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Cokato to purchase Trailstone tax-forfeited lots
Aug. 24, 2015

Jennifer Kotila
Staff Writer

COKATO, MN – Purchasing the tax-forfeited Trailstone lots at a minimal cost from Wright County was approved Aug. 17 by Cokato City Council.

As discussed at previous council meetings, there are 18 parcels of the Trailstone property, located east of US Highway 12 and south of 53rd Street Northwest, that have been forfeited to the state due to non-payment of taxes.

Wright County currently has control over the parcels of land, and can sell them at auction to the highest bidder.

However, the city can request that the county withhold the parcels from sale so it can evaluate whether to acquire them for public use or public purpose.

According to the city attorney, Cokato had three options:

• to allow the tax-forfeited properties to be sold at public auction;

• to acquire one or more of the properties for public use, such as a fire hall, a park, or a public works building; or,

• to acquire the land for public purpose, such as selling the land to a developer.

The county has agreed to sell the tax-forfeited lots to the city for $1 per lot, plus administrative costs, which Cokato City Administrator Annita Smythe estimated may be about $10 per lot.

Citizens ask city to address problems

The council was asked to consider several problems faced by local residents at the council meeting.

The first issue brought to the council’s attention was damage caused by hockey pucks that leave the ice skating rink at Mooers Park, causing damage to nearby property.

The owner of the property told Smythe that pucks hit their house and vehicles, and cars parking at the rink have hit the fence, all causing damage.

The property owner would like the city to do something different with the hockey rink, and would prefer it be moved out of Mooers Park, Smythe told the council.

Although the park commission has discussed the complaints briefly, it has not concluded anything should be done with the rink, noted council and park commissioner member Carl Harju.

Smythe noted the League of Minnesota City’s loss control visited the hockey rink, making some suggestions to the city regarding the issue.

One suggestion was to better tie down the netting meant to keep pucks inside the rink.

Another suggestion was to re-configure the rink so pucks are less likely to fly in the direction of the property being affected. However, there does not seem to be enough space at the park for that to become a reality.

Council Member Paul Boger noted that if pucks are being shot so hard as to fly across the smaller rink and onto the property being affected, this is also a safety issue for kids skating on that rink.

The council decided to send the issue to the park commission to discuss and come up with solutions.

The second issue addressed by the council is additional lighting at Fifth Street and Johnson Avenue.

Smythe informed the council Xcel Energy could install lights on existing light poles at a minimal cost, and the cost for electricity and maintenance would be $9.44 per month.

However, there are not existing poles in the area on which to install lights. City Engineer Josh Halvorson of Bolton and Menk estimated it would cost the city approximately $2,600 per light to install new poles with lights.

The council directed city staff to seek estimates for additional lighting, and the issue will be discussed at the next meeting.

Finally, resident Chris Korsbon addressed the council regarding stormwater that is shooting three to four feet out of a stormwater pipe near his home on Second Street East, washing away portions of his driveway and flowing through his garage.

Korsbon moved into the residence within the last few years, tearing down the existing house and building a new house himself.

He noted his neighbor informed him that water flowing out of the storm sewer and across that property has been an issue at the residence for more than 20 years.

Harju noted that the city has known about the issue, and it hoped that the Lee Avenue project would fix the problem.

Public Works Director Jeff DeGrote added that the storm sewer pipe along Second Street East is too flat, which is why the problem is occurring.

Halvorson suggested creating a berm about one foot tall around the catch basin to keep the water flowing down the street rather than through the residents property.

City staff was instructed to work with Korsbon to solve the problem.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• adopted a resolution splitting outlot A in the Fieldcrest Second Addition into multiple parcels so each piece can be combined with the adjacent lot, as requested by Kensington Bank, which owns the lots.

• adopted a resolution regarding the repayment of interfund loans from the Cowgirl Tuff project.

• approved the renewal of the public safety contract with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

• discussed the possible implementation of electronic city council packets, as opposed to paper packets.

• approved a solicitor’s license for Denise Cartier of Edward Jones.

• scheduled a budget workshop for Thursday, Sept. 3 at 6 p.m.

• approved the final pay voucher of $6,000 for the US Highway 12 ramp.

• approved the purchase of new banners for street posts, as well as cleaning up around the city signs at each end of town.

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