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Fri, May 30th, 2003
Posted in Features
Posted in Features
The May 27, 2003 meeting of the Rushford City Council began with a visit from Duane and Sonja Cook.
Prefacing her remarks with a tongue-in-cheek reference to the "upscale neighborhood which has just seen a 51% increase in real estate taxes" in which they live, Sonja questioned the appropriateness of an old bus parked in a neighboring yard on Stevens Avenue (which locals once referred to as Silk Stocking Avenue because it was believed residents who lived there could afford “silk” rather than cotton stockings). The old recycled school bus, currently situated on the Konkel private property, is equipped with an extension cord for electrical service and several large barrels behind it and is apparently being used as a residence. The Cooks also asked if there was any ordinance addressing waist-high weeds or yards not mowed for five years. Adding that the resident of the bus was a good neighbor—no excessive noise, no bad language or gestures—the Cooks voiced their concern for the appearance of the neighborhood and asked what could be done about the situation. The council referred the matter to the city attorney and plan to revisit the item at the next meeting. Another concerned citizen, Paul Erickson, wrote to the council regarding the driving of a metal track vehicle on the city streets. Erickson alleged that Mike Sexhauer was harming the city streets by driving his vehicle on them. The council decided to write a letter to Sexhauer asking him to repair any damage caused by his vehicle if it was driven on the streets without the necessary street pads. Sewer rate hearing A sewer rate hearing was finally held at the same meeting. The hearing had been postponed when it was discovered that the notification period had not been satisfied before the previously scheduled hearing. Apparently a longer time period did little to affect the citizen turnout (no citizens spoke). Noting nothing had changed in that time, Russ Stammer of SEH Engineering presented the suggested rate increases to the council (from $16.62 to $19.40 for residential users per month). This rate is the first increase in three years, averaging essentially a little over 5% increase per year. The new rate will not provide the funds for the necessary $430,000 capital improvements that will be needed before 2006. The monies for those improvements will most likely need to be borrowed. After hearing Stammer’s comments, Mayor T.S. Roberton urged the council, "If we need to borrow money, now is the time to do it when the interest rates are low." Also discussed was the need to procure land to use for disposal of biosolids. Currently under consideration is a ninety-acre parcel of land that could be used for the purpose for 320 years. After closing the hearing, the council approved the new rates. Summer paving issues The council decided to accept a blacktopping bid from Dunn and a seal-coating bid from Carlson. Although neither bid covered the entire scope of the project advertised, and there was a question as to the legality of the bids, the council opted to accept both bids in an effort to get the work completed at the lowest possible cost to the city. The fear was that redoing the bids would only increase the project costs. In other paving issues, the council accepted the advice of PWD Jeff Copley and postponed the blacktopping of the alley behind North Maple to give the alley more time to settle and be regraded. The airport paving project continues with approval from the state on the funding grant. The city will pay $48,800 with the state picking up the remaining costs of the $244,000 project. Other business In other business the council: • decided to ask for a $32,500 settlement from Central Cable’s insurance company for the tennis court repair; • learned Mike Sexhauer, SEH Engineering and Jeff Copley were working on the sewer extension to the Lyle Rislove home; • received a positive annual library report from librarian Susan Hart and library board chair Burt Svendson stating that library usage continues to increase and the board is meeting with the County Commissioners in an effort "to move forward in a positive way" in funding the library; • heard that the DNR would be spending $5,000 to cut down cedar trees near the Rushford sign on Magelson Bluff. Duane Cook voiced his concern that the city be careful in cutting trees, noting that there are more varieties of birds around now because of the dense forestation. "Nature is important too. If we’re going to destroy habitat, we’ll lose the birds,” Cook noted. • granted a variance for Roger Metz to build a four-season porch on his home that is under construction. The council stressed again their displeasure with the requests for variances on new homes, requesting potential homebuilders to build their homes to suit the lots they purchase. Wanda Hanson can be contacted at email@example.com