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Harmony Council remains firm in new delinquent utilities policy


Fri, May 14th, 2004
Posted in Features

When the city council adopted the new delinquent utility policy in February it was hoped that those residents who are habitually late with payments will be motivated to pay their bills. Since then, the policy has stirred much controversy in the city. "In the two months that we have done this policy it has been astounding the number of notices that were sent. In March we sent approximately 80 disconnect notices amounting to over $22,000," stated City Administrator Jerome Illg in his memorandum to council members. "In April we sent approximately 80 disconnect notices amounting to over $18,000. We bill on average over $80,000 each month. So the last two months, 25% of preceding balances were not paid by the due date. That is very alarming and concerning.Filing in small claims court cost $60 per individual and an additional $35 to file in district court. This amount is applied to the customers bill as well.While stringent action is required to bring delinquent bills in line, sometimes an innocent "bystander" gets caught in the loop. Such was the case with resident Scott Hanson who had recently had his meters pulled due to a late payment."It was an oversight on my part and I feel a two-week notice isnt fair," stated Hanson as he challenged a hookup fee. At that time, there were approximately nine other parties disconnected that day. This action is normally completed mid-afternoon and not on Fridays.Deputy Clerk Eileen Schansberg reviewed the normal billing schedule: bills are sent out on the first for the previous months readings, and are due by the 15th. Depending on when the dates fall, late notices are sent out on the 18th-20th. Ten days later, unpaid accounts have meters pulled. The total lapsed time is 2 1/2 months. City Administrator Illg noted that newsletters were sent out to the residents when the policy change was implemented. The next two billings also included reminders of the change.Council member David Kingsley asked if the council can look at individual cases. The consensus was that this would open up a floodgate and contradict the policys original intent. Had Hanson realized his error sooner, a phone call to the clerk saying he was coming in with payment would have stopped the disconnection. Illg described the new policy as being in its "infancy stage", and that landlords liked the change as they were less apt to get stuck with late accounts from past .....
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New well under consideration in Rushford

Fri, May 14th, 2004
Posted in Features

At their May 10th meeting, the Rushford City Council opted to cancel the bid for a booster water pump in the citys downtown area at the advise of the Water Commission. Bill Chang of BDM Engineering had suggested to the Water Commission to cancel the ..... 
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Hoffman named Preston city administrator

Fri, May 14th, 2004
Posted in Features

Joe Hoffman of Plainview has accepted the position of Preston City Administrator. The appointment was made at a special city council meeting on Wednesday, May 12.   Hoffman currently is the Executive Director of the Southeast ..... 
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Protesters hold rally in Preston against Heartland

Fri, May 7th, 2004
Posted in Features

PRESTON - Megan, an 18 year old senior at Winona High School, came because she wanted to help stop the tire burning plant.

The plant will not only effect Preston but the surrounding area, she said.

Megan ..... 
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DFL offers up few facts in Davids investigation

Fri, May 7th, 2004
Posted in Features

LANESBORO - Rep. John Lesch, DFL from St. Paul, held a press conference in Lanesboro on Friday afternoon, April 30, to discuss the preliminary findings of an investigation concerning allegations of intimidation by Rep. Greg Davids.

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The Battle Over Heartland

Fri, May 7th, 2004
Posted in Features

Preston: A town divided  By John Torgrimson  When you mention Preston to anyone in Minnesota nowadays they say, Oh, isnt that where that tire plant is being built?  The bat ..... 
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Preston City Council Report: Attorney Sandy Keith to mediate Heartland v. Preston

Fri, May 7th, 2004
Posted in Features

Initially a closed door meeting of the Preston City Council had been requested by council member Steve Knoepke for the purpose of approving a mediator. Apparently, there was some miscommunication since not everyone appeared for the 5:30 p.m. meeting. ..... 
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Lanesboro City Council Report: Update on Church Hill development

Fri, May 7th, 2004
Posted in Features

Northcountry developers Jeff Allman and Warren Kramer updated the Lanesboro City Council on development plans for Church Hill Properties at the regular council meeting held May 3rd. The new plans included an increase from sixteen to twenty-one units ..... 
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Commissioners Report: Board continues discussion on additional Zoning staff

Fri, May 7th, 2004
Posted in Features

As the demand for zoning permits continues to increase in the county, and the need for visiting each site to determine that county requirements are being met, has forced the county board to review options that would provide additional zoning office h ..... 
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