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LGA cuts to City of Hancock not as big as expected

The news is slightly better for the City of Hancock in regard to the Local Government Aid from the state. Instead of being cut $40,000, the cut is proposed to be $16,000, that is if Gov. Tim Pawlenty doesn't change his mind. City Clerk Andrea Swenson told the council that there is still a possibility that the governor could choose to unallot the additional money. But for now the cut would be about $16,000.

With this in mind, the council approved a revised budget for the year which includes some of the cuts discussed at a previous council meeting. Each department will feel these cuts but the city will continue to maintain the department so no personnel will be cut.

The council can now look at doing some projects throughout the city that were being held up while waiting for the final word on the LGA funds. One of its focuses will be on acquiring and removing the former upholstery shop building and selling the cleared property to Community Development Bank, which may build a new building there. A special council meeting is April 26 to finalize plans and review bids for both the asbestos removal and demolition.

There was some discussion about the large amount of inventory still in the building. There are several rolls of upholstery fabric, foam padding and other items used in the business. It was decided to contact other area upholstery shops to see if they would be interested in clearing out the inventory items in exchange for a donation to the city. All other items in the building will also need to be cleared before demolition.

Street Work

Public works director Vern Christie presented a list of areas in the community where streets needed to be repaired or seal coated. There are several large and some new frost boils, along with several streets breaking up, that were not part of the 1999 project. He received bids for the work, with the seal coating and patching estimates coming in at about $39,000.

The council stated that continuing to patch and repair many of these areas was just delaying the inevitable since many of these streets need to be milled and retarred. The cost of fixing and repairing could better be spent on replacement.

The council instructed Swenson to look into the possibility of getting a loan to do the work and the money spent each year on repair work could then be applied to the payment. Swenson will check into the process as far if an

engineer is needed and what else will need to be done and work with Christie on a list of the streets that need work.

The council also discussed the possibility of beginning to assess the street work to property owners, which is a common practice in many communities. The city pays one third while property owners on each side also pay one third.

Other business

• The council approved the purchase of a swing set for the West Side Park contingent on obtaining a donation from the Fire Department pull tab fund to pay for about $1,300 of it. The Lions Club and Hancock Commercial Club have already made donations to cover the balance.

• The fee schedule was approved with the only change being the cost of animal licenses, which was increased from $5 to $10.

• The council set Clean-up Days as April 26-28 and the Pet Clinic for May 1. Ads will be placed in the paper with details about these events.

• It was approved to replace some of the lights in the fire hall with high efficiency lights and re-use some of the fixtures in other parts of the fire hall.

• The council discussed doing something to recognize Kurt Kruize, who died recently in Iraq. The city may do some type of a memorial in the Memorial Park and possibly have a dedication during the July 4 celebration.