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Water, sewer hookups for Menahga CSAH 21 residents to begin in spring
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news Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

CSAH 21 residents in Menahga will be hooked up to new water and sewer lines by Dec. 31, 2010.

The Menahga City Council met Monday morning and set the deadline for late next year, with billing starting January 2011.

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Water/sewer department supervisor Wayne Rost said it would be difficult to begin hooking up the homes this year because of possible freeze-ups. Setting the deadline for next year would give workers the opportunity to begin in the spring and work through fall.

The assessment hearing date for this infrastructure project was set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30 at city hall.

In other business, the council:

-Discussed Ruby's Pantry request to use the fire hall for surplus food distribution once every month.

After checking with the city's insurance company, the recommendation was to not use the fire hall for the event.

Joe Ingebrand, consultant with Berkley Risk Administrators Company, said in an e-mail to the city, "there would be a potential risk for the interruption in the delivery of fire protection services due to the rearranging and/or blocking of equipment."

It would also be difficult to secure equipment and prevent theft, he added. Those associated with the food distribution could be at risk of being injured by the moving equipment during a fire call.

But councilman Joel Mickelson, who wasn't present at Monday's meeting, sent an e-mail to the rest of the council explaining why it's unfortunate the city can't allow the use of the fire hall for that service.

"I am taking the position that this recommendation applies to ALL extracurricular use of the fire hall, and feel I should request a resolution forbidding the future use of the fire hall for any public event," he said in the e-mail.

The fire hall is sometimes used for public events such as the pancake breakfast recently held there.

"I also believe this is a true disservice to the citizens of our town, but we cannot assume that liability after receiving that opinion from loss control," Mickelson continued in his e-mail.

Councilwoman Maxine Norman agreed and added that there needs to be some sort of policy drafted and applied to all kinds of events held at the fire hall.

"I think it's a regrettable kind of thing," she said. "I'd like to see public buildings be used for public events."

The council will consult with the insurance company once more on liability associated with using the fire hall for other types of events and bring back the recommendation at the November meeting.

-Heard police chief Scott Koennicke's recommendation not to write administrative tickets because the profit wouldn't be that great after all fees are paid.

Administrative tickets are written for speeding 1 to 9 mph over the limit.

"I don't necessarily want my guys out there writing tickets for 5 miles per hour over," Koennicke said.

-Received a letter from Spirit Lake Association endorsing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources proposal to purchase and preserve undeveloped lakeshore at the southwest end of Spirit Lake.

-Agreed to get city attorney Jeff Pederson's opinion on reimbursing Blueberry Township for legal fees in the amount of $3,295.66.

In a letter to the city, Blueberry Township explained the reason it incurred the fees was "from the inability to receive satisfaction from the requests made to the city to address fire contract negotiations and paperwork requests."

According to the League of Minnesota Cities, expenditures of public funds must be made for a public purpose in order to be legal.

Norman said that relationships with public entities sure benefit the community and suggested contacting the attorney for an opinion.

-Made a motion to approve a newly drafted identity theft prevention program.

The program is intended to identify "red flags" that will alert city employees when new or existing utility accounts are opened using false information and how to protect against the establishment of false accounts. It also recommends methods to ensure existing accounts were not opened using false information and measures to respond to such events.

-Approved payment of the bills, however, councilwoman Kim Rasmussen asked if the council will be charged late fees for making payments almost a week late due to rescheduling last week's meeting because it lacked a quorum.

Deputy clerk Susie Larson said she had to pay liquor store bills before Monday's meeting otherwise shipments wouldn't have come in on time. But other services will charge late fees for not receiving payments on time.

-Made a motion to begin next month's council meeting at 6 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9.

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