At its Jan. 9 meeting, the Watkins City Council approved the purchase of a playground set for $16,756 from Midwest Playscapes, Inc., of Chaska. The playground equipment had been approved last year, but the council agreed to wait to make the purchase until 2014 so the city doesn’t need to pay sales tax on it. Another $1,520 will be added to the bill to pay for engineered wood fiber safety surfacing in the playground area. Another $1,135 will be added for installation of the playground. The purchase price includes freight delivery. The playground will be installed in a lot designated for the playground in the Faber Addition on the west side of Watkins.
The mayor appointed council members to the following posts: Jerry Hesse acting mayor and street commissioner, Melody Gertken water commissioner, Scott Piccerillo sewer commissioner and shade tree commissioner, and Sue Unterberger police commissioner.
In addition, the following designations were made for 2014: Farmers State Bank of Watkins and Northland Securities as depositing banks; Meeker County Sheriff’s Office as animal control officer and emergency management director; Tri-County News as the official newspaper; Daniel Zimmermann is the city attorney, and the Meeker County Attorney is the city’s prosecuting attorney; Deb Kramer is the election clerk; Dennis Loch is the weed inspector. Those serving on the Eden Valley-Watkins Joint Water Commission Board are Melody Gertken, Deb Kramer, and the Water Treatment Operator. Fred Struzyk was appointed (newly) to the Watkins Economic Development Authority. Mark Wirz is on the Watkins Board of Adjustments. And the Watkins Planning/Zoning Commission consists of Scott Piccerillo, Mike Grunewald, and (new appointment) Jason Laumer.
There was discussion about payment of Ambulance Service bills. Because of audit concerns, all Ambulance bills must be approved by the city council before payment. The problem comes when bills come due before the monthly council meeting, and it costs the Ambulance Service more to pay late. The council authorized the Ambulance Service to order what they need to operate (including medicines, repairs, and supplies) but to bring those expenses for council approval before payment. The exceptions are regular monthly expenses, and these are preapproved by the council: Sprint, Arvig, Central McGowan (oxygen), Jack’s Oil, NuCara Pharmacy, Expert T Billing, Ameri-pride, Gold Cross Ambulance). The council will double-check with the auditor to make sure this is okay. All Ambulance bill payment checks must still be signed by two council members.
The March council meeting is changed from the March 13 to March 20.
The Watkins City Council agreed to purchase and install the playground system approved at its October meeting (see illustrations above and below). The playground will be installed in V.F.W. Park, in the Faber Addition of Watkins.