In what has been an ongoing issue, the Whalan City Council has received an amended petition from the Murphy family to vacate a portion of 2nd Avenue. As per requirements, a public hearing has been slated for November 9, 2020, at 5 p.m. There will be a notice in the newspaper for two consecutive weeks regarding the time and place of the public hearing.
The regularly scheduled monthly city council meeting was held on Tuesday, October 13, at 5 p.m. via Zoom. Present at the meeting were Mayor Marlys Tuftin, council members Owen Lewis, Thore Johnson, Tanya Cook, Kim Berekvam and City Clerk Michele Peterson.
Following the addition of three items to the agenda, a motion was made by Lewis, second by Cook, to approve the agenda with additions. Motion carried.
Minutes and Treasurer’s Report from the September 14 council meeting were read and approved, with one amendment to the Minutes.
Street repair discussions were tabled until spring 2021.
Peterson presented the council with an estimate from Randy Haakenson to remove three large electric poles and two small electric poles at the ballfield. Two lights from the poles have already fallen and the remaining lights could be a hazard.
The council discussed the possibility of only removing the lights as long as the poles are deemed safe. Johnson will mark the poles. Peterson will get an estimate to remove just the lights and the council will continue the discussion at the November meeting.
Peterson is almost done placing the Whalan specific ordinances in the basic code book. She is hoping to present the council with the final draft version, minus planning and zoning ordinances, at the November meeting.
Peterson reported that they are working on designing the banners. The council hopes to have more information next month. Chamber funds can be used for the banners as beautification for the city.
Peterson submitted a burning permit application for the city brush dump on September 24. She is waiting to hear back whether the permit is approved.
Berekvam reported on the Zoning Committee. The committee continues to work on zoning ordinances.
Jane Lewis has shown an interest in serving on the Zoning Committee. The council nominated her for the committee.
The 2021 budget was discussed. Peterson asked the council if they would like to hold a workshop to work on budget details. The date of the workshop will be Monday, October 26 at 4 p.m. at the town hall.
Ben Ruberg re-submitted an amended petition to vacate a portion of 2nd Avenue. Peterson spoke to City Attorney Chiglo, who stated a public hearing must be called with at least 10 days notice.
Motion by Johnson, second by Lewis, to hold a public hearing. Therefore, a public hearing will be held at 5 p.m. on November 9 prior to the November regularly scheduled council meeting. As soon as the public hearing is done the council meeting will begin.
Ordinance violations were next on the agenda. There were three different locations noted that have violations, specifically vehicles. Peterson will issue violation notices and letters.
Tuftin approached the city council about joining the Southeastern Minnesota League of Municipalities (SEMLM). SEMLM is an organization of small cities. The council and Mayor were invited to be members. As a group, everyone has equal representation. It is a nonpartisan group. The group discusses policies and addresses items that are of common interests and issues for small cities and have representatives that bring issues to the legislators. The group meets quarterly. It was decided to pay the $40 annual membership fee.
There is an uninstalled furnace in the city shed. The council needs to find out who the furnace belongs to. The council will look into it.
The porta potty on the trail has been removed for the year and there continues to be visitors in town. Cook suggested sending a thank you letter to the DNR for the use of the porta potty this year and ask if it would be possible to keep the porta potty in place until later in October next year. Peterson will send a thank you and a request for next year.
Peterson reported to the council that the City of Whalan received CARES Act funding. A laptop, microphone and a camera for the City of Whalan has been purchased and was 100% covered by the CARES Act funding.
The city may also be able to purchase the Department of Revenue’s fund accounting program, CTAS, with CARES Act funding. For a $300 onetime fee the city will be able to start using that program with no update fee going forward. This will be very beneficial for the city. Tuftin and the council thanked Peterson for her work on receiving the funding for the city.
The next regularly scheduled Whalan City Council meeting will take place following the public hearing on November 9 at 5 p.m. The meeting will be held in the city hall and will also be available through Zoom. The Zoom meeting number will be available on the City of Whalan website. The public is encouraged to attend.