Herald JournalHerald Journal, Mar. 22, 2004

Talk about Terning Trails east of town, two split votes characterize HL council

By Jody Anderson

A lengthy discussion about the proposed Terning Trails development prevailed at the Howard Lake city council meeting, along with remodeling and liquor store issues Wednesday.

Terning Trails is planned for east of Howard Lake (see map). The preliminary plat for the project was tabled, but not before talking about trails and sidewalks at length.

The council talked about the merits of an asphalt trail outside the development, as well as sidewalks inside and a trail outside the project.

The original project was designed by the developer with a trail system inside the development, which he felt would be more marketable.

All council members offered varying opinions as to the desirability of a sidewalk and a trail; Council Member Tom Kutz suggested shrubbery for screening it.

Project Manager Victor Pacheco of Suburban Land Company voiced concerns about the cost of a cement sidewalk and shrubbery, which had not been included in the original plans. Various combinations and locations were explored, without reaching a consensus.

The request was tabled until a workshop set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 30.

Two split votes

Two motions were carried by a 4-1 split decision; a donation of $100 to the After Prom Party Committee, and a proposal from Hay Dobbs for the contract administration of the new city office building, formerly the Security State Bank building.

In both cases, Council Member Terry Ostgulen voted against the motions.

The After Prom Party Committee requested a donation from the council, citing examples from neighboring cities. Ostgulen cautioned the council that they “couldn’t give $100 to every association that asked for it.”

The rest of the council and administration disagreed, stating that the party promoted the students’ safety.

“These young people are citizens of Howard Lake,” commented Council Member Shelly Reddemann.

Council Member Rick Lammers requested that the donation be added to the yearly budget.

Gary Hay of Hay Dobbs presented a second proposal for remodeling the future city office building, related to the contract administration of the project.

The original proposal was $17,280, but this number was revised to about $19,000, City Administrator Kelly Bahn said.

The new proposal offers fewer site visits, with a target fee of $4,000, but a possible maximum fee of $17,280, depending upon the number of visits needed.

Ostgulen questioned the need for a contract administrator; “If the contractor does his job, why do we need this?” he asked.

Mayor Gerry Smith and Bahn wholeheartedly supported the proposal. “We don’t have the expertise to supervise this project,” Bahn said.

Department reports

Reports by various departments were also given at the meeting:

Building Inspector Rob Beckfeld gave a preliminary report pertaining to the proposed liquor store expansion. He pronounced the structure stable, but informed council that, depending upon building codes, new sprinklers or a fire barrier would be required in the Howard Lake City Hall building.

Liquor store manager Ruth Voight gave her monthly report and requested authorization to look into shirts for the store employees, which was approved.

Police Chief Lenny Keyes rendered his monthly police report, and fielded questions about traffic on Highway 12 by council and citizens.

He affirmed that traffic had increased “tenfold” on the highway, but it was designed to handle even more. Upon a complaint by Ronald Babatz concerning people using the left turn lane to pass slower vehicles, he confirmed that the police department is aware of the problem and was actively issuing tickets to those violating the proper use of the left turn lanes.

‘Don’t sell,’ group says

During citizens’ input Sherrin Houtman of the Howard Lake Friends of the Library urged council to reconsider the sale of the lot adjacent to the library building.

“The library is too small and needs to expand,” she explained, “Give us a chance to get some support.”

Mayor Smith requested that Houtman ask the library personnel to get in touch with the council.

In a related item, Dan Fogarty proposed that the council consider putting the library lot and clinic property up for auction, instead of advertising for bids in local papers.

Council stated that the matter would be taken under consideration.

Odds and ends

In other subjects, the council heard two business proposals.

Michael McNabb of Hydro Metering Technology of Burnsville and Jim Henry of Henry and Associates of Sauk Rapids presented an automated radio-meter system for future meter installation in the city and for replacing old meters.

After some conversation, council advised them the matter would be taken under consideration.

Bahn informed the council that she investigated the possibility of going wireless in the new city hall for radio and data needs, and that from a security and financial standpoint, the proposal was not feasible.

In other business, the council:

• approved a request by Ronald Babatz for a variance to allow the construction of a two-car garage at 517 12th Street.

• gave support to the Mayors’ Association in an effort to encourage a better relationship between Wright County and Wright County cities.

Bahn noted that although the city did not have any specific issues at the moment, many area cities are struggling with city/county relations.

Two-thirds of the county population now live in the cities, Bahn said, although the county continues to focus on agricultural issues.

• approved of the low voltage wiring bid made by Beacon Communications of Bloomington for $4,051 for the city office building remodeling project.

• approved of the security system bid made by Sentry Systems Inc., of White Bear Lake for $874 for the city office building remodeling project.

• approved of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school district lease renewal for Memorial Park at $1,000 a year, which is the usual amount.

• approved a revised assistant liquor store manager job description, which will likely be filled internally since the assistant recently quit.

• approved a request to increase starting wage of part-time liquor store employees from $7 to $7.25 per hour.

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