By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN Although the color and delivery date still need to be determined, it looks like Winsted’s newest squad car will be a 2013 Ford Explorer.
The Winsted City Council gave Police Chief Mike Henrich approval at its Tuesday meeting to purchase the new Explorer to replace the 2005 Ford Crown Victoria squad car which has more than 140,000 miles on it.
Originally, the 2005 Ford Crown Victoria was to be replaced in 2011, but the replacement was delayed a year due to the uncertain economy requiring several budget cuts.
Henrich has been researching possible vehicles for the department and narrowed his search to a 2013 Ford Taurus all-wheel drive Interceptor, and a 2013 Ford Explorer four-door, four-wheel drive.
Quotes for both models, after discounts and trade (2005 Crown Victoria trade-in value was $2,500), were requested from Waconia Ford, Holt Motors of Cokato, and Jay Malone Motors of Hutchinson.
Waconia Ford’s quote was slightly higher than Holt Motors on both vehicles. Jay Malone did not submit a quote.
Both vehicles have a three-year, 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, and a five-year 60,000-mile power train warranty. The price of the Explorer was about $1,000 less than the Taurus.
Henrich told the council he prefers the Explorer for several reasons, but mainly because it has better clearance for response during winter weather events.
“I want one vehicle that I can get around with in the winter months,” Henrich said. “I am not saying I want a fleet of SUVs, but I would like one because during the winter months our cars do get stuck.”
The Explorer is to be ordered from Holt Motors in Cokato at a price not to exceed $42,000. The price includes $12,450 in equipment.
The squad car expense, which was planned for in the 2012 budget, will be paid for out of the capital equipment fund used for both the police and public works departments.
The capital equipment fund balance was $102,000 at the end of 2011, and there is to be an installment in this year’s budget of $150,000, City Administrator Brad Martens told the council.
Abatement notice at 171 McLeod Ave. West
An abatement notice for Sandra Hecker, owner of the property at 171 McLeod Avenue West, was approved by the council, requiring her to appear at its next meeting, Tuesday, June 19.
At that time, the council will determine what action should be taken in regards to Hecker’s home, which was damaged in a fire Aug. 5, 2011.
Soon after the fire, city staff had attempted to contact and work with Hecker to resolve the issue by setting deadlines for action needed. To date, all deadlines have passed.
The staff is currently following the process for abatement approval outlined by the city attorney.
Private drain repair on Kingsley Street
Glenn and Betty Diers, property owners at 410 Kingsley St. S., contacted the city staff May 21 in regard to a private drain that has not worked since the Kingsley Lift Station work was completed.
Initially, the staff told the Diers that the pipe was not affected by the lift station work, Martens said.
The Diers then hired Litzau Excavating to televise the line, and found that the construction work on the lift station had, in fact, damaged the pipe.
The cost to repair the pipe is estimated to be $5,000 to $10,000, and is not in the city budget.
The council agreed to hire Litzau, as recommended by Martens, to repair the pipe on Kingsley St. from curb to curb, because Litzau is knowledgeable about the existing conditions.
The staff will continue to seek reimbursement from the contractor who performed the work on the Kingsley Lift Station.
Liquor ordinance amendment
The council approved two amendments to the city’s liquor ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting.
The first was to permit establishments with “limited food” to be able to obtain a Sunday liquor license. Previously, it only allowed restaurants to qualify.
The second amendment requires caterers to obtain a license from the city to cater an event.
Martens said the reason for the amendment is that the city cannot take any action on any violations that may occur, or limit the amount of time the caterers can remain in the city, without the provision in its liquor ordinance requiring the license.
“Someone can come in (to Winsted) with a food truck and sell liquor the entire summer, taking away business from our existing liquor establishments that pay taxes,” Martens said.
New park entrance signs to be installed
New park entrance signs will be in place in Winsted’s parks in time for the August 125th city anniversary celebration because of the efforts of Council Member Bonnie Quast, according to Martens.
When the park commission began the process to replace the park signs, Quast suggested to the commission that the signs be made out of stainless steel, similar to the city’s entrance signs, to highlight the manufacturing community.
She then successfully began working with local businesses to see the project through.
Martens credited Quast with volunteering many hours of her time to the project, which made the park signs affordable and will allow enough time to have the them put in place for the city’s upcoming anniversary celebration.
“I think they (the signs) will be gorgeous-looking,” Martens said. “I don’t know of another park system that will have better-looking signs, and the cost is incredible.”
Millerbernd Systems agreed to design and build eight park signs at a cost of $4,500. Herald Journal’s cost to overlay the park name on the individual signs is $1,000.
Quast secured donations from businesses in the amount of $3,250, so the remainder of the funding ($2,250) will be taken out of the park improvement budget.
Individual donors will be recognized at a future meeting, Martens said.