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The Hubbard County Food Shelf is in the process of moving to 308 Pleasant Avenue and asked the city of Park Rapids to continue waiving utility charges. The council decided it could no longer continue the practice because other nonprofits don't receive the same courtesy. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Food shelf will no longer receive free water, sewer

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news Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

The Park Rapids City Council will no longer continue waiving utility charges for the Hubbard County Food Shelf.

The food shelf is in the process of moving from 706 East Third Street to 308 Pleasant Avenue. The city had provided free water and sewer to the entity since 1990, according to city records.

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In a letter from food shelf director Dave Long, he asked the city to consider extending the same courtesy to the new location.

"We hope to finalize our move by the end of April and putting our current location on the market at that time," the letter said.

Councilwoman Sue Tomte said she wondered if the city provided the same courtesy to other tax exempt nonprofits.

City administrator Bill Smith said the city doesn't provide sewer and water to others as far as he knew.

"My concern is, what about others?" she said. "... we need to be consistent."

Mayor Nancy Carroll agreed with needing to be consistent.

Councilman Dave Konshok said he thought the city should continue providing the utilities for the food shelf. He made a motion but it failed 1-2, with Tomte and Carroll dissenting. Councilmembers Pat Mikesh and Paul Utke were absent.

The total utility fees for the food shelf in the last year were about $200.

In other business, the council:

n Agreed to send a letter to the Henrietta Township Board saying that the city reviewed the joint Henrietta / City of Park Rapids Orderly Annexation Agreement and does not want to make any changes.

The council met with the township board in March. At that time, the township asked the city to consider not moving forward with the annexation according to the schedule because the anticipated economic growth hadn't occurred.

After seeking a legal opinion, attorneys advised the city that it could begin the annexation process any time after the trigger date, which is January 2012, but not after the expiration of the agreement.

Discovery Circle properties are scheduled to be annexed into the city for utilities in 2012. Several water and sewer issues have been occurring in that area and the council said it wanted to proceed with the annexation.

The agreement took considerable time and effort to put together, Carroll said, and she said it's a good plan. Tomte and Konshok agreed and said they wanted to stick with the agreement.

n Approved a bid from KL Concrete for sidewalk and patio improvements in Lindquist Park.

Park Board members and city staff have worked with members of the community about adding improvements to the park. Funding has been secured from the Parkland Dedication Fund and St. Joseph's Area Health Services. The money will cover the cost of the concrete work, benches and picnic tables. Bike racks will be added as well.

n Approved reimbursing Scott Stewart for expenses associated with a frozen water line in the amount of $440.

Approved reducing the sewer portion of the water and sewer bill for St. Johns Lutheran Church for a water leak outside the church that didn't go down the city sewer. The city has done this for other property owners with similar circumstances.

n Proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the city of Park Rapids.

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