February 14, 2013 | Volume 118, Issue No. 7

Sturgeon Lake to take part in flood buyout

A joint resolution between Pine County and the city of Sturgeon Lake was passed by the Sturgeon Lake City Council February 7, acknowledging property ownership acquired through the flood mitigation program. The city agrees to take care of any June 2012 flash flood buyout properties within the boundaries of the city. The buyout is voluntary on the part of the landowner.

The properties are not suitable for rebuilding and would be placed into public ownership. The city would be able to dedicate and maintain the properties as open space for the conservation of natural floodplain functions for uses such as parks or outdoor recreational activities, wetland management, nature preserves, cultivation, grazing, unpaved parking lots, camping (except where adequate warning time is not available to allow evacuation) and other uses consistent with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidance for open space.

According to the Pine County Hazard Mitigation Plan Amendment, 75 homeowners in Pine County have indicated interest in having their flood-damaged homes bought out. The homeowners were asked to apply for this program if they thought there was even a remote possibility they were interested. A homeowner can refuse a buyout right up to cashing the check.

Scott Helfman, water and sewer operator, took classes on grinder pumps near the end of January. Helfman brought back insulation rings from the training that would help with prevention of freezing of the pumps not in continuous use, such as those in churches and seasonal homes. Helfman reported they can be purchased for about $15 each and easily installed.

He also reported that a one-inch pipe had broken off under a mobile home in the city. It was on private property and not caused by the city water system. Helfman had a difficult time thawing out the curb-stop to shut off the water from the city until he used a hot charcoal bed on the surface.

Beth Cisar, city clerk, announced that Rutledge Community Center will host a regional northern Pine County property tax meeting 3-5 p.m. on April 18. This meeting is for property tax questions once statements have been delivered. Those who cannot attend the meeting in Rutledge can still go to the main county office in Pine City with questions.

The updating and preparation of ordinances dealing with subdivisions, land use and building standards including a comprehensive plan, sign ordinance and shore land management ordinance is set to begin within two weeks.

It was reported McGladrey & Pullen, an audit firm, will start the 2012 Sturgeon Lake city audit April 1.

City resident Dody Ockwig questioned who is responsible for dealing with frozen culverts. The Ockwigs have a culvert at the end of their driveway that would need to be steamed out before spring to avoid repeat flooding in their basement.

Mayor Thomas Helfman told her it is a county road and she will need to contact the county soon before any major thawing begins. Mayor Helfman asked that the city be notified, too, if a problem persists with the culvert. The mayor felt the county should be able to mark and possibly modify the culvert that is currently being snow-packed by snowmobiles running over it.

The next scheduled city council meeting is 7 p.m. April 4.

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