Howard Lake Herald, October 12, 1998

Letter of credit; bone of contention

By ANDREA VARGO

Backed by comments from City Attorney Charles Paschke, Councilwoman Jean Schmidt voiced the single "no" vote on the issue of the letter of credit the Howard Lake City Council approved for Paul Phillips of the mobile home park, Tuesday.

Paschke said he would rather see the $300,000 letter of credit remain intact until the mobile home park expansion is complete.

Schmidt said she would like to see more of a safeguard for the city in case the project was not completed for some reason.

Phillips said the letter of credit is specifically for upgrading sewer and water utilities and putting in the new lines for the expansion.

It would not be realistic to expect him to tie up $300,000 that he would have to pay interest on and not be able to use for the construction. "The bank would never go for that," he said.

Other considerations, such as a storm shelter and an additional entrance, are completely different issues, Phillips said, and not included in this project.

The bank wants the amount of the letter of credit to be reduced as the bills are paid and the work approved.

Mayor Mark Custer told the council, "We have control and have to sign off on the money as the work is finished and approved."

Computer systems

City computers need to be checked for year 2000 compliance, and there are other computer related problems that need to be addressed, said Paul Scivetti of Synergen, Inc.

First, the city has a single-user version of the Banyan Data System software, which is used for payroll, utility billing, and fund accounting.

The software is only available on a single computer.

At peak times, such as months where payroll and utility billing fall on the same day, this causes a serious operational bottleneck, he said.

The solution, said Scivetti, is to install a networking system to link the computers in the office.

A small file server must be installed along with the hardware and software needed to connect the computers.

The computers also need protection from power surges and outages, he said. A battery is available to take care of that problem.

The year 2000 problem begins with the hardware, he said. Every computer should be tested for any problems.

Even the Windows 95 software, used in most computers in the city, is mostly compliant only in the newer versions.

The city runs relatively few applications from a small number of vendors and fixing problems with those applications is up to the individual application vendors, he said.

It will cost approximately $25 per computer to check them for compliance, but repairs vary by system as to which solutions are possible, said Scivetti.

All computers will be checked, decided the council.

Other business

- "City clean-up went well, except there were no dumpsters, so we had these huge piles of garbage," said Schmidt. City Administrator Christina Frankenfield will contact Mumford Sanitation to see what went wrong.

- Frankenfield requested help from the council to attend the community collaborative meetings. Schmidt volunteered to participate.

- Water and sewer connection fees for new structures will not increase until after the Highway 12 improvement projects are finished in order not to discourage new home buyers, who are already inconvenienced by the detours, said Custer.

- Approval was given to Public Works Supervisor Tom Goepfert to do what is necessary to put the toilets in the community center in good working order.

- A variance was approved for Harlan Zander to build a garage at 818 Haywood Drive.

- The cooperative construction agreement was approved for the park and ride lot being constructed behind the north side businesses on Highway 12.

- A resolution was adopted for a housing program providing for the issuance and sale of senior housing revenue bonds in the approximate amount of $1,500,000, relating to the Prairie Commons project to be constructed in the area of the Deer Run apartments.

- A request for a "children at play" sign and more traffic enforcement was approved for Haywood Drive.

- Political advertising will be allowed on the local cable access channel for a $10 fee. The ads will be a simple graphic.

- Frankenfield will contact local political candidates and organize a "meet the candidates forum" for Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. The location will be announced.

- The council agreed to allow the HLWW school task force to include a possible site for city offices in the old high school in their projected plans. It is not a commitment, said task force member Gerry Smith.

- An animal control impound contract was approved with the Associated Veterinary Clinic of Cokato for occasional use of its facilities for dangerous or possibly rabid animals, charged on a per-use basis.

- City hall will get an additional phone line to better serve the community.

- Shrubbery will be purchased on sale at Hummingbird Habitat nursery for the west side of city hall. It will be planted at a later date, said Frankenfield.

- The Truth in Taxation hearing has been changed to Monday, Dec. 14 with the alternate date, Monday, Dec. 21.


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