Winter in Minnesota can involve many different types of weather conditions. We deal with snow and wind, extreme cold, ice and sleet and toward the season’s end, water run-off and flooding. Through this last winter, the Hancock city council has had to deal with each of these conditions with their focus at Monday night’s meeting on the water run-off and flooding.
The rain, followed by freezing temperatures last week, caused several flooded areas in the city. The snow build-up in most of these areas is blocking the sanitary sewer drains which are covered in ice and hard snow. Trying to open up these drains has been difficult with plows, blades and loaders struggling to break through.
Therefore, the council members decided to hire city maintenance director John Jepma with his backhoe business to open some of these drains on his own time. The council members felt that the length of time and possible equipment repairs could cost more than simply hiring him to do the work quickly and more efficiently with a backhoe. Jepma will also be removing some of the snow covering these drains using city time and equipment.
The last storm was a killer for city streets, as noted by the council members, and hopefully getting them drained early will help avoid additional flooding problems in the spring.
The city council also took care of some other business on Monday night and tabled action on the approval of a golf cart fee and the fee schedule until a special meeting on April 2. City clerk Andrea Swenson presented the Fee schedule for the council to adopt and told them that they would need to add the golf cart fee, vacant building fee and dog impound fee to the schedule.
This prompted some discussion on the golf cart fee and ordinance. Some of the council members questioned the need for a fee and felt that a simple ordinance would be sufficient. The golf cart ordinance was drawn up by the council since Minnesota State Statues stated that golf carts could not be driven on a city street unless the city has an ordinance regulating them.
Since there are several golf cart owners within the city, including Hancock Concrete which has numerous carts, the city decided to set up an ordinance which basically outlines the age of drivers and requirement for insurance. It also added a registration fee for each golf cart used on city streets.
The discussion focused on whether the fee of $10 per cart was really necessary. If a person is driving a cart on a city street and is stopped by police, they will need to show proof of a valid driver’s license and insurance. Some of the council members felt this was enough.
It was decided to table approval of the fee schedule until April 2 when the council will be holding a special meeting for the 2013 Board of Appeal and Equalization.
* The personnel committee has been meeting and trying to come up with job descriptions for Andrea Swenson and other department heads. They would like to set hours, contracts and other information before any further discussion of time clocks.
* The by-laws for the Hancock Economic Development Authority were changed to read that meeting times would be on the first Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. and held every other month starting in January at the city hall.
* There will be a special meeting on Thursday night at the community center for property owners along County Road 1 which will be redone during the summer of 2014.
* Police Chief Matt Flogstad was congratulated for receiving a Certificate of Recognition from Stevens County. The recognition was for providing support to build more secure and resilient communities in Stevens County and was for his participation on a county Ag Chem team.
* Steve Fenlon of Midwest Health Care Capital was present at the meeting to discuss the refinancing of three buildings by Service Options for Seniors including Walnut Court in Hancock. The council approved a resolution that will assist in this refinancing but not hold the city responsible in any way for the debt.
* The council approved an updated Emergency Response Plan for city water which needs to be done every three years. The plan was updated with new names and inventory.