Herald JournalHerald Journal, June 23, 2003

Winsted may get own cable channel

By Julie Yurek

Winsted, MN Signs
A Sign & Graphics Company
The City of Winsted is looking into the possibility of obtaining its own cable access channel and cable equipment after discussion at Tuesday's city council meeting.

The council directed staff to research the option. The city is one of three cities that is in partnership to provide local cable. The other two towns are Lester Prairie and Silver Lake.

The Winsted-Lester Prairie-Silver Lake cable commission has worked to improve the cities local access channel (LAC), however, LAC programming is limited to random public announcements and sporadic airings of community events due to outdated equipment and poor coordination among the three cities, said City Administrator Brent Mareck.

It is uncertain whether Winsted, Lester Prairie, or Silver Lake share similar views on the future of the cable commission and the LAC, he said.

The current balance of the cable fund is $50,274, which is franchise fees from Winsted and Lester Prairie. Silver Lake put all its dollars generated from franchise fees into its general fund, Mareck said.

Winsted's portion of the $50,274 is more than half because Winsted has more than half of the cable subscribers.

Airport hangar ­update on selling

The city also discussed the issue of selling the city's hangars at the Winsted Municipal Airport.

After much discussion, the council advised staff to obtain all the information that is needed for the city to sell the hangars if it chooses to.

Council members Bonnie Quast, Tom Ollig, and Tom Wiemiller all acknowledged that they would like to see the hangars sold, however, the hang-up seems to be in deciding how much they are worth.

The city owns two buildings at the airport. One is a T-hangar that has seven hangars in it and the other building currently has one renter with two airplanes.

The city sent letters to hangar renters informing them that the council and the Winsted Airport Commission has discussed the possibility of selling city owned hangars in order to avoid having to do future maintenance work and incur insurance costs associated with hangar rentals.

The airport fund currently has a negative balance of $31,192. Money from selling the hangars could restore a positive balance in the fund.

The hangars would be sold "as is."

Renters were encouraged to attend the airport commission meeting June 5, Tuesday's council meeting, or to contact Mareck.

The airport commission recommended that if the hangars aren't sold, that the rent be increased from $65 per month to $90 per month, Mareck said.

Recycling change

The council approved a request from Waste Management to increase recycling pickup to every other week effective in July.

The change will result in a 15 cent increase per month on the monthly utility bill.

For a 30-gallon container, the current price is $12.37 and will increase to $12.52. The price of a 60-gallon container will change from $13.21 to $13.37.

Waste Management's reasons for the change is to eliminate any two week gaps in the current schedule, and the new schedule should be easier for residents to follow.

Waste Management will notify residents of the change and send out revised calendars for the remaining months of this year and years proceeding, according to a letter from Sheldon Swenson, district sales manager of Waste Management.

2003 budget cuts

The council approved cuts to the 2003 budget totaling $106,360. The city will be cut $105,461 in 2003 and the same in 2004.

The budget cuts came from general revenue, recreation, the police department, civil defense, general government, and public works.

"Every department shares the pain," Ollig said.

Ollig was concerned that the proposed cuts didn't affect city services. Mareck reiterated that city services shouldn't be affected.

All-terrain vehicle ordinance discussed

The council addressed the issue of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use in city limits.

The current ordinance pertaining to recreational motorized vehicles in parks states that no recreational motorized vehicle is allowed in any park, with the exception of snowmobiles on designated routes.

The council is in favor of restricting ATV use on public property, but advised Mareck to find out what other communities have for ATV ordinances.

Ollig cited an example of allowing an ATV in restricted areas. At Winstock there was a request from a handicapped person who had a handicap license to use an ATV to get to and from the campground, he said. Because the person had the ATV handicapped licensed, the Winstock committee allowed it.

Other business

In other matters, the council:

· approved putting up signs at the basketball court that lights out are at 10 p.m. Neighbors have complained of noise and lights.

· adopted a resolution utilizing an interfund loan for tax increment financing district six.

· approved a lease agreement with T-Mobile for the use of the water tower at $500 per month with changes recommended by City Attorney Fran Eggert.

· accepted the resignation of Utility Clerk Kerri Jones. The council approved hiring Judy Ide as a temporary employee to fill in for Jones until a full-time employee can be hired.

· approved Damon Thompson as the full-time public works supervisor at a rate increase from $16.24 to $17.86 per hour.

· approved permits for Winsted Summer Festival, 3.2 liquor license for the Winsted Baseball Club, and an annual dance permit at the Blue Note of Winsted.

· sent out letters to bar owners that the council will be discussing later bar closing times at the July 1 meeting.

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