Tricounty News

Eden Valley Council: alley vacated, concert being planned, new fire truck

By Jean Doran Matua, Editor

Road vacated 

At its Dec. 5 regular meeting, the Eden Valley City Council held a public hearing before vacating Bell Street North, actually the west half of a dead-end alley, the east half of which was vacated last year. By vacating this portion of the street, a home can be built there and a portion of the alley used as a private driveway. A power pole will need to be moved (by Xcel Energy), but there is no need to survey the property again. The cost savings to the city by vacating the property is in ongoing maintenance if surrounding properties are developed. The added benefit is that the dead-end alley will not become a police and security issue now that it is vacated (relinquished as city property and turned over to private ownership).

Fire Department report

Fire chief Joe Thielen gave an update on the new fire truck being built for the city. The pumper truck is about half done. “It’ll be very nice. Big. Tall.” said Thielen. It’s been nearly two years since the project began. Township approval was given, the truck was ordered, and they expect delivery in mid-January with the truck going into service by the end of January, after installing radios and a few other things locally. The city can borrow up to $200,000 from Stearns Electric Association at a rate of 3.25 percent interest with 10-year amortization. Thielen said they will need $160,000 to pay off the truck after using $89,000 currently in the account designated for the truck.

Two new members have been added to the Fire Department roster: Adam Teicher and Steve Schmitt. They will begin training in January, in Litchfield, and the city won’t have to pay for their training. Both have passed their physicals. The roster stands now at 26 or 27 members, Thielen said.

2013 budget set

Review and public comment on the 2013 budget was on the agenda, but no members of the public were in attendance for that issue.

The final levy and 2013 budget were unanimously approved (Eric Reetz was absent).

The budget adopted for 2013 includes $772,372 in revenues (including taxes and local government aid), and $798,265 in planned expenditures. 

The water fund is expected to have $411,150 in revenues and $447,645 in expenditures. The sewer fund is scheduled for $126.725 in revenues and $131,300 in expenses.

City-owned Brookview Apartments anticipate $130,480 in revenues and $135,480 in expenses.

Liquor license renewals

The following liquor licenses were renewed in the City of Eden Valley:

-Corner Bar, on-sale, off-sale, Sunday license

-J&M Liquor (a.i.a. Mike’s Bait, Tackle & Liquor), off-sale; contingent on the city receiving a certificate of insurance

-Valley Liquor, off-sale; contingent on receiving a separate certificate of insurance for this location

-Valley Inn, on-sale, Sunday license; contingent on receiving a separate certificate of insurance for this location.

Healthy Communities Partnership

The Eden Valley Healthy Communities Partnership will apply for a second, $10,500 grant from HCP. The community (not the city) will need to match $10,000 of the funds which will go toward a kiosk system for the new library as well as other needs for the library building, community social events. The council approved applying for the grant, under its name. There are a number of fundraisers scheduled to help meet the matching funds requirement.

Police chief Ernie Junker reported that they are looking to schedule another community event/concert this summer, most likely August 10. They don’t yet have a band lined up, but are working with a promoter. The council approved underwriting all concert expenses, covering them until all the revenues from the event are in. “It takes money to make it happen,” Junker said. “Why we all do it is because we care about our community.”

Mayor Korman added that it cost about $37,000 last year to put on the Hairball concert, with $17,000 of that going to the band alone. A net profit of about $10,600 was realized from that concert event. Besides community fundraisers, money from the Healthy Communities Partnership grant may be used for a 2013 concert.

Korman added, “We won’t do it unless we get rain-out insurance again.”

The HCP executive committee has not yet approved a concert for next year. But the city has given its approval to proceed with planning.

Korman reported that a donor has come forward willing to install multi-stall, handicap-accessible bathrooms in the new library building.

Police report

Junker will bring information on leasing a new Tahoe as a squad car for the next meeting. There is currently $28,000 in escrow for a new squad car, but the total cost of a Tahoe could be $60-70,000.

The city’s dog ordinance is slated to be amended at the January meeting.

Staff reports

Clerk Mona Haag reported that the city received a $18,941.70 check as a refund for health insurance based on good experience among employees. The refund check will go back into the general fund. The city’s health insurance for employees is through Resource Training and Solutions. Furthermore, there are no rate increases for Eden Valley next year, as there are for most others.

Public works director Jim Rademacher reported that Xcel Energy is still working to complete replacing power lines around town. By Dec. 22, they should be done for the year on that project, and they will phase out a substation;. “It may or may not come down, but it will not be hot any more” said Rademacher. Pole replacement was delayed because of local crews that went to the East Coast to help with Hurricane Sandy recovery. Meeker Coop is replacing poles between Eden Valley and Watkins.

They installed two VFDs on the Eden Valley side of the water plant. Now they can close one side of the valve to work on it while leaving the other open.

Because of a change in the school parking lot with the construction project, the city and school will split the cost of hauling snow, more snow than usual, equally.

No solution has yet been found for how Eden Valley can still have a Valley Daze parade while Highway 22 is under construction. The detour route cannot be used for the parade.

The Holiday Train community event will be held from 6-9 at the library, with the train’s schedule arrival after 9:15 p.m. Everyone is invited.

Bethel retires from council

This was Peggy Bethel’s last meeting as a councilmember, at least this time around. She has served a total of 22 years on the Eden Valley council.

“No matter if we all didn’t agree,” she said, “we all got along.”