To the regret of the Whalan City Council, Councilmember Johnny Halvorson resigned from the Council, effective immediately, at the regularly scheduled monthly meeting held at the Whalan Town Hall on June 10, 2019. Halvorson stated that due to health reasons he had decided to resign. The council thanked Halvorson for his service and dedication to the city.
Present at the meeting were Mayor Marlys Tuftin, Councilmembers Owen Lewis, Everett Johnson, Kim Berekvam and Johnny Halvorson and City Clerk Lolly Melander.
Minutes and Treasurer’s Report from the May 13, 2019 council meeting were read aloud by Melander. She corrected one item in the Minutes by request of Johnson, relating to dates of the girls softball tournament in July 2019.
A resident requested the council consider whether they should be charged the full base rate of $35 for an electric meter on their property that is used for a well only and uses very little electricity per month. The council will take the matter under consideration.
A special public meeting was held 30 minutes prior to the regularly scheduled June council meeting, on the subject of whether there should be a limit on the number of lodging establishments in Whalan. The council listened to comments and concerns from the residents in attendance.
At this time, lodging in Whalan included Cedar Valley Resort and three bed and breakfasts.
During the regularly scheduled council meeting, the council approved a request for a bed and breakfast permit by Steve and Diane Snyder. The property has not yet been purchased by the Snyders.
A six-month moratorium has been set on any new lodging establishments in Whalan until the council makes a decision on any ordinances that should be put in place.
A new ordinance book is available for purchase. The council is contemplating whether the city should purchase the new book. Lanesboro City Administrator Michele Peterson, who was in attendance, highly recommended purchasing the book, as it is very useful and comes with a disc so the book can be customized to the City of Whalan’s needs.
The council is able to view the book for 60 days at no charge and will make a decision about purchasing the book within that time. The price of the book varies and would depend on how much would be applicable to Whalan now or possibly in the future.
After research and discussion, the City of Whalan will not begin accepting utility payments by credit card. There doesn’t seem to be much interest by residents to use credit cards and there is also a fee involved.
An emergency call was made to MiEnergy on May 24 due to an electric pole snapping on New Street. The pole also did some damage to a property owner’s electric system. The pole was replaced and temporary measures were put in place for the homeowner until the final repair by the electrician takes place.
Andy Luchen has completed a survey requested by the city. The city has an official copy which the council was able to view. Boundary markers are now in place.
The Zoning Board will study the survey at the June 23 Zoning Board meeting and decide how to proceed. “The bottom line is the city needs access to do the city’s work,” stated Tuftin.
Tuftin reported that the Trail Maintenance Agreement with the DNR will remain the same as in prior years. The City of Whalan is compensated $500 for trail maintenance.
Tuftin gave an update on the FEMA Floodplain Ordinance. The city is required to update the ordinance. There will be a public hearing on the subject before the ordinance will be adopted. The hearing will be held on July 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the city hall. “Flood plain areas have changed,” commented Tuftin, noting that there is a FEMA map available to view online through Fillmore County; the new floodplain map is listed under pending. To view the new floodplain map visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/waters/watermgmt_section/floodplain/county-data-and-map-viewers.html.
The council discussed the walking tour list of items to be completed. Gravel will be placed and potholes will be filled where needed. A drainage issue on Bench Street needs to be addressed. The council will request bids from two different companies for necessary tree trimming and/or removal in town.
A bicycle group will be stopping at the gazebo between 8 and 9 a.m. on June 29.
A liquor license for the July 4 softball tournament was approved.
The next regularly scheduled Whalan council meeting will be held on July 8 at 7 p.m., preceded by the public hearing at 6:30 p.m.