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By Terry Froseth
It will be business as usual for city garbage collection, but changes are in the works for the recycling center and cardboard collection.
The Kenmare City Council’s Garbage Committee had considered eliminating the rolloff bins at the old city landfill, thus requiring garage to be hauled directly to the Minot landfill immediately after it is collected around the city.
At the Monday council meeting, alderman Ken Barnhart said the Garbage Committee had met twice in the past month. He said they had discovered the rolloff contract with Waste Management had automatically “rolled over” to a new three-year contract, since Waste Management had not been notified of any change by October 1st.
Barnhart said they had been advised by the city attorney it would be nearly impossible to get out of the contract. Barnhart added that Waste Management had not been willing to give the city a new proposal for city garbage collection unless the city provided all the specifics, such as number of pick-ups and volume of garbage.
Ankenbauer Dray of Kenmare, owned by alderman Todd Ankenbauer, had submitted a proposal for the city collection and transport to the rolloffs at the city landfill. Ankenbauer had also submitted an alternate proposal that would have included transport to the Minot landfill.
“We’re stuck with Waste Management and their rolloffs,” Barnhart said.
The council approved a three-year contract with Ankenbauer Dray for residential and commercial collections, with provisions for a five percent rate increase each year for the next three years.
Cardboard costing city
The city Garbage Committee has recommended closing of the city Recycling Center. Barnhart said the center is costing the city $860 to $870 a month to operate, with its cardboard collection essentially subsidizing three businesses.
The city pays for upkeep of the building, wages for employees to compact and bale the cardboard, and pays the cost to truck the cardboard bales to a Minot recycling center.
The high volume cardboard users do pay extra for having their cardboard hauled by Ankenbauer to the Recycling Center.
Alderman Chuck Leet said, “The cost of what we charge is a pittance as to what it costs us.”
Mayor Roger Ness asked, “What’s going to happen with all these guys and their cardboard?”
Leet said, “We’re going to talk to them. They’re going to have to make their own arrangements.”
Ankenbauer said, “We need to give them a chance to put their own systems in.”
The council discussed other issues that consistently put the garbage fund at a deficit, including inadequate charges at the city landfill.
Barnhart said the landfill permit fee had recently been raised to $240, from $180.
Ankenbauer said, “I think we need to charge by the load on hauling to the landfill.” He said the price of a landfill permit isn’t enough. “Look at what it costs to put in a landfill.”
Leet said, “Some shouldn’t have a permit, they should pay by the load. Some don’t have a permit and are hauling in there. There’s a lot of stuff coming in there that’s costing us.”
Barnhart added that the Garbage Committee will explore what Stanley is doing with their landfill.
Beer license to include wine
The council approved on first reading an amendment to a city’s liquor ordinance to include wine.
The current ordinance does not specifically mention wine. The new language of the amended portion of the ordinance will read: “Liquor means any alcoholic beverage except beer and wine.”
The city has used a fee schedule that allows a full liquor license for one price, and a license for beer only for a lesser fee. Wine has been included under the full liquor license fee, but not the beer license.
That method is the opposite of most other cities, where wine is included with the beer license.
South of the Border, City Limits Bar and Bottleshop, and Beer Bob’s each possess a full liquor license. M&K Pizza Hub is the only Kenmare establishment with only a beer license.
The ordinance change will allow M&K Pizza Hub to serve wine, as well as beer.
New cop hired
The city has hired Seth Engelstad of Moorhead, Minnesota to serve as a city patrolman. He will begin duty between January 1st and 15th, pending a “psych evaluation.”
Leet said the Personnel Committee had received eight applications and approved three for interviews. He said Engelstad was, “bright, well educated, had a good disposition.” He added that he had been certified for law enforcement in Minnesota and had been teaching for the last nine years.
Pay raises and
The council approved pay raises of $1500 per year for each of the full time employees, including Dale Hanson, Mike Thompson, Gary Kraft, Jason Cartier, and Barb Wiedmer.
Part time employees wages were raised to $12 per hour for Cliff Emmel and Candace Sieg, and $10.50 per hour for Bob Jessen. The municipal judge salary will remain the same.
Christmas bonuses of $1200 were approved to all full time employees, with bonuses to part time employee to be based on the number of hours worked.
Ankenbauer said he’d been contracted by citizens concerned about business activities taking place in residential areas, such as residents taking on boarders, offering laundry services, or baking cookies in their homes. “Should it be zoned? Is this business?” Ankenbauer asked.
Ryan Ackerman pointed out that some exceptions were already allowed in the ordinance book following previous approval under “conditional use.”
Ness said some of these home-based enterprises should go through the planning commission.
Council to have final say on planning and permits
Regarding the Planning Commission, Ness said the method for approval of action should be changed.
As with Fund Itt Committee action, any Planning Commission decisions should require full city council approval.
“It should be brought before the council. We should have the final say.” Ness said.
Public Works Director Mike Thompson asked if that included all building permits. He said there have been about 26 this year.
Ness said he felt the building permits should come through the council too.
“We’re going to follow this comprehensive plan,” Ness said.
Replace county assessor
with a city assessor
Mayor Ness also proposed hiring a city assessor who would conduct the duties the city currently relies on the Ward County assessor to provide.
“Commercial assessments haven’t changed in 15 to 20 years,” Ness said.
“We’re told there will be walk throughs. Nothing ever happens,” Ness said.
The city currently pays the county $4100 per year for the assessor.
Regarding the city valuations of residential and commercial property, city engineer Ryan Ackerman said, “My opinion is they’re pretty low. You’re losing revenue.”
Ness said the city needs to check into changing over from the county assessor to a city assessor. “I really don’t think they’d mind,” Ness said.
In other action:
• Jan Kostad presented the financial report.
• A $400 grant from the city sales tax Health Care fund was approved to the Kenmare Tobacco Free Coalition to be used for postcards to be distributed by the group.
• A permit was approved to the Kenmare Fire Department for raffle of a AR15 rifle.
• Liquor and beer licenses were approved to South of the Border, City Limits, Beer Bob’s, and M&K Pizza Hub.
• Steve Eberle of Ackerman-Estvold Engineering updated the council on the sewer extension project and the new water tower project. The clean up date for the sewer project has been extended to June 15, 2012. On-site construction of the new water tower is underway.