By Clay Schuldt
The city of Caledonia has set a public hearing on Nov. 26 to discuss a vicious/dangerous dog owned by Tod Weston. The end result of the situation can lead to the dog’s demise.
Weston’s dog was seized by Caledonia’s animal control officer for failure to comply with the city’s dangerous animal ordinance. The animal in question has bitten two people, was aggressive toward a police officer and has been cited on several occasions running at large.
In addition, City Administrator Ted Schoonover said the animal is not up to date on its vaccinations.
Weston had previously removed the animal from city limits in compliance with the ordinance, but on multiple occasions the animal was returned to Weston’s apartment for extended stays, which prompted authorities to take the animal into holding.
Weston asked for the hearing as part of the appeals process. The animal is currently being held at Weston’s expense. Depending on the outcome of the hearing, the animal may be destroyed in accordance with the ordinance.
In other business, the Caledonia City Council addressed several items at their Oct. 22 meeting.
Water main extension
A plan was submitted by Davy Engineering to extend a six inch water main from the existing main in Marilouis Court south along the east side of the highway to Caledonia Implement then continue the extension under Hwy 44/76 for a total is $110,390. This will create a dead end, which is not desirable, but it would correct much of the problem associated with the leaking private main in this area.
This issue came to the council’s attention last month when Bob Klug, Steve Bauer, Allen Meyer, Chuck Gavin and James Jennings addressed the council. The waterline has been leaking for some time due to age, and the property owners requested the waterline be replaced or moved.
A major part of the discussion at the latest meeting was deciding who would pay for the improvement. Mayor Robert Burns said it would typically be the people who benefit.
Jennings suggested the council install a two- or three-inch pipe under the roadway to eliminate all private lines in the city; however, the city is only interested in a six inch pipe.
Mayor Burns said the city would be willing to help pay some of the cost if Caledonia benefits from the change. He said a pipe smaller than six inches would not serve the city.
Gavin argued that, based on Minnesota Statutes, the assessment could affect any property that might benefit, saying “in reality you could assess more than five properties for these improvements.” The council agreed to check with the city attorney on that. Burns did assure the property owners that the city would not force the assessments onto them, explaining that over 50 percent of the property owners need to agree to the improvements.
Water and sewer
Visu-Sewer requested a 30-day extension on the completion date of the sanitary sewer rehabilitation project. Based on current progress, the project is estimated to be complete by the end of December, but may take a few extra days due to weather. The council approved the extension.
The council also approved a $112,651 estimate from Winona Mechanical, Inc. for the North Pine Street lift station portion of rehabilitation project.
Early this fall the city of Caledonia began replacing water meters throughout town with new meters that will allow water consumption to be monitored through radio signals. Most of the meters have been changed out; however, 22 meters have not been installed due to non-compliance.
After submitting hand-delivered letters to the non-compliant homes, half responded by making appointments for the replacement. The remaining 11 have not made an appointment due to issues with plumbing. Only two residents have failed to respond to the letter.
Council member Paul Fisch praised the work done on the water meter project saying, “I think they did a great job. I thought we were going to have more issues than we did.”
Victims service funds
The city of Caledonia was asked by Houston County to pay $2,000 toward the Houston County victims services program. State funding was cut early this year.
While the council said they were in favor of the program, the funding was not approved as there were questions about who else would contribute to the program. Schoonover said he would check into the question.
• After considering Caledonia’s financial situation, the council agreed to purchase a fire barn overhead garage door for the fire department by a four to one vote (Murphy against). Initial estimates have the cost set at $5,000, but administrative coordinator Mike Gerardy believes the total cost would be under $5,000.
• The council agreed to replace a six-year-old PC for the city accountant with a computer from Affordable Technology Solutions at a cost of $1,315. The item is in the budget. The plan is to wipe the hard drive out on the old computer and send it to Ryan Skilling in the water department to allow water reporting to be submitted online.
• The council agreed to pay the Red Cross a $300 fee that maintains certification for lifeguards at the pool to teach swim lessons.
• Wood chips were purchased from Crystal Valley for the playground at a cost of $3,000.
• The council approved a SEMCAC housing rehabilitation grant.
• The Lions Club and Wrestling Clubs gambling permits were approved.
• The council scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 5 p.m. to go over the budget line by line prior to the final approval of next year’s tax levy.
The next regular meeting is Tuesday, Nov. the 13.