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Hancock City Council approves street work

The city council members approved at bid from Bargen for $17,456 to do the work and were told that it could be done before the July 4 and All-School Reunion weekend. After reviewing some tree trimming bids, the council members also approved $3,500 in tree removal work that hopefully will also be complete before the fourth.

However, another major project that was hoped to be done before the holiday, will not be finished. For several months, City Attorney Neil Simonson has been working with the railroad about taking down the Blue Chip Feed elevator and asking them to have it complete before July 4. Simonson told the council members that he was extremely disappointed to see that very little progress has been made on this.

He was in contact with Burlington Northern railroad and talked with a person who explained that they have two contractors working on the removal. The first contractor, who has been here in recent weeks, was retained to remove asbestos. However, they have informed BNSF that there is an area of asbestos high in the elevator that they are unable or unwilling to remove.

The second contractor, retained to do the demolition, now needs to get licensed to do this removal. Simonson said that BNSF continues to work on it but it is a very slow process.

Simonson also told the council members that the paperwork has been completed to close on the purchase of the Rainbow Rafters building, however, the final closing will not take place until September.

Building permits

The city council reviewed four building permits and discussed a couple of them with the property owners present at the meeting. John Ver Steeg of Riverside Express submitted a permit request for a 90'x105' building to be constructed near his current building and used for prewashing the trucks before the final wash at the Genetiporc site.

Council asked about set-backs, water and sewer needed and if there would be more truck traffic on Jefferson Ave. as a result. Ver Steeg said that the water and sewer lines would be adequate for his needs and that all trucks using the prewash would be empty. He was not sure about the set backs, so this permit was tabled until the July 9 meeting.

Another permit, one requested by Roger Duncan, was also tabled since a variance would be needed to approve his construction. Neighbors within 350' of his new construction will be notified and have 15 days to comment before council can approve it. Duncan asked if he could do some prep work such as removing trees and roots. Council told him that this would be okay but no construction could begin until the permit is approved.

Loan savings

Steve Mattson of Northland Securities was present at the meeting to inform the council that there could be some potential savings if the city refinanced two existing bonds. One of the bonds is at a 4.6 percent interest rate and the other is at 4.125. He estimated that by refinancing and keeping the loan payments the same, the city could shorten the loan duration by three years and save over $230,000.

The council members told Mattson to proceed with the refinancing which they will do as long as the savings at the time of signing, is at least $200,000.

Other business

* Dennis Dodds Sr and David Dodds were present at the meeting to address concerns the council had voice about an empty home owned by Dennis Dodds in Hancock. Dodds Sr. told the council members that he is working on replacing windows and replacing the garage which will be attached to the house. Council members told him that they appreciated the efforts being put into maintaining the property and that it was a step in the right direction.

* Police Chief Matt Flogstad gave his report and council approved him adding a couple more officers on the evening of July 6 and 7. Flogstad has spoke with Morris Area Taxi and he is willing to provide services thoses evenings if the local bars are looking for the service.

* Flogstad also asked for direction for people driving golf carts in the city since the city has no ordinance regulating this. He was directed to look into more of the details of the regulations and bring them back to the Regualr Council meeting in July.

* Public Works Director Vern Christie discussed with council the work that will need to be done while he is on medical leave starting on June 15. Floyd Hoberg will be doing the lawn mowing and some of the odd jobs. John Jepma will be available if any water or sewer line problems occur. A licensed operator from Morris has been retained to do the testing and to fill out forms. Flogstad also stated that he could help out where needed and some of the council members also offered to help.

Christie also asked council members to consider reimbursing him for an MPCA fine that he was required to pay a few years ago. He stated that the city had reimbursed another person for a fine however the council members told Christie that there were different circumstances surrounding that situation. The council decided to take it under consideration and tabled action.