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City reverses sidewalk snow removal decision...

The Kenmare City Council will resume snow removal from the downtown business square sidewalks, reversing a decision they made a month ago.

10/22/19 (Tue)

The Kenmare City Council will resume snow removal from the downtown business square sidewalks, reversing a decision they made a month ago.

At the regular monthly meeting of the council on Oct. 14, Troy Hedberg, a downtown credit union officer and former council member, asked the council to reconsider their previous decision to end the snow removal.

Hedberg said it was a gentlemen’s agreement at the time of the rebuilding of the downtown sidewalks a few years ago, that the city would aid with the snow removal.

The downtown merchants pay a special assessment tax for the new sidewalks.

Part of the reasoning behind the city’s aid, Hedberg explained, included the desire for consistent snow removal.

There was discussion of several vacant spaces on the square, particularly on the east side and the handicap cut-outs, where the snow might never be removed if it was left to the absentee property owners.

In further discussion, it was stated that all the active businesses do clean their own sidewalks of snow, or have someone hired to do it. What the city has done in the past is make a pass around the square with a Bobcat to assist in the effort. This has the added benefit to the entire city of having the sidewalks at the vacant spaces cleared as well.

It was also pointed out that the city actually owns the sidewalks. The merchants pay for them, however, and are required to maintain them.

Councilman Glen Froseth said he agreed with Hedberg, and made the motion to rescind the previous action. “People have talked to me and felt we were making a mistake,” Froseth said.

Dispute of dog at large citations

Bev Briscoe and Barry Christensen addressed the council regarding two $250 fines levied against Christensen for “Dog At Large.”

Briscoe asked, “How can the city attorney override the decision of the judge?”

She said the municipal judge, Kurt Heninger, had resigned because of the dispute with the attorney over Heninger dismissing the fines.

Christensen stated the two ‘dog at large citations’ amounted to $500. “That’s nuts. Everyone says that it is.” Christensen said his “neighbor sitting right there” had her name written at the bottom of the citations.

Council member Terese Schmidt cut the comments short saying, “We can’t rehash what happened in court.”

Police chief Allisha Britton added, “He had been given written warnings. When it becomes a constant issue, something has to be done. That’s when we write the citations.”

Fund Itt grants

A $50,000 Fund Itt business retention grant was given council approval. The funds will go towards the $80,000 emergency roof replacement at three of the apartment buildings operated by Kenmare Housing Corporation. The apartments, primarily for low-income or elderly tenants, are operated under USDA rules. Kenmare Housing Corporation has a deficient reserve fund which cannot cover the expense of the new roofs.

Four matching grants were also approved.

East Side Plaza (former Super Valu building) was granted $462.75 for a new sign.

Kenmare Area Ministerial Association was granted $1280 towards a new sign which displays the names of all the churches in Kenmare. The sign replaces an outdated one located near the southeast entrance to town on Division Street.

Kenmare Community Development Corporation was granted $1041.02 towards expenses to paint and repair the storefronts of two buildings on the south side of the downtown business square, the Kenmare Theatre and Commercial Concrete Solutions buildings.

Kenmare Theatre was granted $782.15 towards repair of a portion of neon lights on the marquee sign along with replacement of 50 broken and burnt out bulbs on the underside of the marquee with new LED bulbs.

Tax deed properties

The Ward County auditor notified the council of a hearing to be held on October 15 regarding the setting of minimum sale prices on tax deed properties in Kenmare. The county commissioners have set prices of approximately $5000 each on 63 of the 65 parcels on the list for Kenmare. Listed as Niederriter’s 4th Addition lots, it was stated they are in the area of the two 12-plex apartment buildings on Division Street. Two other parcels, priced at $350 each, were said to be in coulees and inaccessible.

Police report

Chief Britton reported on the police department’s monthly calls for service tally.

The report included: 54 citizen assists, 44 general information, 17 animal calls, 3 domestic disputes, 4 city ordinance violations, 2 infraction charges, 2 misdemeanor charges, 2 reported assaults, 1 reported break-in, 4 child neglect and abuse, 6 harassing calls or communications, 1 reported sexual assault, 3 trespassing, 2 tampering with vehicle, 7 parking or traffic complaints, 6 suspicious person or vehicle, 2 civil standby, 5 loud party or noise, 2 mental health, 3 suicidal threats, 4 arrests, 3 civil disputes, 4 warrant service, 2 medical assists, 2 juvenile cases, 4 welfare checks, 7 motorist assists, 1 vehicle crash, 7 agency assists, 28 traffic stops, 13 traffic citations, 1 traffic written warnings, 14 traffic verbal warnings.

Certification pay raises

A schedule of pay raises for city employees completing certification classes was approved. The certification include: pool/spa operators, water and wastewater operator, municipal waste landfill operators, and sewer and water installer license. Raises ranged from 25 cent per hour to $1.25 per hour.

Councilman Jim Burud said the raises create incentives for the employees to complete the required certifications.

In other action:

• State bonding fund coverage from the North Dakota Insurance Reserve Fund was approved.

• The city was informed the water rate from Northwest Area Water Supply (NAWS) will be increasing from $2.95 per thousand gallons in 2019 to $3.05 in 2020. The rate becomes effective January 2020. Schmidt said a committee will meet to discuss the increase. “We did not increase last year,” Schmidt said.

• A contract with Farmers Union Oil to purchase in advance $10,000 worth of propane at a cost of $1.25 per gallon, under their Propane Pre Pay Program.

• Police officer Chris Almlie was given approval to attend a 5-day, 40 hour Active Attack Integrated Response Course in Minot beginning Oct. 28. A statement said the course is designed to improve the safety and survivability of victims of active attack/ shooter events and increase the effectiveness, coordination and resource integration between law enforcement, fire, telecommunications and EMS when responding to these events.

• Expense of $1200 for a July 9 rain emergency was approved.

• A liquor license transfer from City Limits to the Memorial Hall was approved for the November 6 Landowner Appreciation Banquet.

• Repairs of $405 were approved for repair of a light bar on the police chief’s patrol car.

• A Planning and Zoning Commission building permit was approved to Mark Mathwich for a 200 foot chain link fence.

• City building inspector Don Siebert said he has contacted the project engineers at Dollar General regarding concerns about drainage off the roof of the building, as well as construction debris in left in the alley.

• The council approved pursuing grants for security cameras around the downtown square.

• Thirty letters were sent out regarding nuisance diseased trees which must be removed. The State Forester recommended removal by April. The deadline for removal was set for May 31st. About half of the marked trees have been removed.

• City auditor Grant Johnson reported on the League of Cities meeting held in Bismarck in September.

• Bill Jansky accepted and signed his oath of office as the new municipal judge.

• A deadline of October 31st was set for getting vehicles and other items off the streets to make way for snow removal.

• New garbage collection and landfill rates recommended by committee were approved. Froseth said the city would still be running $5000 to $6000 short of break even on the landfill.

• New keyed alike locks will be purchased for the landfill and other city properties at a cost of $1500. The keys cannot be duplicated. A log will also be created to keep track of who has each of the keys. Past problems include illegal dumping in the landfill, after having made access with unauthorized keys.

• A quote of $500 to haul 16 bales of cardboard from the recycling center to Kalix in Minot was approved.

• The landfill attendant, Cliff Emmel, will be resigning as of Oct. 31. A new attendant will be hired for up to 40 hours a week, with no benefits, and $16 per hour pay.

 • The city will sponsor a fall clean up from October 21 to Nov. 1... 

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