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

By Shawn Jansen
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Willow River considers allowing livestock within city limits


April 11, 2019

The city of Willow River will take up the issue of whether or not to allow the raising of livestock, specifically chickens, within city limits at its May meeting. A resident couple asked the council to consider the issue at its regular meeting Monday, April 1.

Per the city’s current ordinance, 10 acres is required for livestock.

The resident stated that residents can raise chickens in Sturgeon Lake and Askov, adding even Minneapolis allows the raising of six enclosed chickens with no roosters and proper upkeep.

One resident suggested the issue could be divided into large and small animal regulations.

The matter was tabled to be discussed in May.

Water, sewer issues

The city of Willow River will be adjusting water bills for those customers running thin streams to prevent freeze-ups. The city council approved making the adjustments based on average usage.

Water and sewer operator John Mikrot said the practice could be discontinued when the water temperature reaches 40 degrees, but he projected that would likely take the month of April.

“We had a wild month last month,” Mikrot said. He reported there had been four freeze-ups, and he had to repair two lift stations, one due to a freeze-up and one due to a stray bolt. He said he also used salt to melt ice clogging a storm drain.

Mikrot sought the council’s input on how to prevent access to the sewer ponds. It was reported someone went snowmobiling on the empty, abandoned pond by lifting the gates.

Councilor Vicki Whitehouse said the city is required by the state’s regulating agencies to prevent access to the ponds. The council directed Mikrot to try to secure the gates with chains.

Kevin Prachar from the Willow River School was back to report the school’s water usage over the last seven months. The school had paid one month last fall of water usage reported as 110,000 gallons. Prachar’s log showed average usage to be around 43,000 gallons. He said he has not repaired any leak, and the city determined the meter is working properly.

“I can’t tell you what happened,” Prachar said.

The city decided to follow precedent and credit the school for the overage in sewer cost for that bill, but there will be no credit for the water usage.

City employee

Councilor Sheldon Johnson said the city will need to address the issue of having no city employee to take care of a variety of tasks that come up such as taking care of the city park’s bathrooms, patching potholes, painting curbs, and hauling debris when the city park is raked.

One resident volunteered to open and close the park’s restrooms.

Whitehouse pointed out they were contracting out the mowing.

“It’s the little things,” said Johnson. The discussion about whether or not to hire a part-time employee was tabled to next month.

Other business

The city approved Eaton’s Lawn Care to take care of the city’s mowing needs.

The council approved an out-of-state travel policy that included reimbursement of the following: $8 breakfast, $12 lunch, $15 dinner, and reasonable and customary lodging costs.

Upcoming is a board of equalization meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 18, and a sale of city equipment beginning May 18.


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