Public works director Jon Nordsving was recognized during the March 8 Canton City Council meeting in honor of celebrating his 20th anniversary working for the city. Nordsving presented his report to the council immediately after his recognition, simply saying, “We are geared up and ready to plow snow again.”
The meeting opened with a public hearing regarding the zoning map for the city, which designates areas in town where industrial, commercial, residential and agricultural properties are located.
Mayor Josh Nordsving explained that the map now reflects what each property is currently being used as. A few modifications were made to update this new map from the most recent version. That included defining five industrial areas and highlighting commercial properties on Main Street as well as outlying parcels.
No public comment was offered on the proposed changes, but Councilmember Kristy Ziegler pointed out that there was an alley on the map that was running straight through the park. While this wasn’t necessarily a zoning matter, she suggested updating that while map changes were being made.
Another question raised had to do with a grassy lot, that could be deemed agricultural, next to the Canton Manor. However, since the lot is surrounded by residential lots, Koliha suggested that it would be best to keep current zoning as a residential lot. The proper zoning would also be in place should the lot be sold and the new owners wish to build a new home.
The council approved the new, revised map and approved recording the map with the county for proper record keeping.
In another matter, the council considered a proposed change to Chapter 52 of the water regulations within the city ordinances. The new language defines that “each building served shall have a separate water meter. Buildings with only one service connection, but which connection supplies more than one living unity, will be charged a service connection fee for each separate living unit.”
This would apply to “living units” as being a room, apartment, cottage or other area within a building that is set aside for the exclusive use or control of one or more identified residents.
During the public comment period of the meeting, property owner Karl Butenhoff addressed the council regarding the proposed change. As the owner of two apartment buildings, he had concerns about the city’s ordinance. He had previously visited the council last June regarding the way the city charges for water and sewer to multi-resident properties.
“Based on Canton’s own city ordinances, the charges for utility service should be in proportion to the costs of providing the service,” he said. “I would like to reiterate that the current language and system, does not reconcile with city ordinance language or Minnesota state statutes.”
He pointed out that the billing practices place a higher burden on the property owners than other cities.
Butenhoff explained that utility costs are 26% of the yearly operating expenses. In other properities he owns, it is 3%. “We are paying 23% over the average,” he added.
The amended ordinance was approved as proposed, with each residential unit being charged its own service connection fee. The council also approved publication of a summary of the amended ordinance in the Fillmore County Journal.
Ball field improvements
Josh Nordsving told the council that the Canton American Legion has four teams committed, with four more possible, to start a new ball league at the field this summer.
He noted there is a need for new sand and a few other upgrades. The Legion requested that the city consider sharing the costs of these items.
The council discussed the matter and the members are open to considering a cost share, but would like more information and a cost estimate. The council members also agreed that it would be nice to know that this would be more than a one-year league if possible.
During the deputy clerk’s report, Barb Kerns reminded residents about the April 1 deadline for renewing pet licenses. Residents can still get licenses after April 1, but the cost increases from $5 to $10. She told the council that about half of the pet licenses from 2022 have been renewed.
Kerns also gave an update on garbage and recycling charges, discussing possible rate increases to offset fuel surcharges. She said those additional charges have only been about $40 to $45 the last few months, but last fall, they were about 10 times that amount.
She presented a spread sheet with the revenue increases that would be possible with 50-cent, 75-cent and $1 increase per service.
“We are not looking to make money, but break even, which we have not been doing,” said Josh Nordsving.
No action was taken at the meeting.
Clerk Koliha noted that she has been working with the city auditors on the 2022 audit, which has been completed. She has also been working on alternative funding sources for the upcoming street and utility projects.
In other matters, the council approved a joint powers agreement between the city of Canton, city attorney and police department for five years. This is in place so the attorney and law enforcement agencies can communicate with each other and act on the city’s behalf.
The council approved a request from the Canton Community Association for a lawful gambling exempt permit for Canton Day Off.