September 17, 2007

Cokato has split vote on temporary liquor license for Nelson's street dance

Too many, too soon for street dances, some council members say

By Lynda Jensen

A one-day temporary license for a street dance to be hosted by Nelson’s Bar & Grill was narrowly approved by the Cokato City Council at its meeting last Monday.

The council split its vote after hearing from two residents and talking about the subject of street dances in general.

Two residents came forward to object to the dance, Virgil Morris and Paul Raisanen.

Morris recounted the number of DWIs and underage consumption printed in the Enterprise every week (which include offenses across Wright County, and not just Cokato). “Why would the council be supportive of this?” he asked.

“I’ve seen bad results of liquor all my life,” Raisanen said. “Gentlemen, handle it wisely.”

Discussion followed, where council members Jan Severson and Butch Amundsen expressed misgivings about street dances in general, saying it was too often and too soon since the last street dance approved for Nelson’s during the Cokato Corn Carnival.

Administrator Don Levens noted that the last dance went smoothly, with no problems.

In the end, the vote was 3-2 with Council Members Gordy Erickson and Wayne Murphy, as well as Mayor Bruce Johnson in favor, and Amundsen and Severson opposed.

The dance is for “Customer Appreciation Day” and will be Saturday, Sept. 29 from 4 p.m. to midnight, and will be located on the portion of street between West Third Street and Millard Ave./Second St.

The area will be fenced as necessary per state regulations and patrons will be carded and wear wristbands.

As before, the dance will offer a band, burgers, and beer only outside, with hard alcohol available only inside.

Owner Corey Nelson also requested the use of electricity from a nearby street light for a fee. This was approved for a fee of “up to $100.”

Chickens in town – but not ‘at large’

The council also heard from resident Bruce Telecky, who keeps chickens at 575 Seventh St. inside the city limits.

Previously, council members tusseled with Telecky over keeping chickens in town. More recently, a sheriff’s deputy was sent to Telecky’s residence to discuss the fowl.

However, when the exact language of the city ordinance was analyzed, it was discovered that the wording pertained to chickens that were “at large,” that is, chickens that are not under individual, direct control of the owner.

Since Telecky keeps 30 prize winning Bantam chickens that are located in individual cages, and not at large, it was deemed that he is in accordance with the city ordinance.

Telecky is a board member of the Rainbow Sportsmen’s Club.

ATVs in town

The council also heard from unhappy residents about ATVs in town.

Residents Jason Schmidt and Donna Holm both asked the council to consider adopting an ordinance for ATVs that would be similar to that for snowmobiles, restricting the movement of ATV traffic in city limits.

A nearby property owner illegally allows underage children to use ATVs, driving on private property.

The council decided to start the process for this.

Formation of an EDA?

The council also discussed the merits of forming an Economic Development Association (EDA), which would be appointed by the council.

To this end, Dean Perry, the new president of the State Bank, attended the council meeting to discuss the idea.

The EDA will be different than the existing CDC, in that the EDA will answer to the council, where the CDC does not. The CDC is also a for profit agencyit was noted.

The EDA’s purpose will be to aggressively pursue development and redevelopment. This would include retaining existing business and attracting new.

There will be a special meeting to discuss formation of the EDA 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15 at city hall.

Levy goes up 18.2 percent

The council also adopted its preliminary budget for 2008, which included an 18.2 percent increase from last year’s levy.

The increase is mainly due to the road upgrades done along Broadway (about $100,000), and to additional cuts in Local Government Aid (LGA) by the state, amounting to $31,000 cut this year (cuts made last year were $81,000).

The city was poised to receive additional LGA money this year, but it was vetoed by the governor for other reasons that were contained in the package.

The preliminary levy for 2008 will be $1,006,488. Last year’s levy was $823,149.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• approved a lot split for Carl Harju at 185 Jackson Ave. to allow his land assembly in support of a new house addition.

• approved a solution for storm sewer repair for the Klarsyn Area. Storm water has been flooding some residents in that vicinity, with water ponding across driveways, etc.

The council previously attempted to solve the issue with a different option, but instead ended up ordering the water to be routed southward, tying the storm water runoff into the creek.

The problem was complicated in that the size of pipes involved were not conducive to the original solution, amongst other engineering questions.

Work will not take place this year due to the required number of permits needed. In addition, the city needs to consult with Soil and Water to determine if a section of land is deemed a wetland.

• noted that State Sen. Steve Dille was given the Legislator of Distinction honor by the League of Minnesota Cities.

• set its truth and taxation public hearing for 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3. If necessary, it will be continued to Monday, Dec. 10.

• tabled quotes for a new truck and plow from Cokato Motors and Holt Motors because the quote from Cokato was hard to discern as far as what the trade in value was for the old truck.

• approved the annual agreement for salt and sand with Wright County, with sand being $29.95 per ton and salt being $48.93 per ton (both delivered).

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