A nearly forgotten portion of two major Hancock infrastructure projects was brought to light at the city council meeting on Monday night. Jodi DeCamp from the Stevens County Housing Redevelopment Authority (HRA) presented some astonishing numbers to council members.
She explained that in part of the last two projects in Hancock, which included the water/sewer line replacement and the pond project, there were funds included for housing redevelopment in both Hancock and Morris. Hancock was the lead city for the funds but if any money remained, it could be used in Morris.
The funds for housing redevelopment came through the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) portion of the projects. This grant money was available to do weatherization or repair work on homes to qualifying applicants. DeCamp said that there were a number of applicants in both communities and a lot of work was done on owner occupied homes.
In total, with grant money and money from other private funds, over one million dollars was spent on area homes from April 2007 through the end of last year. She added that it was a very good project and thanked City Clerk Andrea Swenson for her help with it.
It has been over a month since the discussion about Police Chief Matt Flogstad's use of the police car when traveling to and from work, and the matter was up for discussion once again on Monday night.
Councilman Jeff Kisgen made a motion to leave the car in town and it was seconded by Councilman Dennis Bye. However, the motion failed on a three to two vote with Bruce Malo, Bruce Schmidgall and Brett Nelson voting against.
Kisgen then suggested Flogstad keep some type of a log of when he uses the car for work purposes during the drive through Morris or is just driving to and from work. Flogstad agreed to do this and will present the report at a future council meeting.
City Attorney Neil Simonson told council that the Blue Chip Feed elevator demolition is quickly becoming his favorite project. He stated this in a somewhat derogatory manner as he is dealing with Burlington Northern Sante Fe railroad on the matter and is getting quite the run-around about taking the dilapidated building down.
He said that on Monday afternoon he received a call from someone representing the railroad who claimed that they have not taken the elevator down yet due to weather concerns. He was not quite sure what those concerns could be during the nice winter we have been experiencing. However, it was noted that the BNSF headquarters is in Texas.
Simonson will continue to send them letters to try to get the building taken down as soon as possible. It was suggested that possibly telling them about the upcoming All-School Reunion celebration may help move things along but it is doubtful.
* The council members discussed some safety issues and OSHA requirements. They will look into getting someone in to check out possible OSHA concerns. The council did approve the purchase of two safety devices, one a wheel step and the second a manhole cover lifting machine.
* The weight restrictions and truck route options on city streets were discussed again. It was noted that some definite routes and an ordinance for enforcing them would be needed. Flogstad will be looking into this further.
* The gallons of water going into the water tower and a comparison to the gallons of water going into the wastewater system was reviewed with a significant increase at the wastewater site. This means the city has to pay for water being eliminated that is not being metered. Last year this meant about $16,000. Clerk Swenson emphasized that the council needs to continue to pursue the Input and Infiltration (I&I) work by the company recently hired to do this. This company will be pushing for all sump pumps to be drained outside the homes as their first course of action.