By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
Because of the forced shutdown for at least two and a half months, the City of Watkins decided at its May 14 council meeting to refund 25% of the annual liquor license fees across the board (for all four categories of license) for those businesses that had on-sale licenses and were forced to close. The license fees normally go into the city’s general fund, so this is where the refunds will come from as well. The council also renewed liquor licenses for establishments in town.
With $2,012 in outstanding water bills, the council will send reminder letters to those that are more than 30 days past due. Late fees and disconnections were waived for May, but may resume in June for unpaid accounts.
The council agreed to continue reduced staff hours, with alternating schedules, until the June 11 council meeting.
The application for a chicken permit will now match the city’s ordinance: the applicant must be the property owner.
The city’s engineer, Kent Louwagie at Bolton Menk, suggested the city prepare a list of shovel-ready projects in town, in the event that stimulus funds become available for such. Steve Geislinger in public works will prepare such a list.
The council received an invoice from CP Rail for rent of the parking lot along the railroad tracks and Central Avenue, from May 2020 until May 2021. Last year’s invoice was not paid because doing so was deemed to lock the city into a new lease, one that would increase each year and that would make the city liable for any accident or mishap along the tracks in the city. This current invoice was deemed by the city’s attorney to be based on the old lease, however, and the council agreed to pay it; the one-year rent invoice is for $1,144.27. There was no mention of McCarthy Park rent, nor was there a past-due amount indicated from last year.
Jean Reinert has been planting and placing planters around town. She also will install plants in McCarthy Park, and the city will reimburse her for them.
The city will “get the ball rolling” for the tax abatement for the apartment project coming soon. A public hearing could be as early as June 11. (Also, the city just learned that the entry to the apartment complex likely will be from Western Avenue rather than through the townhomes.)
Watkins Ambulance received $5,700 in CARES Act money, deposited to their account, to be used for PPE expenses.
No decision has yet been made about Kraut N Wurst this year, although council member (and firefighter) Marc Wirz indicated that it looks as though the fire department may either cancel this year, or postpone it and hod something scaled down at a later time. The annual raffle will still happen, no matter what.
The next regular meeting of the Watkins city council will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 11, again by telephone.