New Richland City Council
By JESSICA LUTGENS
The first City Council meeting of September commenced at 6:30 on Monday night. All members of the council were present for the meeting.
The first order of business was the proposed levy for 2013, which remains undecided. Many ideas were given in the area of cutting costs, but nothing was officially decided on yet. In order to cut $13,000 of spending, money will have to be taken from other areas, which is difficult for council members to agree upon.
“There’s only so much a city the size of New Richland can cut and still provide the same level of service,” said Wayne Billing, City Clerk.
The proposed levy doesn’t have to be finalized until December, and citizens who would like to comment or ask questions will be allowed to do so on December 10 at City Hall.
The New Richland Police Department reported 89 calls and 24 other contacts/activities for the month of August, which was down from previous months this summer. No serious crimes were reported, although there were a lot of juvenile nuisance complaints. The department stressed that although these things may be annoying, it doesn’t necessarily make them illegal. They hope that now that school is back in session the problems should recede.
The City Maintenance Report stated that there were no bacteria in the city’s water sample, and there were 22 delinquent bills/disconnect notes resulting in zero being shut off. The purchase of a new street sweeper was discussed, as the current one, although it runs, is not in very good working order and is outdated. If a new sweeper was to be bought, it could lead to less issues with storm sewers in the long run as well as being able to maintain the city’s streets more frequently.
Another rather important issue discussed was what to do with the bathrooms in the City Park. There are currently repairs needed to the building, and it was decided that instead of replacing it, they will fix the building so it’s in proper working order again. The cracks in the roof will be filled with granitecrete, as well as the problems with the walls. The council approved the motion to repair the building with costs not to exceed $5300, and repairs will take place before this spring.
The ice skating rink was also discussed, and it was decided that another light will be put up along with a 4,000-watt heater in the warming house. The lights outside will have a sensor to turn them on when it’s dark and off when it’s light again, and a switch will control the internal light and heater. The council approved the installation of the light and heater, which will cost a total of about $2,300. The maintenance report was then approved.
The fire department is looking into purchasing the building across from City Hall, which has already been inspected. There are some minor repairs that need to be done, including light fixtures, a small part of the roof leaking, and heat. The money for the building and repairs will come from reserve and donation, and there is currently $45,000 in the budget. The council agreed to get quotes on the repairs before approving the motion to make an offer on the building, and the fire department report was approved.
The Tree Board reported nine trees/stumps that need to be removed, and Bernie Anderson stated he hopes to get four to five trees planted in the city each year to make up for those lost. The purchase of handsaws was also discussed, and the council approved the motion with the cost not to exceed $1,500.
The last item on the agenda was the changes to be made to the softball field. The hope is that everything will be done by this spring so the players will have a field to use once the snow melts. The total cost for the project is $23,626, with the school covering $18,900 and the city paying $4,725. After the two-hour meeting, the council agreed to adjourn.