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City gains properties from Ward County

The City of Kenmare has taken ownership of four properties for which they had offered Ward County $200 apiece.

2/16/11 (Wed)

By Terry Froseth

The City of Kenmare has taken ownership of four properties for which they had offered Ward County $200 apiece.
A fifth tax-lien property the city had bid on, consisting of vacant undeveloped lots at the southern-most part of town, went to a private party.
Two of the city’s new properties are sites of old and uninhabitable mobile homes. Another has a rundown house. The last is a 50 foot strip of vacant property between two occupied homes on 3rd Avenue NE.
Mayor Roger Ness said the city will tear out the dilapidated structures and clean up the lots. “We’ll get them nice and put them up for bids.”
New cop car coming
The city police department will have a brand new vehicle for the first time in many years.
The council approved purchase of a new 2011 Ford Crown Victoria for $29,531.96, including the cost of the light bar, radio, and decals.
Alderman Chuck Leet said the new cruiser would be easier on gas than the Ford Expedition four wheel drive the city is now using.
Leet said the new car is built heavy duty with a police package and will have a four year warranty.
The Expedition will continue to be used for winter patrolling.
The city must order the car by March 1st, as this is the last year Ford is making the Crown Victoria police cruiser.
Vet’s Club Gaming of Kenmare has agreed to a $15,000 donation towards the police cruiser purchase. The balance will be paid from the city sales tax infrastructure fund.
Streets get messy
The quick warm up in temperatures this past weekend caught the city crew a bit off guard, but they also suffered some bad luck with their equipment.
Hard packed snow melted on the streets Sunday when the temperature rose to around 40 degrees, causing some streets to be filled with foot-deep icy slush.
After freezing again overnight, some drivers become stuck Monday morning in the deeply grooved ice mounds in front of driveways and on side streets.
The city’s payloader had to go in for repairs last week. To add to the city crew’s misery, their road grader broke down twice while city employee Dale Hanson tried to clear streets.
“I didn’t have a very good day today,” Hanson said at the Monday evening council meeting.
Mayor Ness defended the city crew. “They are willing to work weekends.”
Alderman Butch Norrie said when he was asked by the city crew on Saturday about cleaning streets on Sunday, he didn’t think the streets would get that bad. He recommended they wait until Monday or Tuesday when it was forecast to be just as warm as Sunday.
Leet said, “It was a surprise to all of us the way it melted Sunday.”
Norrie said, “The city does the best they can.”
Delinquent water
users will pay more
Alderman Norrie recommended the city adopt a stiffer penalty for city water users who are delinquent in paying their bill.
Norrie said several users are continually delinquent and their water is disconnected. They soon pay the $25 fee and are reconnected.
The council approved a change to the ordinance, increasing the charge for a first time reconnection fee to $50; $100 for the second time; $150 for the third time; $200 for the fourth time, and up by $50 each additional time.
Garbage rate to increase
The council approved increasing the minimum garbage collection fee from $15 a month to $20 per month.
The landfill fund lost about $11,000 last year. There has been no increase in the residential garbage collection rate for six years.
Alderman Todd Ankenbauer suggested the city should look at all of its fees every year. He said the city employee wages are increased and expenses go up, while the fees stay the same and the city gets behind.
“We should look at other fees yearly, not just landfill,” Ankenbauer said. “Sewer and water expenses go up too.”
Fund Itt Grants
The city council gave its approval to two business improvement matching grants.
The Kenmare Theatre was granted $349 towards repair of the neon lettering on its marquee sign. Wild Styles Salon & Spa was granted $340 towards replacement of store front door and glass.
Three grants were made to the Kenmare Community Development Corporation. They received a grant of $4,676.82 for reimbursement of the executive director’s mileage, lodging, conference fees, as well as the organization’s web site renewal and meeting expenses.
The council approved the annual renewal of $1240 per month payments to the Development Corporation towards the executive director’s salary. Those wages are paid through the city payroll.
The Development Corporation received a Fund Itt grant of $14,000 towards six approved applications for dilapidated building demolitions.
The demolition program offered through the Development Corporation is still available, offering up to $3500 to have uninhabitable houses cleared from lots in town.
The Fund Itt Committee reported a current available balance to $52,379.
In other action:
• Ness asked council members to bring ideas to the next meeting for equipment needs that might be eligible for an Oil Impact Grant.
• The city will offer its Bobcat skidsteer for sale on bids. Norrie said with the government discount they receive, they could sell the Bobcat and buy a new one every two years. He said some cities are making money on the deal. Ness said they will reject the bids if they are too low.
• A Minot Hockey Boosters gaming fund (from charitable gambling at the South of the Border site) donation of $400 was made to the Kenmare Fire Department to pay to the FFA for trophies and set-up for the Coyote Hunt.
A $400 gaming fund donation was also made to Mrs. McNeiley for expenses of the four Kenmare second graders and families who attended the Legislative Session in Bismarck to testify for making the ladybug the state’s official insect.
• A raffle permit was approved to the Kenmare Lions Club for drawings at the Kenmare Country Club.
A raffle permit was approved for the Lake County Historical Society Pioneer Day.
• City engineer Ryan Ackerman has conducted one long range planning meeting for the city’s strategic plan and will continue meeting with city committees for input.
• A drop box for collection of city water bills and RTC telephone and cable tv bills is now in place to the east of the city auditor’s office, next to the propane tanks.