WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) -- westbrook — The city council was pleasantly surprised when they received a check of $29,000 from FEMA to help cover expense of clean up after late winter ice storm.
Mayor Dennis Phelps said he was really not expecting to get anything from FEMA. “I thought we might end up behind other cities with bigger claims. This goes to show people who are down on FEMA that they really do help people when disaster strikes.”
He also noted that the money will help the budget, but the city really did have the additional expense. “It doesn’t mean we are really flush, but it does put us in a better financial position for our budget,” Phelps said.
The Municipal Utilities will also be receiving a check for about $6,500 for their role in the clean up and infrastructure repair.
The council discussed raising rates for fire coverage to townships. It has been several years since the coverage has been raised. Fire chief Curtis Madson told the council they need to increase the rates, because often times they are losing money on fire calls, especially when they have to stay longer than a couple hours.
Presently the fire department charges $500 per call no matter how long they are there. City Clerk Katie Steen checked with other departments in the area and most have some sort of extra charge for longer fire calls. It was suggested raising the fire call charge to $750 plus $150 per hour after two hours. Plus $50 per pail for using foam.
The council also talked about increasing the charge to Township rates were also discussed currently they are at $110 per section. It was suggested to raise it to $125 per section.
The council voted to increase the fire fees as discussed above.
The council was given a preliminary budget proposal for them to review. Phelps and Steen went through the budget line by line with minor changes. Phelps told the council when working on the budget he hoped to make it more realistic. “There is no reason to budget things too low when you know it will be higher,” Phelps said.
The Council will adopt the budget at the next council meeting.
The sidewalk in front of the library was discussed. The insurance representative did not think the claim would fly as they do not cover concrete sidewalks. The work to replace it and put in steps at the front door will cost about $5,200. The council decided to do the work either way.
Phelps told the council he and street supervisor Carl Conrad talked with Lincoln Simonson president of Westbrook Ag Power about land at the landfill site. They decided they could sell about 2.3 acres to the company. A price is yet to be determined, but Westbrook Ag will take care of relocating the city dirt pile.
Conrad told the council the mosquito spraying has worked well and was wondering if he should spray once more. The cost per time is about $1,600, but the spray they use draws the mosquito’s out of the foliage and works very well. The council decided not to spray again unless it is really needed.
Council members commented they felt their has not been a lot of mosquito’s since they have been sprayed.
Conrad also told the council upgrading the sewer pump impellers has been done at the sewer lift site near the sewage lagoons.
The council has been looking at purchasing the corner lot on First Avenue south of the food shelf. The owner had previously said they would sell it for half the appraised value, which would be about $4,000. The lot would be used for additional parking at the community center.
Police chief Alan Wahl told the council the Squad vehicle received some hail damage during the recent hail storm. The council suggested he look into the deductible to see if it is worth fixing.
Wahl also told the council there is several properties that are in need of clean up. They are beginning to accumulate debris and junk in the yards. He asked the clerk to write letters to the owners to notify them of the discrepancy and warn them of impending fines if the problems are not abated. Then after that the city can enforce the orders.
Mayor Phelps told the council their is still a problem with getting action from the owners of the burned out property on First Avenue.
In other action the council approved the following measures.
•The council voted to donate $5,000 to the Fire Relief fund.
•A golf cart permit was issued to Alan Cohrs.
•The council approved a contract with the Missouri River Energy Services resolution through 2029.
• The city declined to take over three tax forfeited properties from the county.
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