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Rushford City and Village cooperate on police and sewer

Fri, Mar 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

At the March 24th Rushford City Council meeting, the council approved a contract for police service to the city of Rushford Village pending approval by the Village. The contract states that the city police will respond to "911 calls related to an emergency."

Although the council had a tough time defining what did indeed constitute an emergency, and were concerned that Fillmore County might misuse the plan and dispatch the Rushford Police whenever the sheriffs department didnt have an officer in the area, the council approved the contract. Council member Ron Miearu stressed that he didnt want the city to get into "dog catching" for the village, but agreed that "we dont know how it will go until we try it."

Council member Norris Kinneberg called it a "step in the right direction." The contract provides for the village of Rushford to pay a flat $1,000 per year fee for such service. Council member Nancy Benson stressed the public needs to know the police are allowed (and need) to be in the village as part of this contract.

The recommended sewer rates for the city and village were next on the councils agenda. The council agreed the village needed to be consulted before any decisions were made on rates since both the city and village are affected. The current recommendation from the engineering company SEH is $19.40 per month per residence. The date of the public hearing on the sewer rates was set for May 12.

Tony Heiden appeared before the council with a complaint about a frozen sewer line. Heiden said the problem started when the sewer froze in the street; the sewer then backed up into his business office. Pointing to the fact that there is only six inches of soil between the sewer line and the storm drain, Heiden questioned the engineering of the system. Jeff Copley, Public Works Department, had mentioned the little snow cover this winter as a possible factor, but Heiden pointed out that the street is plowed clean regardless of snow so it shouldnt be an issue. The council decided to submit the claim to the city insurance company before taking any further action.


The Board of Zoning recommended a variance to Carl and Sue Holger for a garage replacement and a variance to Steve and Tracey Mlynczak to construct a deck with less than the required backyard setback. While the council approved both variances, Council member Nancy Benson questioned the Mlynczak deck variance. This was the second variance for a deck in the new Pine Meadows development. Benson asked why this was occurring Were the yards too small? Why werent the decks included on the original plans submitted? Mayor T.S. Roberton assured the council that Roger Colbenson, head of zoning, "has a good handle on it" and this would not be happening any more.

Other issues

Former Mayor Alton Morken addressed the council on two topics. Morken asked and received permission to paint the lettering on the new Rushford signs so it would be readable from a distance. Morkens plan is to get two bids on white reflective paint and to cover the expense if the bids were reasonable.

Morken, as a Rushford Historical Society representative, then asked for city contributions to help pay weekend help at the depot. Green Thumbers cover the job during the week, but the weekends had to be a paid position. In the past the city has contributed from the campground fees and lodging tax revenue. With the bridge construction and no facilities at the campground, little revenue is expected. Since this expense was not budgeted for, the council was reluctant to contribute. Mayor Roberton suggested the city give the Historical Society $300 and he would try to "find a business downtown to give the difference."

The Municipal Liquor Store came under scrutiny as the reduction of profits in recent years was discussed. With profits down about $14,000 this year and a decrease expected for next year, the council felt the need to monitor the budget on a monthly basis and to find a way to offset the increase in wages and benefits. Possible solutions may include cutting unprofitable hours and overtime.

The Council then moved on to summer recreation. In an attempt to balance the budget, City Administrator Larry Bartelson suggested increasing swimming lesson fees by 5%, season pool passes by 10% and keeping the same daily use pool fee. Mayor Roberton recommended leasing the summer recreation program to the Booster Club.

The Council heard the response from Central Cable concerning the tennis and basketball court repairs. Central Cable told their insurance company to "back off" and told the city of Rushford they would not ask the city to sign off until they were satisfied with the repairs. The council accepted this and asked that repairs be completed by May 15.

In other business the council:

renewed a lease with Mediacom for $600/year for the tower property;

approved an exemption permit for gambling for the American Legion;

agreed to pay half ($150) of a service contract for fuel pump credit card machine at the airport; and

discussed ways to show support for the U.S. troops.

Wanda Hanson can be reached at

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