To the Editor,

As one of five New York Mills council members, I would like to share some of the recent 2023 NY Mills council topics.  I am presenting this from my perspective, not official council reporting.  Three topics come to mind: City owning the formerly “County Building.” Snow Removal Challenges, and Utility Services in South Point.

The council now meets for monthly and special meetings in the recently acquired City Center building located at 118 North Main.   For many of us, we remember the community/ chambers room that is now used for meetings, as the “high school library.” Top floor, north end, of the 1961 school addition.  Others may still identify the building as the “County Office” building.  That reference is still somewhat true. Otter Tail County contacted the city in 2019 with the suggestion that the city gain ownership and management of the building and the county would continue to utilize the east side for various county departments assigned to New York Mills. 

At approximately the same time, the city sold its public works/utility building, located on the west side of town, to Brunswick, Inc. With expansion plans previously established by the city, that site was designated to be expanded in size for storage, testing, training, cleaning equipment and vehicles, as well as on-site routine repairs and maintenance. That plan quickly was realigned with the acquisition of the “county office building.” The city recently added to the north side of the City Center building.  

The new addition is the addition previously planned to be added to the west side/north Boardman Avenue city garage.  It now provides a heated vehicle space, chemical testing area, training space, storage, etc. Last spring, the city also purchased a storage and maintenance equipment building located east of the city library. Some of us refer to it as the “old hardware store” building. That building, located at 19 North Tousley Avenue, now allows the city to stock sand/salt indoors as well as out-of-season city decorations/banners, various equipment and seasonal maintenance attachments, public works inventories, etc. 

At a recent council meeting, the members deliberated the topic of “Calendar Parking.” No action was taken and likely will not be undertaken for several months.  The consideration of a calendar parking plan would probably run from October 1 to April 1. The advantage with alternately parking is that city crews could plow a complete side one night and the alternate side the following night. I think we have all witnessed the narrowing of the streets due to the frequent snowfalls.   Some cities utilize a parking ordinance called “Snow Emergency- No Street Parking.”   Unlike snow emergency—no parking, the calendar parking model does not remove all vehicles from city streets for varying amounts of time. It simply requires vehicles, during the six winter months, to park on even house numbered sides of the streets on even calendar dates and odd numbers side parking on odd calendar dates. I can see an advantage in better snow removal. However, since the topic has not come up before, each of us have to think about the pros and cons.   It is a possible ordinance that the city council may considering approving after due community input along with a public hearing. 

The council also recently approved a construction contract to extend the city utilities beyond the Southside Addition into the northeast part of the South Point Addition.  The gas, water, and sewer infrastructure would move south across Willow Creek Lane (formerly, east Walker) via the public utility easement in the back alley lane west of County highway 67.  This is in coordination with the 60 unit apartment complex commencing this spring. 

Thanks for your time and your interest in the City of New York Mills.

Jerry Nesland,

New York Mills City Council