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Kelliher Council holds public hearing

The Kelliher City Council met for its regular meeting Nov. 16 with Mayor Darin Latterell and council members Don Erickson, Victoria Rabe and Ramona Gehlert present. Councilmember Laura Nelson was absent.

Staff present included City Clerk Dianna Thurlow, Public Works Superintendent Chuck Schultz and Assistant City Clerk Peggy Vollhaber.

Others present were Lori Rennemo, Karen Thayer, Todd Mortenson and John Wynne.

The first order of business was to amend the agenda by adding the interest on certified delinquent accounts to taxes, the Census Space Agreement, orders on dogs running at large and chlorine in water.

Todd Mortenson addressed the council regarding the process of obtaining bids for the liquor store and main lift station/structure between the ponds projects.

Mortenson was informed that the bids for the main lift station were advertised in the Construction Bulletin and in the Blackduck American through the city's engineers, Freeberg & Grund.

The bids for the liquor store were obtained through Wynne Consulting they were advertised in the Blackduck American at the end of 2008. Those bids were reviewed and the low bidding general contractor was awarded the bids and they sub-contracted the electrical, plumbing and heating, etc.

The following consent agenda items were presented for approval:

• City council meeting minutes for Nov. 2

• City council special meeting minutes for Nov. 9

• Receipts from Nov. 1-12 totaling $19,353.98

• Claims list for approval totaling $23,808.64

• Delinquent water accounts

Lori Rennemo and Karen Thayer addressed the council on behalf of the Holiday Street Light Committee.

They updated the council on the generous donations that they have received for the purchase of holiday street lights for Kelliher. The committee raised approximately $5,109 and requested that the city contribute an additional $1,492.67 to complete the order totaling $6,601.67.

A total of 12 snowflakes were ordered and the committee indicated they would like to purchase 12 garlands to go around the light poles. After a short discussion, the council agreed to contribute $1,492.67 to the committee for holiday street lights.

Schultz was present requesting to continue Anthony Schuh's employment on a casual part time basis through the winter.

Schuh worked for the city during the summer through the CEP program and Schultz is requesting to continue his employment through the city as the CEP program has ended. He discussed the job duties with the council.

The council reviewed information submitted regarding the state statutes for hiring minors and then voted to approve Schuh's employment on a casual part time basis though the winter months.

Schultz then updated the council on the progress of the construction project.

The structure between the ponds is about complete and they will be moving into town sometime this week to begin installing the main lift station. The weather has been cooperating and Utility Systems of America is good a company to be working with and construction is moving along as scheduled. Freeberg & Grund, the city's engineers, have been present assisting with the projects as well.

A short discussion was held regarding the easement agreement between the city of Kelliher and Citizens State Bank before approving the agreement.

Discussion was held regarding closing the intersection at Lakin Avenue and 6th Street. This would make 6th Street a dead end. The west end of 6th will be closed to thru traffic. The council then approved the closure unanimously.

The council reviewed the Infrastructure Committee meeting minutes submitted by the city clerk.

A short discussion before approval was held regarding the interest rates for delinquent water accounts that are being assessed to taxes for 2010. It was the consensus of the council to remain at 10 percent.

The council reviewed and then held a short discussion was held regarding the October liquor store income statement.

A lengthy discussion was held regarding the tobacco sales at the liquor store.

The council questioned the mark up on tobacco products. Thurlow indicated that the head bartender Tom Heck had checked the mark up on the products and they were accurate.

The council then questioned the small profits on tobacco products and also questioned the amount of inventory that was on hand, recommended reducing tobacco inventory and monitoring tobacco sales closely.

A short discussion was held regarding continuing the sale of tobacco products in 2010. The council reviewed the renewal application for selling tobacco products. It was the consensus of the council to continue selling tobacco products in the upcoming year.

The council then approved the license application for selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at a fee of $100.

The council reviewed the liquor store committee minutes submitted by Vollhaber.

Mayor Latterell opened the public hearing on the final application for Minnesota Small Cities Grant.

John Wynne of Wynne Consulting, Inc. was present to address the community regarding the final application to DEED for the Small Cities Grant.

He presented the Federal Objectives/Goals/Project Budget and explained the format and how the money would be disbursed to the two communities as the grant is being submitted as a joint application with Kittson County. The grant is being submitted for Owner Occupied Housing only (no commercial).

The Local Government Resolution was addressed and approved. The Citizen Participation Plan was also reviewed, discussed and approved.

The Small Cities Program Joint Participation Agreement between Kittson County and the city of Kelliher was reviewed, discussed and then approved.

Mayor Latterell closed the public hearing at 7:30 p.m.

Discussion was held regarding monthly versus bi-monthly council meetings beginning in January. The clerk provided the council with suggested dates and a resolution. The council reviewed the resolution but no decisions were made.

The 2010 preliminary budget was reviewed and a short discussion was held before a motion to table the budget until the next regularly scheduled council meeting Dec. 7.

The council reviewed the conditions for donation of services and space agreement from the 2010 Census Bureau which was then approved.

A lengthy discussion was held regarding the complaints of dogs running at large.

Beginning in January of 2010, it will be mandatory for all dogs within city limits to have a dog license obtained through city hall. This ordinance will be enforced through the county deputies as will dogs running at large. Residents are encouraged to contact law enforcement or city hall if they see a dog running at large.

A short discussion was held regarding the levels of chlorine in the water. Schultz indicated that the state does not consider it a health issue until levels reach 4.0. The city's highest chlorine level was 1.7 in 2004. On Nov. 3, 2009y tests in a between the range of .8 to 1.2.