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Garbage change fee, holiday decorations, utility rates discussed
Jan. 24, 2020

Mark Mitten

HOWARD LAKE, MN – City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller, during the Howard Lake City Council meeting Jan. 21, suggested instituting a “garbage service change fee” of $15, that would apply to residents seeking to exchange their current garbage receptacle for a different-sized receptacle, either larger or smaller.

Haggenmiller said that as many as 20 residents have requested to exchange their garbage cans multiple times throughout the year, and up until now, there has been no fee.

“Just about every other major hauler charges a fee for this service,” Haggenmiller said.

Meagan Donahue, the new assistant city administrator for Howard Lake, noted that Waste Management charges $65 to switch bins in Robbinsdale, because the company must clean the bins for reuse.

The council agreed, a $15 fee would be reasonable, and approved the new charge.

Utility rates

For 2020, utility rates in Howard Lake will not increase.

“As a reminder to the general public, our last utility rate fee increase was in 2016,” Haggenmiller said. “This has really been possible because of the industrial and residential growth that we’ve experienced over the last few years.”

He told the council that the city has stabilized its overall utility rates and sewer fund, which was in “dire straits for a few years.”

Holiday decorations

The council discussed the purchase of new holiday street decorations. The current decorations, according to Haggenmiller, are showing signs of deterioration and age and need to be replaced. He explained that the LED stars, which are placed along Highway 12, were purchased in 2014, while garland-themed decorations on 8th Avenue date back to the 1990s.

“What we’re dealing with over the last holiday season is the dimming of the LEDs,” Haggenmiller said. “We’ve gotten quite a few complaints.”

Donahue presented her research and recommendations for 36 new LED street light decorations for both Highway 12 and 8th Avenue, and a “self-lit panel tree” (either 18 feet or 22 feet in height), which would be installed during the holiday season as an alternative to stringing lights on the pine tree near the Welcome To Howard Lake sign.

The council agreed to invest in the upgrades, authorizing up to $21,000 in expenses.

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