By Jean Doran Matua, EditorThe city held their Truth In Taxation meeting as part of its Dec. 4 regular meeting. One individual (Lonnie Hendricks) who owns several parcels, four without city water or sewer, questioned how property values are set, and why he is being charged such high taxes for property with only pole sheds or no buildings at all. ($6,500 on one of them) Problem with storm sewer drainage on his land, not resolved 10 years ago with first Hazel Ave. project, but now he’s got a 36” pipe on his land and culvert under railroad tracks.Ed Marsolek of Heritage House. Still very much interested in constructing an addition, and working on financing, but another facility had some more pressing issues. TIF agreement for 2012 may be extended again if construction begins in 2013.
Published on Saturday, 15 December 2012 17:24
Curt Ashfeld addressed the council about a foreclosed home he purchased in town in 2009. Planning to sell it Jan. 2, but now problems with the city because prior work had been done without proper permits. Scott Qualle, building inspector, was present. Basement is now finished. He recommended waiving the special investigation fee. Inspections have been done, and everything is up to code. Lonnie Hendricks addressed the council about the Snowmobile Club route that now goes through an alleyway on his property. The trail groomer can’t get through. They will need to locate the alley on a map before any decisions can be made. The council discussed making the city’s garbage and recycling contract a multi-year agreement. They accepted Veolia’s bid at the last meeting. At the Dec. 4 meeting, they decided to make it a one-year contract this year, and next year request three-year bids. City alley project was added at the last-minute because of cost-savings available from the contractor. All digging work should now be completed for the season. What remains is work this week to re-line existing clay sewer lines with a fiberglass/PVC liner that can quickly be cured into new pipe within the clay pipe. The city’s water system is now fully operational, and consumers can use water softeners and water as they did before construction began. Some city construction projects will be completed in the spring, including applying another layer of asphalt, and completing sidewalks delayed because Xcel Energy crews were sent to the East Coast to help with recovery after Hurricane Sandy, delaying power pole replacements here. It is estimated that city road project will be $200,000 under budget when completed. These funds may be available for additional projects that fall under USDA guidelines and approval. The council discussed outdoor wood-burning boilers, but have not yet made a decision on their allowed use within city limits (based on smoke produced, not on safety issues). The Holiday Train is coming Dec. 13. Mayor Konz obtained two tickets to ride the train from Annandale to Kimball that evening. Whichever class at the high school collects the most Toys For Tots will be eligible for a drawing of two names from the class to ride the train into Kimball. The city’s attorney discussed the city’s lawsuit against Kim-Built Propane. The council opted to keep this portion of the meeting open to the public. Kim-Built was served the previous week with the lawsuit, and served
Dec. 4 with a temporary restraining order asking that all work on the property cease (except insulation work on the ceiling). The attorney explained that there are two issues: the convenience store, and the bulk fuel tanks. (except insulation on ceiling) Kim-Built must provide a detailed site plan and complete a submittal package from a licensed architect, as required by law for a commercial space, before any work can continue. They also must obtain all required building permits, including for the interior space. The lawsuit is asking for the removal of about 20x30’ portion of concrete to allow for inspection of underground plumbing, and removal of part of a wall to allow for inspection. Once this is completed, they can continue with the project. As for the bulk tanks, the State Fire Board hearing in October turned down Kim-Built’s request for variances because it did not meet the code, and created a safety hazard. They further decreed that, if there is any hardship, it was caused by Kim-Built. The State Fire Board stated that it is willing to consider the above-ground bulk tanks in a retail setting if Kim-Built can come up with a design where they would have tanks underground as part of the plan. Large tanks pose a fire hazard, and underground tanks pose a lower spillage risk. The above-ground tanks should pump to the smaller, underground tanks from which retail customers would pump gas. They recommend that no work continue on the tanks until a plan is submitted by a design professional (engineer) with expertise in the area of tanks and fire safety. Such plan would then have to be approved by the city or the State Fire Marshal. Paul Degree, on behalf of Kim-Built, told the council that they will not install or use underground tanks for the bulk fuel business, and that this is why they have not submitted an architectural design. He added that they will use underground tanks for the retail side of the business, but have not yet submitted the plans. At this point the meeting was closed so that the council could confer with the city attorney regarding the lawsuit.