Reflecting upon the appearance of their city, as is all too crucial living among a society that can best be described as superficial though few would like to admit it, the Canton City Council discussed means in which to improve this, specifically focusing on the state of the gazebo and its surrounding area.
Following previous plans to repaint the structure and upon recent discovery of the monumental $1,000 approximate cost of doing such, alternate solutions were immediately pondered. Determining, after closer inspection, that the edifice was lacking in quality as a whole, Mayor Donivee Johnson herself set about finding a resolution, suggesting researching online for substitute options, such as a steel shelter. Unanimous praise was evident regarding the proposal, noting of the economic benefit in paying some $3,500 for a new pavilion versus an additional $1,000 in repairs each year. Johnson closed the matter, simply stating it as “food for thought for next spring or summer.”
Updating the landscaping around the gazebo, noting of the apparent urgency in using a grant designed to allow actions of such or similar matters, also earned a fair amount of discussion. The possibility of pavers outlining a sort of path throughout the space seemed to be the accepted form of improvement, with simple red pavers providing contrast to identical ones of granite, of which people could request to have engraved and displayed in memory of loved ones at an additional cost.
However, though concurring that the sole quote received for doing such seemed reasonable, other possible problems sprung to the forefront. Members contemplated how one should go about publicizing the availability of the memorial pavers, remarking that though the newspaper could reach out to a vast audience, personal letters may be more appropriate for this specific matter. In addition, the base for the project purely puzzled those present. A permanent foundation, such as cement, prevents vandalism or theft, but also posed the obstacle of how to replace the red pavers upon someone wishing to purchase one for the purpose of dedication. Countering this, the feasibility of a sort of memorial wall was instead offered. Hoping to avoid frivolous spending, the decision was made to come up with a plan first and move forward from there, hoping to set about the undertaking sometime next spring.
On another note, while reviewing the monthly bills, astounded and unsatisfied with the seemingly high pricing of Smidt Construction in regards to new doors at the fire hall, members settled upon looking for other bids, stating the possibility of Caledonia Lumber.
As for the water tower, painting has begun and is expected to be completed by the end of next week, weather permitting. With the tower void of water, the necessity is being provided by means of the continual 24 hour running of the pump, lending an explanation to lower water pressure. Precautions were also taken in notifying area fire departments should a fire occur as the city is without water, with likely expectations of Canton to do the same as Harmony prepares for an identical proceeding. Public Works Director Jon Nordsving closed with the reassurance that chlorine will again be added to the water upon completion of the task at hand with the purpose of disinfecting.
Nordsving also made aware the reason for some recent chemical expenses as due to a red worm infestation at the plant. Though he expects such every year during the summer months, this particular time has proven significantly bad, with him placing blame on the hotter weather.
The playground equipment formerly situated on the old school property has since been moved. Following this, the city is expected to clean up their side of the property to the best of their ability, with leftover rock to be used as needed, such as for filling in around hydrants.
Currently, five properties still lack water meters. Customers inhabiting these will continue being charged. Pondering others’ opinions on the matter, Councilmember Randy Gossman questioned if any unexpected surprises were voiced on individuals’ water bills, to which both Johnson and City Clerk Lolly Melander replied comfortingly against.
The success of Canton Days Off was briefly specified, many articulating of the respectable weather and turnout.
Concerning the proposed 2018 tax levy, the council approved the preliminary of such at 7% to allow for the budget to be sent to the state. A final decision of the levy does not need to be made until December, allowing for change as the budget will likely fluctuate within this time period.
Revisiting the discrepancies declared during the previous month’s meeting pertaining to Richard Sanitation, Johnson and Melander enlightened of their consultation with the business’s bookkeeper. Asserting of some unaccounted $100 per month due to vacant houses continually being billed and individuals simply avoiding payment, the arrangement was made to maintain monthly conversation to ensure more coordination and prevent similar occurrences from happening again in the future.
Gossman, hoping to use the building solely as a storage unit for his tractors, requested approval of a building permit prior to beginning work on a planned 40 by 80-foot shed. After mulling over some particulars, Johnson expressed that the zoning committee would need to approve such and that he should further converse with them.
With the residences failing to show even the faintest signs of improvement even after receiving letters, the council resorted to contact County Attorney Brett Corson to deal with a select few particular properties causing concern. From there, Corson will decide how to handle the situation, whether that be through ruling them as junk yards, public nuisances, or an entirely different approach altogether. Councilmember Charlie Warner also provided insight to other city councils he has sat in on which ended up going in and doing their own removal of the property, later putting the services on taxes. While doing this would require a court order, it still does provide possibility as a sort of last recourse.
The prospect of removal of the bell, originally that of the old school, currently situated in front of the fire hall was also deliberated. Reminding of the museum and historical properties in the works, members concluded to talk with the historical society in hopes of it showing possible interest. In the meantime, the bell will be removed from its position and stored accordingly, with the cement taken out and the hole patched up before winter settles in.
The next Canton City Council Meeting will be held at Canton City Hall on October 11, at 7 p.m.