Tricounty News

Watkins council accepts pool, park and fire donations

At the first pool fundraiser put on by the new pool committee, $6,942 was raised by the pork chop feed, beanbag tournament, beer garden, and raffle Saturday, June 8.

Pool director Nora Rohrbeck reported to the city council at its June 13 meeting that the event was very successful. Sponsors included Watkins Legion Club, Watkins Lions Club, Watkins Lioness Club, Watkins Fire Department, St. Anthony Church, West Central Sanitation, Mini Biff Inc., Pump Up Your Party , Knaus Sausage House, Tri-County News, Farmers State Bank of Watkins, Wally’s Café, Morgan and Arlis Klein and family, Shorty’s Laborers Lounge, Bud’s Bar, Flash’s Gas and Auto, Broken Wheel Farms, Ponies and Pals Daycare, Ertl Hardware, Riverwood Realty, Faber Building and Supplies, CentraSota, Mies Outland. Christina’s Hair and Nail Salon, Jean Reinert, Ben and Amanda Stommes, and Stein’s Thriftway Foods. There were countless others who contributed to the success of the fundraiser by donating and/or volunteering. In addition, the Watkins Lions Club agreed Thursday night to donate $100/month to the pool fund for a year.

Swimming lessons have begun for the season. Thirteen lifeguards have been hired, three of whom are new-hires. Four concession stand workers were hired. Pool inspection was scheduled for June 14. 

The pool number is 764-SWIM (-7946). Anyone can call ahead to check on hours and conditions at the pool.

The pool is losing about 800 gallons a day (probably through the south wall of the pool). This will be addressed in the fall, after the swimming season is over.

Jim Zilka of CenterPoint Energy presented a check in the amount of $2,500 to the Watkins Fire Department for the purchase of eight composite air bottles. The check is part of what is now more than a $1 million community safety contribution program.

There were 44 calls in Watkins answered by Meeker County Sheriff’s deputies. Many calls were for a dog complaint, and they were about the same dog in the Watkins Trailer Park; the dog has not yet been caught. Several calls were related to one night of mischief that included tossing a bicycle into the Watkins Pool. The theft of that bike, which has been returned to its owner, is the only actual crime in the past month.

The council gave their agreement to the expansion of Mies Outland. Mies plans to build a nearly 3,000-square foot showroom as an addition to their current showroom. They are working on plans and official drawings, but these are not yet final. Both Steve and Jeff Mies came to the council to get their agreement to provide tax abatement for the project, which was given. The brothers hope to proceed with plans and construction soon. Mayor Loch stated that the Watkins EDA is “100-percent behind them.”

The council finalized their utility billing policy amendment: in the event of a water leak, the council may forgive the sewer portion of a customer’s water bill only if the water doesn’t go down the sewer. (The city pays the Joint Water Board for sewer processing based regardless of how “clean” the water may be going down the sewer.)

Public Works Director Steve Geislinger got quotes for repairing Western Ave. and Luella St. The council decided that they must budget for the needed repairs for 2014 since funds designated for street repairs have already been used for crack-sealing. The council unanimously approved reclaiming and overlaying those streets next year. Mayor Loch pointed out that the council did not budget enough for street repairs this year.

The council approved paying $6,500 for a new ramp at the Village Hall. The plans have been approved, and the pressure-treated ramp could last 40 years. First, tuckpointing work needs to be completed on the building, so the ramp project will wait. It is anticipated that tuckpointing and re-roofing the building will cost about $32,000. The council will ask for local quotes for the roofing portion, and will discuss the project again at its July meeting. (The building leaking into the basement has been going on for years.)

The Civic Park Board received a check from the Wat-Kim-Valley V.F.W. in the amount of $12,000 as a donation to the planned playground and basketball court in the Faber Addition. A lot that is about a half-acre has been designated as a park. Equipment has not yet been selected. It is an ongoing project, and it likely will be done in stages. The park will be named “V.F.W. Park.”

Some have complained about the hours that the Watkins Legion Club is open. Originally, they were open Sundays when other bars in town were not. Now, all bars in town have Sunday liquor licenses. Because it is a club, the Legion Club has lower liquor license fees. The council will meet with all bar owners at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 9. The council sets the fees (which can be increased), and approves liquor licenses each year.

It will cost $2,553 to install a separate water meter at the Watkins Elementary School to meter water used to irrigate the baseball field. The city will ask the EV-W School District if they would be willing to pay half the cost. (With a separate meter, the school can be billed for what water they actually use, and the city will know how much water they are paying for that is used on the ball field.)

The city will have the Meeker County building inspector check out two abandoned houses in Watkins. The process to condemn the properties takes a very long time, and may or may not be needed.

There are only five dogs registered in the city of Watkins, even though registration is required. There is a problem with dog poo being left in the softball field. A notice will be posted at St. Anthony Manor across the street for dog owners to take care of their dogs’ business.

The next meeting of the Watkins City Council is Thursday,
July 11 at 7 p.m.