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Rainbow Rafters may become Hancock city garage

The City of Hancock will possibly soon have a new city garage. Well, not exactly new, but maybe recycled is a better word. If an agreement can be reached, the former Rainbow Rafters building at the corner of Jefferson and Fourth Street will be used as a city garage.

At their meeting on Monday night Council debated three options when it came to either leasing or purchasing the Rainbow Rafter property. The first option was to rent for three years at a cost of $1,000 the first year and $1,500 the next two years. The city would be responsible for all upkeep, mowing, insurance, taxes and mowing of the lumber yard property while leasing.

The second option would be to purchase the property on a Contract for Deed for $35,000 and the third option would be to lease for three years and then have the option to buy after the third year at a price of $39,000.

Previously the council had discussed possibly building a new storage building for a city garage at an estimated cost of over $48,000. This would have been a pole building without a cement floor, wiring or insulation.

The Rainbow Rafter building is a 50'x120' building with a cement floor, adjacent empty lots and separate office area. The city would need to do some wiring at a cost of $1,364 and insulation if needed.

Council decided to approach the owners with a counter offer for the purchase after leasing it for three years. They also gave Mayor Bruce Schmidgall and City Clerk Andrea Swenson the authority to negotiate and sign any agreements in an effort to allow more time this fall for Public Works Director Vern Christie to move city equipment into the building and get necessary work completed.

Jefferson Ave work

Jesse Jensen, a resident of Jefferson Ave. and Dave Miller, a business owner on Jefferson, were present at the meeting to question the work done this summer on the road. Miller was under the impression from a previous meeting that the road would be patched and then retarred this summer.

Council members stated that they decided to do the patching and then let the road sit for a year to see if any more frost boils appear in the spring. These can then be repaired before the tarring is done.

Jensen also expressed a desire to see the road tarred as this was something that had been paid for in part by the property owners in previous years. He also had a concern about the loaded trucks that are traveling on the road and possibly causing some of the break-up.

Council agreed that the street is not designed for heavy truck traffic and added that even the patching will not last if it has high volume traffic. It was also mentioned that the city has only a $20,000 per year budget for city street work and they can not continue to focus this money on one city street. To make it a truck route would cost considerably more than this amount.

The road will remain untarred over the winter and see if more work needs to be done next spring before a new layer of tar is applied.

Sidewalk work

One of the residents on 5th Street where the first round of sidewalk replacement will begin came before council with some questions. She wanted to know why this part of town was selected as the first replacement area when there are several other sidewalks throughout the city that are more in need of work. She also was concerned that she would be asked to replace the sidewalk again in the future as the inspections and replacement project continues.

Council explained that they decided to focus the beginning of the sidewalk work in the area of the school and churches. Her home just happened to be located on the corner of the two so this was one of the first areas of replacement However, they assured her that no more sidewalk work would be done along her property for many, many years. In fact it was pointed out that many of the sidewalks in the city are as much as 70 years old.

With this assurance she was willing to go along with the sidewalk work.

Council approved a bid from Randy Pashen to replace the sidewalk on 5th St. from Hancock to Lions. One half of the project will be billed to property owners with the city paying the remainder. The total cost is $5,674.

Other business

* Council entered into an agreement with Engebretson's Disposal for administrative costs incurred when the city bills for garbage pickup. Engebretson's will credit the city 25c per customer to cover the cost of printing, mailing and collecting the garbage fees and sending in the sales tax. This will amount to approximately $66.25 per month.

* The city council received two unsigned letters from residents in the city. The letters were not read at the meeting however the council members wanted to address the concerns voiced and asked for the writers to attend a public meeting to discuss the issues with them.

* Ron Coates asked to speak to council about a concern he had with the additional charge proposed for city street lights. He explained that it is getting more difficult for the private citizen to continue when entities keep 'pecking away' at personal finances. "We are going backwards instead of forward as a private citizen," explained Coates.

* Council reviewed a Dangerous Dog Ordinance that was derived from MN State Statutes. The ordinance will give the city police authority to declare a dog as 'dangerous' in certain situations including biting.

* The City will be signing off on the loan portion of the sewer pond project. On January 1, 2010 the first payment will be interest only. Starting on January 1, 2011 the city will be making an annual payment of $77,000 for 40 years to pay off the loan.

* The 2010 preliminary City Budget was approved and December 14 was set as the meeting night for taxpayers to voice any concerns they have with the budget and/or tax levy.