Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

Willow River audit clean


Matt Moline of Eide Bailly reported to the Willow River City Council Monday, May 4, the city had a clean audit.

Eide Bailly did find that two bonds pledged as collateral by the bank were not rated high enough by Standard and Poor’s Rating Services (S & P) and so they contacted the bank. Moline also cautioned the city when dealing with donations from gambling organizations with the LG555 form, advising the city deal with them on a case by case basis.

“Connie does a great job as far as backup documentation,” Moline said, and added thanks to Connie Ecklund, clerk, and Kathi Bennett, water and sewer clerk.

The audit report was approved by the council.

Fire department update

Fire Chief Gerard Bennett reported four additional fire personnel have been trained in driving fire trucks. He reported the department responded to its first grass fire at the Squirrel Cage recently, and said the department rescued a horse Sunday with a lot of help and teamwork.

Regarding the department’s budget, Bennett said, “We’re saving money to make it easier on the taxpayer.” The last two years the department has not spent all of its budget. Last month the council approved putting $16,000 in savings for the department.

City councilor Sheldon Johnson said, “Put the extra into a CD. Let’s take that money and make money with it so it helps you in the future.”

Bennett said, “I don’t want to disappoint the volunteers.”

“Nor do we,” said Johnson.

Water, sewer update

Water and sewer operator John Mikrot reported that one hydrant is operable but needs repair as it will not shut off correctly.

He said, because of the infrequency of this type of repair, he seeks assistance to make sure it is done properly.

Mikrot also reported the chemical applied to absorb phosphorus in the sewer ponds binds with it and then settles to the bottom of the ponds. Eventually, the ponds will need to be dredged, a future cost for which the city should begin to budget.

Lastly, Mikrot reported his license has been renewed and Becky Morse is now licensed as a water operator. She continues to work on the sewer operator licensure.

City worker report

City worker Todd Anderson reported making improvements at the city park, including painting over graffiti, painting doors and trim, installing a sign and grinding stumps. The city council asked Anderson to figure out a price for which the old pumps and motors for the water/sewer system could be sold as the city can no longer use them.

Other business

Councilor Vickie Whitehouse reported the city should receive soon 90 percent of the remaining Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursement for the June 2012 flood damage repairs, with the remaining 10 percent to be sent later. She said the city had to resubmit documentation due to the turnover in FEMA staff.

The council approved an agreement in which the school can use the ball fields through June 30, 2017. Councilors discussed the possibility of building new ball fields on flood plain property the city acquired through the flood buyout program.


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