Photo by Chad Koenen
Work continues on the new New York Mills dog park. The City of New York Mills recently received several donations to help offset the cost of the new park.

By Chad Koenen


A generation ago, peddlers and transient salespeople were a commonplace with their bags of everything from knives to can’t miss deals on vacuums. While peddlers may not be as common today, the New York Mills City Council took a step last week to clarify a city ordinance regulating these transient salespeople within the city limits.

During its regularly scheduled meeting last week, the city council held a public hearing concerning regulating the conduct of peddlers, solicitors and transient merchants. The ordinance requires that these type of workers receive a license from the city prior to conducting business in town. The application for a license includes everything from the person’s name, what they are selling, any crimes they may have been convicted of over the past five years and previous communities in which they have conducted business. 

The new ordinance will replace a previous city ordinance that city clerk Julie Roberts said was vague. The new ordinance was recommended by the League of Minnesota Cities.

“It’s giving a little more guidance as to those people who can canvas our neighborhoods and going door-to-door, selling and being a transient merchant type person,” she said.

After a first hearing was held last month, Roberts said a concern was raised as to whether people could still go door-to-door for things like a school fundraisers, without having to get prior approval. Roberts said fundraisers are not required to get prior approval from the city and the new ordinance deals with people selling products for a living. 

“This ordinance has to do with people trying to make a living and selling wares and things like that,” she said. “Somebody just doing fundraising like a school fundraisers and things like that we don’t require a license.”

In other news

• Heard the liquor store report that showed the combined gross sales for the month were up 11 percent from the prior year. Net revenues for the month were also up 2.24 as a percentage of sales from the prior year.

• Heard the police report that showed 178 calls for service during the month of May, which included 8 citations, 29 warnings and two arrests. Police chief Bobby Berndt also discussed a recent rash of car break-ins and is hopeful the suspect has been apprehended. 

• Heard the monthly fire department report that showed the department responded to 21 calls for service for the month and over 300 people were served at the annual pancake breakfast. The department is also going through the quotes for a new fire truck. The quote of the stock truck with all of the options will be $446,473, but not all of the options will likely be needed by the department and may be pared down.

• Heard that the utility department received two budgetary quotes to upgrade the fire alarm system at the City Center building due to unserviceable devices and the lack of new-old stock available for repairs. Utility Supervisor Kyle Mattson said he will begin to budget for the upgrade in 2024 with replacement in a few years.

• Mattson said the utility department has remained busy doing locates for a fiber optic installation project for Arvig. He said the department had approximately 20 locate requests last Monday alone. 

• Accepted the following donations: $206 from Farmers and Merchants State Bank and employees for the Legried Community Pool, $5,000 from Sara Oday in memoriam of Nikki Rogers for the NY Mills Dog Park project, $100 from Julie Adams for the NY Mills Dog Park project and $500 from Seip Drug for the NY Mills Dog Park project. 

• Heard a report on the emergency plan for the city’s natural gas lines and system. The report was just to make the city council and city officials aware of the plan and what it should do in the case of a natural gas emergency. 

• Approved setting Juneteenth as a paid holiday for full-time staff.