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January 16, 2013
City Council reorganizes for new year
Newly elected council members and mayor were sworn in prior to the meeting
WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- Westbrook — New council members Marvin Sorenson and Manda Jorgenson along with mayor elect Dennis Phelps were sworn in to their respective positions.
After being sworn in mayor Phelps proceeded with the agenda for the evening.
The council proceeded to appoint members to commissions of the council.
Acting mayor - John Madson. Park and Pool - Jan Johnson, John Madson, and Manda Jorgenson. Street committee - John Madson, Digger Phelps, and Marv Sorenson. Finance committee - Digger Phelps, Katie Steen, and Jan Johnson. Community Center - Jan Johnson and Digger Phelps. City Assessor - Cottonwood County. Official Newspaper - Sentinel Tribune. Bank depository - Bank Midwest. City Attorney - Muske Muske and Suhrhoff. Library - Marv Sorenson. Economic Development - Jan Johnson and Digger Phelps. Personnel - Digger Phelps, John Madson, and Jan Johnson. Emergency Management Director - Alan Wahl. Weather Manager - John Madson. Zoning Administrator - Katie Steen.
The council discussed attorney fees, and considered possibly seeing if they could set up some type of retainer fee for handling brief contacts with the city attorney. City Clerk, Katie Steen was asked to check with some of the area cities to see how they handle their use of the city attorneys and fees.
The council discussed who should pay for the new walk in front of the library. Part of the work was done to accommodate the new entrance to the Library, and part to accommodate snow removal with the city’s skid loader. Utility employee Dan Joel said they will have to measure the width of the additional concrete to figure what the percentage would be. He thought it would be less than one fourth of the sidewalk.
Mayor Phelps talked about the city getting on a list of cities, with the League of Minnesota Cites. The list would give the city some recourse in collecting debt owed to the municipality for removal of property following a fire other casualty claims, or unpaid utility bills.
Apparently after a recent fire on First Avenue, the insurance company paid the claim, including funds for demolition and removal of the debris to the home owner who no longer is in the area. That means the city will likely have to spend money for attorney fees to secure the property, and pay for the demolition and removal of the property. This could cost the city several thousand dollars.
The council discussed a problem with some First Avenue property owners in the business district that are not keeping their sidewalks clean from snow and ice. A couple of the property owners said they would pay the city to do it, but the council felt they could not do that because it would be competing with businesses that do snow removal. The council said that these people will just have to hire someone to do the removal, much as any other property owners have to do.
The following items were approved by the council.
• Contribution to the Fire Relief Fund of $4,000.
• Part time employees were granted a 25 cents per hour raise.
• Carolee Stutz and Nicole Elzenga were appointed to the Library Board.
Police chief Alan Wahl presented his report for the month of December.
One DWI arrest, five tickets issued, one arrest, one domestic case,
assisted Walnut Grove Police and Lyon County with warrant, assisted Walnut Grove Police locating person, one vehicle impound.
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