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

By Bethany Helwig
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Report on water system and items for sale at Willow River city council meeting


The Willow River City Council meeting opened with a comment from Councilor Vickie Whitehouse that the alarm at the lift station was currently going off. John Mikrot, water and sewer operator, quickly gave his report. The top of the water tower had frozen at one point but the issue has since been resolved. He believed the system should be fine for the remainder of winter. He mentioned the possibility of getting a mixer as had been recommended to him to resolve freezing in the tower and would have more details at the next meeting. In addition, he believed he located a suitable metal band that could be filled with dirt to insulate the lift station. He requested permission to purchase a new chlorine injector for the water plant and a motion was passed. He then left to check on the alarm at the lift station.

City Clerk Diane Nelson presented options for selling pieces of equipment on behalf of the City: by sealed bid, local auction, or through MinnBid, an online service offered by the Department of Administration Surplus for municipalities. The council decided to have an auction for the items of lesser value, possibly in May, but would like to put the front end loader would be put up on MinnBid due to it’s value (over $25,000). They decided to table the issue until further details could be gathered on using MinnBid.

Councilor Vickie Whitehouse updated the council on the dam repairs that are expected to occur in August. They are currently looking for an engineer and will potentially need access easements from adjacent landowners in order to conduct the repairs.

Councilor Whitehouse also reported that the DNR informed the city they need to move a fence because it’s on their property. In addition, the DNR plans on having a timber sale and thinning that area over the next three years.

Clerk Nelson reported she’s been working with the DNR regarding ownership of the parking lot next to the city park. The council suggested having the city attorney check through the documents of the previous agreement involving the park to clarify who owns the parking lot.

The DNR had also contacted the city about the possibility of allowing ATV use in the Chipmunk Park and wanting to setup a community informational meeting to discuss potential issues that would cause. Grants might be offered to help the city maintain the road to the park if ATVs end up being allowed. More details will be forthcoming in the future.

Willow River Fire Chief Gerard Bennett gave his report for the fire department, which had 17 medical and two fire runs since the last meeting. The six new pagers they had received were now online and the department had gotten their own programmer which will save them money in the long run so they don’t have to hire out to program their systems. The new compressor fill station is also now up and running. Bennett said he was also looking into new grants for a radio upgrade. Several people are currently in training. Bennett commented it’s good having new people coming on and taking interest.

In other business, a request for bids on lawn mowing services will be published soon for three weeks with a deadline of April 1, 2019.

The council decided to pay the election judges in one sum at the end of special election, as opposed to separately after the primary and then again after the general election.

City Clerk Diane Nelson will draft up a proposed policy for traveling out of state on business, which is required by the State.

The council agreed to participate in National Night Out again this year.

Bills have been sent out for water and sewer along with 17 shut-off notices.

They are continuing to look into the hydrant usage issue.

A motion was passed agreeing to the terms of the assessment agreement with Pine County.

The council passed a motion to add Councilor Whitehouse as an authorized user of surplus services.

The Board of Equalization meeting is scheduled for April 18, 2019 at 6 pm.

The next regular city council meeting will be held on April 1, 2019 at 7 pm at the Willow River City Hall.


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