-prone; most of those properties are located in the Watkins Trailer Park. The council decided to table a decision for the next meeting.

• Rates were raised for renting the Village Hall: $75 per floor per day, with a $200 cleaning deposit.

• The “City of Watkins” letters on City Hall will be replaced by a more modern sign to finish off exterior work being done on the building.

• There have been problems cleaning city streets of snow with the existing equipment which City Works director Bill Hennen describes as old and broken. The council will research both contractors to help clear streets and the purchase or lease of better equipment.

• Brenda Carlson of Eden Valley came to discuss the future of the Watkins Pool. She will serve on a committee to pursue fundraising and planning to keep the pool up and running, and to promote it and have it utilized more by Watkins and surrounding communities.

The next council meeting is at
6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10. in City Hall. As always, meetings are open to the public. A public forum is available toward the end of the meeting, or you can call the city clerk at 764-6400 to be placed on the agenda.