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Council will purchase new city pickup; interview one candidate for police chief

The Hancock City Council members accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time on Monday night. In just over an hour they set up a committee to work on a new Relationship Based Occupancy Ordinance, decided to purchase a new city pickup, agreed to interview one candidate for the part-time police officer position and designated five business buildings as vacant.

The committee members appointed to re-write the ordinance will include Fred Crowell, Bruce Malo, Mark Mattson, David Schmidgall, Bob Staples, Justin Cronen and Dan Allenspach. Fire Chief Kyle Rose was recommended to serve in an advisory role. The committee will meet monthly, with the first meeting on  March 3 at 7 p.m., with a goal to present a new ordinance to the council members at their June meeting.

Maintenance Director John Jepma presented a state bid out of a dealership in Elbow Lake for a new city pickup. The pickup would be a 2015 model and the final price was $25,499. The council decided to pursue purchasing the pickup and sell the current pickup .

One candidate submitted an application for the part-time police position, however, two others called and inquired about it. The personnel committee will interview the candidate who submitted an application. It was stated that he works full-time in Benson but would be willing to work nights and weekends in Hancock.

The council members also discussed the police office and decided to table discussion on continuing to rent the space.

To comply with another  adopted city ordinane, the council members designated some business buildings as vacant. The owners of these buildings, if not used for business purposes or advertised for sale, will be assessed a fine. The buildings designated by the council as vacant are the former grocery store, blacksmith shop, bank building, KC Repair and old gas station. The object of this ordinance is to try to move the building owners to sell and possibly get the buildings occupied again.

City Clerk Jennifer Ver Steeg told the council members that she had sent out two notices to business owners on main street about removing the snow from the sidewalks. One of these had since removed the snow, the other will need to be done and assessed to taxes. The council members also stated that they would like to see property owners living along the routes to school and churches, voluntarily keep the sidewalks clear so children do not have to walk on the streets.

It was noted that the city office will be closed next Monday due to President’s Day.