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

By Bethany Helwig
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Willow River discusses low funds


City Clerk Diane Nelson cautioned the city council that funds are low in the city’s checking account at Willow River’s regular meeting on May 6. “Our checking account is taking a hit,” she stated. “We’re going to have this interim spot where we’re going to be cutting it close.”

The city has not received grant monies they were hoping to receive earlier, and while there is still some money coming from Homeland Security, that is nearly paid out in full. Councilor Vickie Whitehouse elaborated that there have been several delays in the city being able to apply for specific grant money due to new staffing and miscommunications at the state level. She added they are ready to apply as soon as they get the go-ahead from the state.

The council agreed that if they do not get additional funds in by June, they need to look into pulling money out of their certificates of deposit (CDs).

Fire Chief Gerard Bennett reported they had seven fire calls, 35 Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and one other. The fire department is currently seeking a grant from the Department of Natural Resources for radios and pagers and is still waiting to see if Pine County will receive a grant that they can join in on. They also received a $1,000 donation from Lloyd and Anna Antilla for radios, for which the department was very grateful. Their recruits are also doing well and their cadet will soon be old enough to take on a full-time position. Bennett also asked the council to consider letting the fire department use some of the space in the city garage for storage and that the sand shed be moved or sold to make room in front of the truck garage.

John Mikrot reported things were going well regarding water and sewer services. Hydrants were recently flushed, and he will be looking into patching a storm drain by the school once school is over. The balance test on the ponds is underway but will be delayed if it rains. Mikrot stated he’s also ready to start doing patching on the roads. Councilor Sheldon Johnson requested that Mikrot analyze the roads and report if they need an overhaul in places rather than just patching.

Bruce Westerberg from Lake States Tree Service asked for permission to remove a tree on Willow Street that could be a potential hazard. He clarified that the service is free as they’re contracted through Minnesota Power to keep the main power line clear. The council gave its permission.

In other business, the city agreed to lend picnic tables to the elementary school for their concert.

Clerk Nelson stated that the seniors volunteering to clean up the cemetery needed means by which to haul away the debris collected.

The council agreed to purchase a handheld meter reader (the current method of tracking is pen and paper).

Councilor Sheldon Johnson brought up street sweeping by CIP (Challenge Incarceration Program in Willow River), and the council discussed the removal of the sand and dirt collected, suggesting possibly lining something up with the county since it’s their sand.

The council agreed to look into fortifying the ground around the city’s Christmas tree as it is beginning to sink down and could potentially fall.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for June 3 at 7 p.m. at the city hall.


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