By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Elm traffic to remain as it is now

 


The one-way traffic on Elm Avenue between Third and Fourth Streets will remain the same as it has been, it was decided at the Moose Lake City Council at the monthly meeting on Wednesday, July 11.

“Out of the 886 votes on Facebook, 52 percent of the people voted to keep the one way the way it is,” said City Administrator Tim Peterson. “My point is that it wasn’t overwhelming about going one way or another. My recommendation is to leave it the way it is.”

The council passed a motion to have the street seal coated and paint the striping the same as it has been.

Friends of Animals in Cloquet is closing, reported Peterson to the council. He said several cities have met with the city of Cloquet and will be able to use 10 kennels that have been set up at a public works facility in Cloquet as a shelter for stray animals.

Police Chief Bryce Bogenholm reported at an earlier meeting that stray dogs and cats that have been picked up the police in Moose Lake are usually claimed after photos of them are posted on Facebook. They usually have one or two a year that are not claimed and have to be taken to a shelter.


Doug Host of the auditing firm of Clifton Larson Allen presented the audit report to the council.

“Overall, there were no items of significant deficiencies,” he said. “There are a couple of adjustments but not many.”

He had high praise for city staff in preparing the materials for the audit.

“The financial statements were materially correct as presented,” said Host. “We got great cooperation from your staff this year. In a city your size it is rare to have all of the ducks in a row.”

Host said the audit indicates a strong financial position for the city.

He found that the Department of Motor Vehicles, where licenses are renewed and issued, is losing money.

“The revenues are less than the expenses due to the new computer program,” he added.

Peterson said the city does not set the fees, and that the city has almost no control over that department. Those are set by the state.

There was discussion about the number of hours that the police department has to respond to calls and conduct investigation at the state institutions.

Bogenholm said, “There is a lot of overtime with the investigations. Something has to change with the prison and the MSOP. They don’t pay for our time.”

Councilor Kris Huso suggested a bill be sent if there are more than four or five hours spent per month.

Mayor Ted Shaw, who is a director on the Moose Lake Area Fire Protection District board, reported the fire department can charge an hourly rate for calls.

Huso repeated her suggestion to send a bill and see what kind of a response is received.

The city had received a report from the city engineers, SEH, that the sewage treatment ponds are at 87 percent capacity.

There were several options to increase capacity, reported Peterson. One option is to reduce the amount of inflow and infiltration water coming into the sewage system. Replacing old cracked sewage pipes would be one way to reduce inflow and infiltration.


Another option would be to dredge the bottoms of the ponds to remove sludge.

Another is to build more ponds to add to the eleven ponds already in existence.

Another is to have aerators on the ponds.

“Will we have to expand the number of ponds in the future?” Peterson asked. “The answer is yes.”

Shaw pointed out that three ponds were going to be added to the other ponds some years back but then the state pulled out.

“In 2012 the state said that they probably would not ever approve ponds again, that the city would have to go to a mechanical sewage treatment system. The estimate at that time was $12 million for the mechanical system.”

The proposed expansion of businesses and housing on the school property could increase the need to future capacity, said Peterson.

“A gas station wouldn’t use much water but a motel uses a huge amount of water,” he added as an example of water usage per business.

The report was information only; no decision was made.

The council considered the request by a citizen about paving Third Street on Soo Hill. The street is on a downhill slope and has washed out once again during heavy rains. Residents along the street are not able to get into their driveways, Peterson said.

“This is something that we want to look at for next year,” he added. “We will have the engineer get cost estimates. The street is a half block long. We could use the proceeds from the sales tax on the road.”

“When people can’t get out of their driveways, that raises the project on the priority list,” added Shaw.

In other business, the council passed a resolution to approve a $1 million bond for the Moose Lake Water and Light Commission for the new electrical generator.

The next meeting of the council was set for Wednesday, August 8, at 4 p.m.

 

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