By Jennifer Ely
The first order of business at the Nov. 13 Caledonia City Council meeting pertained to Andy and Cheri Allen battling a property line issue. Their neighbor had recently built an encroaching block wall on Allen’s property. The couple confronted their neighbor several times to remove wall, but they refused. The Allen’s said they have no problem with whatever Foltz does on his property as long as it isn’t on their property. The council said they will check with the city attorney to see what their course of action can be. They expect to have an answer by the next meeting.
The city-wide water meter change-out has been successful and should be completely finished by mid-December.
The success of the water meter change out is perhaps balanced by the burden of ratepayers, who experienced a cumulative bill in October. Bills ranging from $600 to $1,800 were realized, and people have come into city hall to set up payment plans. Those with $600 bills have three months to pay the chunk, while those with higher bills – $1,200 to $1,800 – have six months. In this light, the council agreed to waive the late fee for these ratepayers. Those who have not sought payment plans will not be extended the same courtesy, the council agreed.
Discussion over a new wastewater treatment plant was had a few meetings earlier, but the council decided it was unneeded as of now. The city is trying to remain proactive about a site in preparation for the day the old plant becomes obsolete.
One recent example of the plant’s need to either be updated or replaced deals with internet connections. Ryan Skillings is using a personal email account for work because there are not enough internet connections. The board considered having wireless installed, which would free up four email lines, but the cost – about $40 a month – had them second guessing that option. It was decided to look into running a cord or splice from Matt Blockers’ connections.
In a related matter, the council discussed a pay increase for Skillings, who completed his Class C Water Certification at a rate of .25 per hour. However, no motion was carried.
After balking at the request at the last city council meeting, Caledonia agreed to a $2,000 request from the Houston County Attorney’s office to help fund a victim services coordinator. State funding was yanked in October, and local governments are all being asked to put a little into the pot to make sure victims are assisted.
Every town has approved this proposal except for Houston, who was having their meeting the same night. The lack of state funding sent the county attorney scrambling for funds, and another request might follow as the program gets reorganized.
A dangerous elm tree on Mike Connor’s property was removed by the city for fear of the specimen falling over. The city had asked Connor to arrange the removal himself, but the gentleman refused, according to city personnel. After taking matters into their own hands, Connor is refusing to pay the city’s bill and did not attend the meeting as promised. The bill stands.
• Griffin Construction requested a change order in the amount of $1,195, which was approved by the council in all favors. Their payment request in the amount of $216,921 was approved as well.
• The 2012 pet license renewal letters were sent. Old licenses will expire on Dec. 31, 2012. Rates were kept the same.
• The city council approved the transfer of Starlite Lanes liquor license to the new owner.
• A gambling permit for St. Mary’s parish was approved.
• The city administrator’s request to join the Minnesota City Management Association was approved.
• The council agreed to close city hall on Friday, Nov. 23 with the understanding that employees will need to use vacation time.
Emily Bialkowski of The Caledonia Argus contributed to this story.