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Hancock City Council still debating grass seeding issue

January 2010 is not only the start of a new decade but also kicks off a new year for the City of Hancock. With the start of the new year, Hancock City Council faced some routine yet important decisions at their meeting on Monday night.

One of the first items of business was to close out the Sewer Pond project and make final payments to Riley Brothers Construction. However, there is still one area of concern with the project. That is with the grass that was seeded by a company hired by Riley's. The grass did not grow on the berm and surrounding area as was required in the project. Riley's had acquired the services of a soil expert to see why the grass did not grow and his determination was that the problem was related to chemicals in the soil on the property which was formerly farm ground.

Rural Development disagrees with the finding and so is recommending the withholding of the payment for this portion of the project. Larry Van Hout of Widseth, Smith and Nolting recommended that the city try to work up an agreement with Riley's to split the cost of reseeding. The total cost to reseed would be $4,200. He added that to continue to fight this and possibly hire another expert would cost more than the city's share of $2,100.

Van Hout also reviewed the final contract where estimated project costs were compared to what was actually used in the project. The result was some deductions totally just over $21,000. After making these deductions Van Hout recommended making the interim payment to Riley's for $38,745. The final payment will come after the seeding issue is resolved.

Reorganization

In preparation for the upcoming year the city council approved a formal organizational resolution which covered all the official designates, committees and set the dates for meetings. Most of the designates will remain the same with the addition of Bremer Bank to the official depository list. The committee appointments from 2009 will continue in 2010. The appointment of a Fire Chief will take place at the Firemen's Annual meeting on Jan. 16.

Moore Township

agreement

The agreement between the city and Moore township for work on two roads that run through both municipalities was reviewed. The roads include the continuation of Sixth Street at the southwest side of town and Pacific Avenue to the southeast. In previous years the city and Moore Township shared the cost of maintenance on the roads 50/50. However, a few years back in was discovered that a portion of Pacific, once thought to be in Moore Township, was actually in the city limits so a temporary agreement was set in place for an 80/20 split to make up the cost difference.

With the agreement coming up for renewal, the City Council would recommend returning to the 50/50 split. The city would continue to do the snow plowing of both roads while the township takes care of mowing. Any sealcoating, crack filling or other work on the roads would be paid equally by both parties. This proposal will now be in the hands of the township for their approval.

Other business

• The city received several bids for replacing the heaters in the fire hall. Of the three burners, only two are working properly. It was decided to budget approximately $4,000 for this next year.

• City Attorney Neil Simonson is continuing to work with Otter Tail Power Company on the new franchise agreement. The paperwork is currently in the hands of Otter Tail.

• City Clerk Andrea Swenson told council that the city funds at 1st American exceeded the FDIC insurance amount for one financial institution and therefore she transferred $100,000 from savings to a money market account at Bremer Bank in Morris.

• Some discussion took place about vehicles on the streets and in alleys during snowplowing. It was noted that a snow emergency must be declared before people are required to move these vehicles.

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