By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
At its Dec. 4 regular meeting, the Kimball city council approved liquor license renewals.
No one attended the meeting for the Truth in Taxation hearing.
Luke Johnson of Meeker Cooperative discussed the fiberoptic and wifi internet they are bringing to all customers of Meeker Coop and the communities (like Kimball) along its path. Meeker Coop is requesting an easement in the property used for irrigation by the city; what they need is an off-road right of wan the length of the wifi pole plus 10 feet. It is believed that anyone renting the land should be able to farm around the pole; there will be no buildings or foundations on the site. The pole will have an antenna for wifi; the fiberoptic lines will be buried. One such line will be along 83rd Avenue. Meeker Coop is planning to install 45 such monopoles throughout the county in order to serve the entire area. Another pole will be on Powder Ridge. The “brains” of the operation will be on top of the pole; there will be no working parts at the base of the pole. Meeker Coop plans to blanket the entire area without any dead spots. Wireless will be available in 25 and 50 MB service, and fiberoptic up to 100 MB. The service will begin in Litchfield in Spring 2019, and Kimball will be part of that first phase, Johnson said, perhaps getting the service next summer. The entire project should be completed by 2020.
Johnson said Meeker Coop pays for any crop damages, should a truck need to access the pole in a field, with no questions. The city asked that he add that language to the contract. He was to draft a letter the next day to send to clerk Nicole Pilarski.
Jon Lentz attended the meeting. He is supervising the Kimball Police Department until a new police chief is found, spending about 10 hours a week, usually two half-days. In-between, road sergeants will be the day-to-day supervisors for the two Kimball police officers who are pretty much keeping their same shifts as before the chief resigned.
Mayor Tammy Konz said she spoke with Fair Haven Township and said “they’re good.”
Lentz had already received a call to the high school on an issue.
He said that he will talk to Officer Abel about the GPS she installed in her squad car. “I was impressed that she did that on her own,” he said. The purpose of the GPS is for Dispatch to be able to follow where her squad car is at any given time (for her safety).
Brian Kuechle on Linden Avenue asked to speak to the council about a $700 assessment to rectify improper water hookups along Linden Avenue. The original contractor, it seems installed joints to split one water line between two homes. The city ended up repairing it and assessed some homeowners, but not equally for the project. The project was around 1999. Because Kuechle was not present to discuss the issue, nothing was decided.
The Fire Department reported that they’ve already had the most calls this year of any year. Chief Schneider will not run for chief again.
Matt Serbus reported that the water tower mixer has been repaired for $3,700 and that it was to be here next week. He will help to install it (and save the city $1,000 by doing so).
The pre-construction meeting was held earlier that day with the contractor who was to start ADA improvements to city hall the next Monday. (We have since heard that there were delays.) There was much discussion with the council about a door that had been installed to the mechanical room, essentially on the second floor of the building but opening into the two-story-high council chamber. It could be a safety concern. The council voted unanimously to eliminate the door with the coming renovations.
There was discussion about a firearms and weapons ordinance for the city. The ordinance was approved, as was the conflict of interest policy.
Then discussion turned to light poles for the city. With the coming MnDOT work along Main Street in Summer 2020, standard light poles will be included in the project (and paid for by MnDOT). If the city wants to upgrade the light poles, however, it will be at the city’s expense. Photos of light poles in other cities were shared, but there was no overall agreement as to which style to choose, so they’ll keep looking.
Eileen Dahlinger wants to put together a beautification committee in town.
Dennis Loewen has requested an easement to land he purchased from neighbor Richard Eckman. That land is not accessible except by easement through city irrigation land, and Loewen would like to purchase a strip of land as access. It was determined that there would be no benefit to the city to grant such an easement, and that it would only cause problems (like having to re-submit an MPCA license for the irrigation land that would be reduced, with less vegetation being irrigated. The council voted to not sell land to Loewen.
The council agreed to pay PTO to police officer Chad Peka who has resigned.
They discussed changing the meeting time to 6:30 Tuesdays, and set the year’s calendar for meetings.
At the very end of the meeting, raises for the Kimball police officers was discussed. Both are at $16.80 now, and Abel has worked 15 months without a raise. The council agreed to give them a 50-cent raise for each six months worked, so $1 for Abel and 50 cents for officer Nick Walther. This will be retroactive. Abel asked that her backpay be paid out separately to alleviate the tax impact. Mayor Konz apologized for the delay in giving them raises.
The next regular meeting of the Kimball city council will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 19.