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Akeley First Responders, Fire District may finally merge


After months of discussion on whether the Eastern Hubbard County Fire District and First Response should merge, a consensus appears to be near.

The Akeley Council has joined the townships in recommending the fire department and First Responders become a single entity. The move would add approximately $14,500 for First Responders to the EHCFD’s $64,000 budget in 2014.

Township representatives on the EHCFD fire board last week agreed to review the changes and make a final decision.

Fire chief Lee Johnson said the matter has been bandied about for over a year, with some of the entities reversing positions on the matter.

Tim Scouton of Badoura Township said after the meeting Thursday that it appears the two will merge.

In other action, the council:

n Acknowledged no agreement has yet been reached on refurbishing the Paul Bunyan statue.

Akeley mayor Jerry Tatro said the Krotzer family, has “threatened John’s Body Shop with legal action,” the company contracted for the work, if they proceed with painting the statue.

The Krotzers, as creators, claim exclusive rights to contract for the statue’s renovation, when needed.

The matter will now go back to the League of Minnesota Cites and the city attorney, Tatro said.

n Commended maintenance supervisor Kelly VandenEykel for weed control at the sewer ponds.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen them as good as they are now,” Tatro told VandenEykel.

Council member Trygve Karl suggested inviting the public to view the ponds, drawing chuckles at the possible response to such an invitation.

Former maintenance supervisor Frank Thelin, “by mutual agreement,” agreed to resign earlier this summer.

n Reported the city’s Local Government Aid increased by $15,000 for 2014, at $64,598. This will be reflected in lower property taxes in the city.

n Reported year-to-date liquor store earnings of $27,725. The earnings were negative territory in July due to large purchases and a dram shop insurance payment, Lacey Hitchcock explained.

n Amended the city’s ordinance to reflect last month’s water and sewer rate increases, 3.5 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

The monthly charge for water is $25.17 per 4,000 gallons (formerly $23.50), plus $5.36 per 1,000 gallons over 4,000 (formerly $5).

The monthly charge for sewer services is $26.79 for residential and small business ($25.50). Large business is $45.07, $83.52 for the Laundromat and motel/ apartment complex, $35.93 for beauty shops, $65.24 for three-unit housing and $102.44 for four-unit housing.

n Tabled a decision on how to replenish the Community Fund, originally received from pull-tabs proceeds.

The fund was at $6,725 at the beginning of the year and is now at $3,796. The council agreed to address the issue at year’s end.