Bids to be opened for new trail in March
By Jenna Baker
The February Ottertail City Council meeting opened up with reports from city staff, as well as Fire Chief Joe Ahlfs.
Ahlfs began by recapping the month of February to date, informing the council that the department had been on five rescue calls and was also involved in a mutual fire call with Perham. Additionally, Ahlfs said that the Polar Plunge went extremely well and raised close to $70,000.
Updates from the city staff were also heard. City Clerk Elaine Hanson brought up the idea of the city looking into a Planned Unit Development (PUD) ordinance. This type of ordinance regulates the building of townhomes and multi-dwelling units and can allow for impervious surface percentages to be combined between lots as a way to more easily authorize these types of units to be built. The council noted their interest in this ordinance and will be reviewing an ordinance at a later date.
The personnel committee shared their recommendations for the hiring process for a deputy clerk, the position that will open up when Hanson retires and current Deputy Clerk Amanda Thorson takes over the city clerk role. The committee also recommended amending the policy for vacation time for city employees.
After reviewing the recommendations, the council approved a motion to update the personnel policy for vacation time. They also agreed to proceed with the hiring process for deputy clerk.
Also at the meeting, Thorson informed the council that she has been doing some research regarding options for IT services. After reviewing a few solutions, she recommended going with Microsoft Business Premium for $720 per year. She noted that this service includes additional features such as Advanced Threat Protection and Mobile Device Management in addition to apps such as Word, Outlook, Excel and more. The council unanimously passed a motion to proceed with Microsoft Business Premium services.
Ron Heikes inquired about the three lots he had purchased on County Highway 1, near River View Road. Each parcel is 0.46 acres, in shoreland and has a curb stop. Heikes was wondering why he must pay for all three curb stops, even if the lot is unbuildable. A curb stop is a water service shutoff valve that is located in a water service pipe near the curb.
Hanson explained that if residents were to only pay for the curb stops on buildable lots, the city would need to change their ordinance.
The council determined that this is something they should look into to try to be more fair to everybody and will further discuss this issue and ordinance at a future work session.
In other news
• The Tyler Wohler’s Memorial Trail will open for bids on the project on March 9.
• The council passed a motion to approve a donation of $500 for the East Otter Tail County Fair for a 2022 sponsorship.
• The Household Hazardous Waste collection will be on June 10 at the fire hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• A motion was made to approve the transfer of $12,000 from the general fund into the community fund as a part of the planned budgeting for 2021 and 2022.
• Important dates to note: April 21 is the Emergency Summit at Thumper Pond, the open house at Operations Center is on June 4 and the fire feed with roast turkey is April 13 at the fire hall.