The Peterson council voted unanimously at the April 12 meeting to proceed with improvements to North Church Street. Its condition has been a concern for the last several years while the city has worked to prioritize and improve its streets. Fred Kruckow of Dunn Blacktop was present at the meeting to discuss the details and cost estimates.
The street’s base is solid and will provide a better result than would a full reclamation, which would force the need for new compaction and significantly thicker asphalt to ensure a smooth, long-lasting road. Full reclamations can result in reflective cracking. Kruckow believed the established base, with added asphalt, was the best route.
“You’re going to have a surface that’s really going to perform,” he added. “It’ll give you strength and buy you a lot of time.”
Kruckow described how Dunn would begin at the intersection of County Road 25 and head north for roughly 1,120 feet. They will tie the pavement into the bike trail and extend it to the city limits. The overlay will be two-and-a-half inches in depth. The total cost of the work is just over $42,508.
The council also approved the purchase of the additional sign for the new city sign on Highway 16. The sign, replaced last year, was lowered from its original position on support poles due to weight and wind. With the poles extending up beyond the top of the sign, Councilor Tracy Seelbinder worked with the company to identify an additional sign that could be mounted on top to complete it. A 20-inch by a 10-foot sign stating, “Established July 1, 1853,” will be written on the sign. The cost is $3,710.
In another discussion, the council made minor modifications to the Chicken Ordinance to eliminate any confusion. City Clerk Chris Grindland noted the ordinance allowed for a maximum of five full-grown chickens and five chicks to allow for time for maturing replacement hens. The council changed the maximum number of chickens to 10, eliminating any description of the age of the birds.
The ordinance also had definitions for coop structures. The city’s zoning has a code for accessory buildings, which also fall under floodplain ordinances. Grindland suggested the city modify the ordinance coop portion so it’s an accessory building. The council approved the recommendation. They also eliminated the $5 permit fee and annual renewal of permits, modifying it so the permits are good until canceled.
The city is trying to stay ahead of unpaid utilities this year. Clerk Grindland provided a listing of the current past due accounts, which total $14,408 already this year. The Cold Weather Rule prevents cities and companies from cutting off utility services in cold weather months and ends on April 30. After that time, unpaid utilities face having the city pull their electric meter. While the city is ultimately reimbursed by the county each year for utilities that went unpaid the year before and were added to property tax rolls, whether or not the city should essentially continue to be “floating them money during the year” while not getting the funds needed for city services was a concern.
“That’s a tough one. We don’t know family dynamics, and I hate to pull when there are kids,” said Seelbinder.
“Aren’t there services these people can apply for instead of not paying their bills? Maybe I’m looking at this wrong, but I feel that’s the right process to go through,” added Councilor Kristina Grindland. “I feel for people, but there is a process for people to go through.”
In the past, the city has provided some exceptions to pulling meters for property owners who communicate regularly with the city and attempt to make payments. The council approved sending letters to past-due utilities and removing meters if necessary.
Lastly, the council approved spending $5,447 on the Barefoot Trail installation of obstacles to enhance the trail. Friends of Peterson paid the cost of the trail development and obstacles. The installation cost was above and beyond the recently planned costs and will ultimately be reimbursed to the city by Friends of Peterson. The funding for the installation will likely come out of the Campground Fund.
Mayor Chris Stenzel and one council member will host an open forum for residents and business owners on Wednesday, April 26, at 6 p.m. at city hall. The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Wednesday, May 10, at 6 p.m. at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.