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Hancock council cautions off-road vehicle operators to obey traffic rules within city limits

It was a long, cold, snowy winter and now that summer has finally arrived, people are ready to get outside and enjoy the warmth. However, some people may be going a little too far when unleashing that pent up energy. The Hancock City Council has received several complaints about reckless driving of vehicles such as 4-wheelers and even golf carts around the city. Some of these complaints pertain to excessive speed and others to not obeying road rules.

The council members discussed these complaints and are asking drivers to use common courtesy and obey rules when operating these vehicles in the city. The council has not yet found it necessary to implement harsher regulations. However, if the complaints continue they may need to look into doing this.

State regulations regarding the operation of these vehicles basically follows many of the same rules as motor vehicles. The driver must have a drivers license, the vehicle must also be licensed and young passengers need to wear helmets. Operators must follow all road rules such as obeying traffic signs. The council is asking that a 20 mile per hour speed limit be observed when on the streets.

Police Chief Steve Henriksen told the council members that he had stopped a few operators already and explained some of the rules. He and the council are asking the public to remember that the operation of these vehicles on the city streets is a privilege and that just a few disrespectful operators can make it bad for all.

The city council is also asking the public for another favor this summer. They would like to see all properties cleaned up and made presentable for the July 4th holiday. Some letters will be going out closer to that date for specific cleanups, however, the council is asking all property owners to do their part in making the city look good for the influx of visitors.

There could also be some sidewalk work done before the July 4th weekend. The council members discussed replacing sidewalks on the west side of Hancock Avenue and on Fifth Street between Hancock and Washington Avenues. They also discussed putting in an apron on the alley along Hancock between Fourth and Fifth Streets and installing an apron on Seventh Street leading out to Buddies. Public Works Director John Jepma said he is waiting for the concrete company to return to town to do these projects and hopes it will be before the holiday.

Other business

• The council received three bids for the city pickup. The bid from Dennis Schirmers of Sauk Centre for $10,000 was accepted.

• David Schmidgall presented the council with a donated 350 degree microphone recording system. This will enable the minutes to be placed online or on computers through an MP3 file for interested individuals.

• Councilman Jeff Kisgen questioned the costs of extra items put on the new city pickup and asked when these were approved. Some of these included a tool box and bed liner. The total cost was $4,000. He wanted to remind city employees that any expenses over $500 had to be approved by the council.

• City Clerk Jodi Bedel told the council members that the painting and clean-up work in the city office is complete and the council complimented her on the results.

• Additional hours were approved for Police Chief Henriksen through the July 4 weekend along with approval to hire additional help if needed. The council also approved a request from John Jepma to hire part-time help for a few weeks this summer, mainly to assist with mowing.

• The installation of a garage door opener for the police car garage was approved.