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January 18, 2019

1/3/2019 2:37:00 PM
New Public Works Director headed to Lindstrom, 3.2% levy hike OK'd

The Lindstrom Council mainly focused on the Northland financial assistance request at the Dec 20 meeting, (story Dec 27) but council members also:

~ Unanimously directed the city administrator to offer Matt Fraley the position of Public Works Director. He is with the City of Champlin now in the Water Department.  It was reported he is looking forward to a move to Lindstrom.  Mark Dzubay retired.

~ Granted a variance for a homeowner whose dwelling foundation, on Mary Place across from the high school,  was put in the wrong spot.  
The footprint setback is supposed to be measured from the  right- of-way and he staked the foundation back from where his lot meets the road surface.  Depending on the lot, there’s many feet that’s still is public right of way-- but is not visibly paved or improved-- in this case 10 feet.  

The foundation mis-placement came to the city’s attention in the fall with majority of construction complete.  The negotiated resolution is to delete the front stoop and move it to one side, to better align the  streetside of the new home with neighbors’ fronts.

~ Adopted the 3.2 percent levy hike for 2019 that was earlier embraced. The city will increase its local tax collection by $79,000 from 2018.  The vote was 4-1 with Council member David Waldoch opposed.

~ Waldoch also was the lone no vote on increasing firefighter benefits to $2,800 per year of service when qualified. It was $2,600 previously. Waldoch said he preferred being conservative  in case the investment portfolio loses value.  (In that case the city picks up the shortfall.) The fire relief fund ratio has reached 110 percent of what’s needed to cover projected retirements and city policy is to review the payout when that number is achieved.  Firefighter and Relief Manager Ryan Peterson told council the department requests the $200 hike as a “...little bit just to keep moving forward.”

~ The powerline undergrounding project in downtown has been in process for eight years.  The aim is to work with commercial property owners to voluntarily eliminate overhead distribution lines in town.   In an effort to close-out this project-- council last week approved a 50-year liability provision,  to entice the final few property owners to agree to bring in electric service below-grade.

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