Newly employed Fillmore County EDA Director Marty Walsh paid a special visit to the Canton City Council during its regularly scheduled meeting held November 8.
Walsh stated his primary purpose as wanting to introduce himself as well as to meet the ever-appreciated members of the council, in addition to briefing on a select few personal areas of interest as the newfound holder of the position.
Having grown up in Mason City, Iowa, Walsh is all too familiar with the small town, rural communities spanning the area and wishes to “capitalize on that.” A project of emphasis, likely to occur in the near future, includes the introduction of additional affordable housing options combined with an increasing quality of life. Outdoor recreation will presumably serve as a focal point as well, considering the conditions suitable for fishing and hunting within the region, as made evident by Walsh.
Mayor Donivee Johnson also suggested help with again initiating and maintaining a restaurant on Main Street. Walsh noted that that is certainly the kind of issue he would be interested in helping with prior to leaving, saying “Don’t hesitate to reach out,” whether that be through aid in starting businesses, housing developments, obtaining grants, or anything in between.
Public Works Director Jon Nordsving announced of a mixer pump breaking and that parts are being waited upon to fix it.
Also covered briefly was the issue of the backhoe needing a new brake system. However, with businesses specializing on this matter busy with combines at this time, Nordsving suggested that the matter be set aside until spring, rationalizing that he is “pretty sure it can make it another winter.”
On the subject of keyless locks for the current doors of the fire department building, Nordsving provided hope by declaring that he simply just ordered one after checking into Roger’s Lock and Key out of Decorah and discovering that they do not deal with such. The lock has a three-year battery life and supplementary deadbolt option for the mere price of $130. However, before ordering any more, Nordsving offered that he felt it best to “make sure we can figure it out,” with a chuckle.
Springtime will likewise bring a bit of tidying up of the building, with the doors being sanded and repainted, insulation and resealing being taken care of at this time as well.
Though never hearing back from them personally, the council was able to reach TLB Wireless Internet through means of another individual. With all towers and equipment up, the ordeal should be fully completed by spring.
On the topic of Wi-Fi, members also discussed whether or not such was essential in the Town Hall. Considering the apparent problems of continually needing to change the password after the building is rented or not having a password at all, thereby allowing nearby residents to achieve free Wi-Fi, an immediate need was not made evident, with many further justifying that it could always be added on at a later time.
An email from attorney Greg Schieber was received regarding the hazardous state of the Scrabeck property. Schieber proposed a buying of the property by the city; however, with the numerous complications associated with this, such as two years of back taxes, expenses for cleaning up the expanse, possible difficulties involving landfill disposal and contamination, and the uncertainty of knowing the total area of the premises, the entirety of the council agreed that it be best to pursue the matter through the courts instead. The matter was tabled, with a final decision to be made next month.
As Nordsving has yet to inspect the chairs and chair holder offered for donation by David Terbeest, the topic was put off until a later date.
Requiring attention every five years, the Resolution for Hazard Mitigation Plan with Fillmore County was again adopted by the city. This agreement makes a town eligible to receive money via FEMA should a natural disaster occur, otherwise, alternate methods of obtaining capital would have to be pursued.
A liquor license was approved for the Canton American Legion for the purpose of Brian Kelly’s Benefit to be held on November 18.
MiEnergy recently made known of the raising of their rates by a near 50% from $6.60 to $10 per light. Considering Canton’s 41 street lights, some additional $1,672.80 was calculated for needs of being added to the budget. As part of the increase, the cooperative plans on updating to LED lights as the others burn out.
The presence of and potential courses of actions relating to Jeff Torgerson’s outstanding fire bill from 2016 totaling $2,375 was discussed. As Torgerson has been made aware that if he does not pay it the cost will be added to his taxes, the council, taking up City Clerk Lolly Melander’s proposition, agreed to send out one more letter notifying of the situation and giving the individual until November 23 before the charge will be posted on his taxes.
The meeting rounded out with Councilmember Randy Gossman inquiring of a means of increasing the retirement budget for the fire department, remarking that the closest to their $425 provision was Ostrander with a much heftier $800. Johnson and Melander attempted to offer explanation, affirming of a certain formula used to determine this. It was also explained that a majority of the communities dishing out more have the ability to do so due to pull tabs. All in all, a request would have to be made from the trustees to the council, in addition to the filling out of paperwork, for even the possibility of such to occur.
The next Canton City Council meeting will be held at Canton City Hall on December 13, at 6 p.m.