HJ-ED-DHJ

Jan. 15, 2007

Cokato looking for a new fire hall location

Committee is looking at four different locations for new hall

By Lynda Jensen
Editor

A new fire hall may be on Cokato’s horizon, as the city council approved the appraisal of a piece of land in town as a possible future site.

The old hall is deemed too small, commented Ken Bakke, who is a member of the fire department and also head of public works.

There are a total of four locations being looked at in relation to response time and location as well as cost, and whether the land was available.

There are eight people on the fire barn location committee, made up of citizens and past fire fighters: Lyle Severson, Ken Bakke, Jeff Carlson, Jim and John Erickson, Mark Dahlman, Russ Irving, and Bruce Johnson. Johnson emphasized that he was not acting as a Realtor on the committee and was not working in that capacity.

In an unrelated matter about fire department matters, the council also heard an annual summary from Fire Chief Mike Holmquist, who reported that calls nudged up for the year, although they were spread out over townships rather than concentrated in the city limits this time around.

The range of calls included car accidents, downed power cables, fire alarms, gas leaks, and various fires ranging from sheds on fire to tractors and chimneys, amongst many other emergencies.

Resident asks for ice

Larry Tormanen attended the council meeting, asking if the rink could be flooded for those who enjoy skating and hockey, despite the warm weather.

“I am here to encourage the city to provide this service,” he said.

The weather has been good for heating bills, observed Council Member Gordy Erickson. “But not for people who enjoy the outdoors,” he added.

It was decided to check out the situation, to see if ice would be feasible.

City, township talk about 53rd St. agreement

Relatively vague language in an agreement over the transfer of right of way for a portion of 53rd Street from the township to the city also caused discussion.

Dan Bravinder attended the council meeting on behalf of Cokato Township, asking about the delay.

The council wanted to know what the following sentence meant: “The town waives any decision-making authority it may have toward the street under Minnesota statutes section 164.14 or other law; however upon the request of the city and to the extent the town has exclusive authority to act in a particular situation, the town agrees to exercise its authority within its boundaries as needed to assist the city to correct potential hazards to the traveling public or to otherwise facilitate the city’s maintenance of the street.”

It was decided this merely referred to the right of way, but this was uncertain.

Bravinder asked if the language which pertained to “keeping the street open to public travel,” extended to farm use, since the township was wondering about this language.

The council affirmed yes, it does. “We all understand this is a rural community,” commented Ken Bakke of public works.

“We are in agreement that it’s not in agreement,” commented Council Member Butch Amundson.

The city attorney will review the document on the city’s workshop 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 29. Bravinder said he would make a point of being around at that time, and the council noted that he could ask the attorney questions, if necessary.

Committee assignments

The council made its annual committee assignments, with the following: acting mayor, Jan Severson; administrative/fire commission, Johnson; personnel committee, Gordy Erickson and Johnson; community development division/museum, Severson; planning and zoning, Severson; community services/park board, Gordy Erickson; public health/safety and police commission, Wayne Murphy; public works division, Butch Amundsen.

The following were appointed for the park board: Erickson, Joe Harmala, Tim Dobmeier, Deb Loe, and Dennis Hendrickson.

Odds and ends

In other matters, the council:

• heard a feasibility study report from Ted Field of Bonestroo, Rosene, Anderlik and Associates about the load capacity of the city’s sanitary sewer system. The city is looking at estimates of how to expand the system down the road, as well as examining who are major contributors, mainly the school, Forsman Farms, and Faribault Foods.

• removed Don Levens from the personnel committee due to conflict of interest. He will continue to be available as a consultant for questions, but not listed as an official committee member.

• noted that the library is observing its 80th anniversary and will have an open house from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16.

• approved lighting for the Tower Center Mall parking lot not to exceed $2,500. The parking lot is owned by the city. On the subject of lighting, Murphy noted that the council should review its lighting overall. “We should check the city limits,” he said. “They don’t have enough lights at Field Crest.”

• noted that the county plans to do its own sweeping along Wright County Road 3 and Wright County Road 53. Currently, the city does regular sweeping of the roads. The county plans a one-time sweep in the spring, which will be cheaper. Previously, the county used to reimburse the city for this work.

• tabled payment of an invoice for testing of Wright County Road 3 improvements in the amount of $1,525. The city is supposed to be reimbursed at a later date for the testing, if and when it pays the bill.

• approved membership to the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, which is represented by Nancy Larson of Dassel. This year, the amount is half off, or $2,000.

• noted that the yellow traffic signals for Wright County Road 3 are not operational yet because Xcel hasn’t been there to hook up a meter.

• quizzed Levens about when the city codes would be reviewed to be re-codified to bring old codes up to modern standards. This will be planned for the near future.


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