City council to hold public hearing on new ordinances

Photo by Tucker Henderson
The New York Mills City Council discussed potential ways to aid snow removal, which in turn, could help to alleviate narrow streets as snow piles up during the winter months.

By Chad Koenen


The New York Mills City Council reviewed four new ordinances that will help to regulate everything from private wells to utilizing water during a time of critical water usage. The new ordinances will be subject to a public hearing as soon as next month.  Meanwhile, an additional ordinance concerning parking on public streets was only discussed and not moved forward.

During its regularly hedged meeting on Tuesday night, the NY Mills City Council reviewed a new ordinance concerning the use of private wells in the city limits. 

Utility Supervisor Kyle Mattson said the ban on private wells coincides with the city’s wellhead protection plan. The ban will help to prevent potential contamination of ground water from deep wells. 

The council also reviewed an ordinance concerning nonessential water usage upon critical water deficiency. A few years ago Mattson said Minnesota was determined to be in a critical water usage in which water was to be used for just drinking and bathing during a drought. At that time the governor gave direction to municipalities about nonessential water usage which limited things like watering lawns to protect the low water tables. That emergency has passed, but helped to lead the city to develop the proposed ordinance. 

The new ordinance would just give the city some additional guidance should the city be in a critical water usage in the future. 

A third ordinance would also regulate water by restricting cross connections and back flow prevention in potable drinking water. Mattson said the goal was to eliminate potential contamination issues where toxic materials can be back released into the water system. He said this will affect commercial feed boiler systems more than residential systems. 

A fourth ordinance concerned enacting a new chapter of the code of ordinances to administer and regulate the public rights-of-way in the public interest and to provide for the issuance and regulation of the right-of-way permits. 

The city council also spent quite a bit of time discussing a fifth ordinance concerning alternative parking on city streets. 

As snow has piled up on city streets this winter, the city council is weighing options for how to get rid of snow and still allow people to park on the streets. One option would be to regulate parking by having calendar parking where residents can park on the odd side of the street on one day and the even side of the street on the other day. 

Several city council members said calendar parking on  city streets is fairly common in a number of communities in the area and would allow the city to more effectively remove snow over the course of two days. 

Should the city council implement a calendar parking, or plan to regulate street parking to help with snow removal, NY Mills Police Chief Bobby Berndt said his department will really focus on educating the public about the new regulations.

An alternative to calendar parking would be declaring a snow emergency and not allowing residents to park on the streets until the snow is removed. Some communities have a similar ordinance for declaring a snow emergency, but the city council said it would prefer to avoid going that route at this time due to the difficulty of not only communicating with residents about the emergency, but also knowing some residents would have nowhere for their vehicles if they do not have a driveway or garage. 

Nothing was decided by the city council concerning a parking ordinance as the council said it will weigh its options and receive input from the public about the best way to move forward. 

In other news

• Approved the following donations: $250 from Arvig for the dog park project, $5,000 from KLN Family Brands for the pool project and $5,000 from Perham Health for the pool project.

• Heard the liquor store report, which showed that combined gross sales for the month of February was down 4 percent from the previous year and the cost of good sold were up 1.14 percent. 

• Heard the fire department responded to 16 calls in February and held its annual meeting where the townships approved to increase the capital outlay from $50,000 to $60,000 with the townships increasing its contribution $5,000 and the city also increasing its contribution by $5,000. 

• Approved the process of purchasing a new 2024 tanker/pumper truck for the fire department. The base price of a stock truck would be $406,000 for a fall 2024 delivery. The new truck would replace the 1977 pumper and 1990 tanker trucks with a new pumper/tanker truck and the hope would be to secure grants to help offset a portion of that cost. 

• Heard the monthly call report from the police department which showed 104 calls for service last month. The department issued two citations and made three arrests last month. 

• Heard the utility department is working on an entire inventory of its water distribution system which includes home and business service lines. The EPA and MDH is requiring all water system operators throughout the state to get this inventory completed by October 2024, which requires the staff to inspect every home and business in search for lead and non-compliant lines that need to be replaced. Mattson said the hope is that property owners will be able to take a picture of their lines to see if they need further inspection. 

• Heard an update from Jordan Stevens concerning MidCo’s planned expansion of services to the NY Mills area. Stevens said the project will now be delayed until 2024 as the company completes projects in the Hawley and Detroit Lakes area.