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By Terry Froseth
The Kenmare City Council took its first official action to initiate an improvement project for downtown sidewalks and lighting.
With the passing of several resolutions Monday, the council defined the boundaries for the downtown improvements, and essentially designated which property owners will be taxed to pay for the project.
Total cost is estimated to be $699,244.
The improvements will include new concrete sidewalks, curb and gutter, 24 poles and light fixtures, and pavement surrounding the downtown business district and park square.
Alderman Troy Hedberg said the city will also be paying for a share of the project, as a means of having all taxpayers of the community contribute to the cost.
A public hearing for the improvement district has been set for 6:30 pm on August 12 at City Hall. Property owners can file written protests within 30 days of the first notification (published in this issue) of the assessment district for downtown improvements. The protests will be considered at the hearing on August 12.
Water slide sold
The council accepted the high bid of $1608 from Camp Bentley for the city’s surplus water slide.
Two other bids were received. Bruce Johnson bid $300 and Andy Mau bid $257.
Terms of the sale stipulate the disassembled water slide be removed from the park by next Monday.
Camp Bentley is a Baptist Church camp located near Drake.
The City of Kenmare had purchased the used 20-foot tall water slide from the Minot Air Force Base for $250 in 2008. It has been setting in pieces in the park south of the pool since then.
It was recently determined the slide might never be erected because of the expense, and because of other more urgent needs at the pool.
$1.8 million grant
The council approved moving ahead with a project to upgrade the city’s waste water system, having been awarded a $1.8 million Energy Infrastructure and Impact Office grant. Funding will be available by August 1, 2013.
City engineer Ryan Ackerman said total cost of the project would likely be $2 million.
The project will be adding storage at the lagoon by digging the cells deeper. Installation of mechanical aerators will also be part of the project.
The council approved a building permit for an 80’ x 140’ commercial building on the downtown west side. (Phase 2 of the development).
The Kenmare Community Development Corporation had asked for the $3360 permit fee to be waived or cut in half.
After discussion of the risks of setting a precedent, the council approved the permit at the full rate.
Byron Kerbaugh was approved for a 135’ wood fence 6’ high at 810 1st Ave NE.
Lawrence Lee was approved for a 225’ wood fence at 601 1st Ave NE.
Paul Munch requested a building permit from last year be renewed. Construction permits are good for six months. The council approved requiring Munch to apply for a new permit.
Sales tax drops to half
Accountant Jan Kostad presented the financial report. He pointed out city sales tax collection this year was less than half of last year for the same period.
To date, Kenmare has received $93,988 (excluding Fund Itt’s share) back from the state for city sales tax collection in 2013. This compares to $191,558 through June 2012. The total in 2012 was an exceptional $390,411, compared to $220,821 in 2011.
In other action:
• At a hearing prior to the start of the regular council meeting, a zoning change request was approved. Edwin Jewell requested the change from industrial to neighborhood commercial for the bulk water sales plant on the east side of town. The classification was described as a business with living quarters for a single family.
• A Renaissance Zone application from Kenmare Community Development Corporation for phase 2 of the downtown west side development was approved.
• A raffle permit was approved to the Honker Booster Club for drawings beginning in January.
• A $500 donation from the Minot Hockey Boosters gaming fund was approved for Greenwing Day at Kenmare. The funds are used for lunch and prizes for 60 to 80 kids.
• The fire department will be assessed for its fire insurance classification on August 14.
• The personnel committee “regretfully” accepted the resignation of police officer Seth Engelstad. He will work through August 16. Engelstad has taken a teaching job at the Rolette high school.
• A $15 rental fee for a Memorial Hall table and six chairs, with a maximum fee of $300, was approved. Tables and chairs must be returned within 24 hours, and replaced if damaged.