Herald JournalHerald Journal, Jan. 20, 2003

Herald Journal named Montrose's official newspaper

By Lynda Jensen

The City of Montrose chose the Howard Lake-Waverly-Montrose Herald Journal as its legal newspaper during its meeting last Monday night.

The Herald Journal offered a lower bid compared to the Wright County Journal Press for publishing legal notices.

The Delano Eagle was asked for a bid and did not turn one in.

Acceptance of the bid is contingent on the newspaper seeking more coverage from the school, according to the motion made by Council Member Sharon Knodel.

It included free online minutes in a searchable format, although it was noted that the minutes are already posted at the city's web site.

The council decided against taking up the second half of the offer for posting minutes online for free.

More hours per call for fire department

Fire Chief Mike Marketon discussed several fire department items.

Marketon noted that the total number of calls was relatively the same for 2002, but that each call is taking up more time.

The fire department worked a total of 1,276 hours in 2002 compared to 966 in 2001, primarily because of weather calls, he said.

He is pleased with the increase in training hours, Marketon said, noting that more volunteers are attending.

The fire department requested approval of a used quad cab truck purchase, since members have been using their personal vehicles in the past. It is a budgeted item.

The truck would be used to haul equipment, tools, used as a command post for controlled burns, for training, community service, and many other uses.

The council approved purchase of a 2000 Ford 250 four wheel drive truck for $19,300.

Fire department officers were appointed for 2003, which included Marketon as chief, Allen Mortensen as second chief, Jason Chaffins as third chief and training officer, Willie Bauerschmit as first captain, Mike Daniels as second captain, Brad Driver as secretary, and Alfred Mohring as treasurer.

Marketon noted that the chief three position is now consolidated with the training officer position.

Storm water solution for Countryview

DeWolf presented the council with a storm water solution for Counryview. The council authorized him to seek bids for the project.

The new storm sewer, estimated at $189,000, will redirect water away from houses on Mindy Lane and Crystal Court, DeWolf said.

Northridge project rolls forward

The council approved a development contract with Woodside Communitities for plat two of Northridge, which included changes suggested by council members.

Developer Don Jensen of Woodside Communitities of Minnesota was present to speak and answer questions. Woodside recently purchased Pilot Land Development.

Woodside plans to have model homes done ahead of time for show, Jensen said. They will be able to record a plat in 30 to 45 days, he said.

City Engineer Brad DeWolf will prepare plans for bids to extend water and sewer service northward on Wright County Road 12, which is where the development is located.

This will require the need for a lift station and trunk lines, which could be completed by October, DeWolf said. The utility upgrades, estimated at $165,000, would serve Northridge and Rolling Acres, but also several hundred acres to the west, DeWolf said.

Nelson noted that this would not result in extra taxes, because of trunk area fees paid for by developers, which covered the cost of extending city services.

"Those trunk area fees are working very well," Nelson observed.

Nelson asked about the number of trees being removed and asked Jensen if he could retain some for the development.

Jensen indicated he would see what he would do.

Council Member Jeff Mattson said that people can't see the park from the road according to the plans presented.

Nelson asked about a golf course, but Jensen would not commit and indicated this was down the road, if at all.

Ongoing sales

Roy and Sylvia Henry attended the meeting to protest a recent citation by the city for their ongoing garage sales.

The Henrys, who live at 600 Nelson Boulevard, offer ongoing sales, which cause traffic to park along Highway 12, where no parking signs are posted.

"I just don't know why we were finger-pointed when there are many other people who have garage sales," Sylvia Henry commented, evidentally referring to Council Member Jeff Peterson, who first reported the issue because he lives in proximity to the Henrys.

"If someone else has a problem, they will be treated the same," Mayor Charlie Nelson said.

Sylvia estimated she conducted about three sales per year. Other council members commented that having ongoing sales like the Henrys was more like a business, and that the Henrys lived in a residential area.

Regarding traffic, Sylvia said that police officers drive by regularly without ticketing.

More than three sales per year is supposed to be reported on income tax, commented Council Member Jeff Mattson.

"There are no ordinances about garage sales," Sylvia Henry said. The notice she received indicated she should have no more than two.

Nelson indicated that this was already on the agenda to be updated soon in relation to city code.

Fieldcrest snow removal

Delilah Ownbey, who lives at the Fieldcrest development, attended the meeting to ask questions about snow removal.

She asked the council why the city could pile snow in an emergency route when she was previously cited for partially blocking this same location with a camper by her house.

"It melts and runs into our yard," she said.

She understood the need for emergency access, but it bothered her that the city can block this spot if it wants, because it was the city that objected to the camper being there before, not her neighbors, she said.

Haag indicated the situation could be easily solved by pushing snow through rather than piling it there.

Ownbey also asked about street lighting for Fieldcrest.

The street lights are in progress, reported City Administrator Barb Swanson. She recently met with Xcel Energy about the issue. The lights will be acorn style lights.

However, Xcel will not install the lights when the ground is frozen, said Public Works Supervisor Del Haag. They should be done sometime after spring thaw.

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