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Willmar, Minn., Mayor appoints nine to study downtown garbage problem

WILLMAR - As promised, Willmar Mayor Frank Yanish has appointed a task force to study and offer recommendations for improved garbage and trash storage and collection in the downtown area.

The council two weeks ago directed Yanish to appoint the task force after hearing complaints from two downtown business people about seeing and smelling food waste and garbage sitting on the ground or piled on top of garbage containers or spilling out of garbage containers.

The council voted Monday night to support Yanish's appointment of Stephen Deleski, Abduallahi Omar, Don Williamson, Tom Amberg, Linda Mathiasen, Jason Dougherty, Charly Leuze, Joline Hovland, and council member Tim Johnson. The city staff liaison is city planner Megan DeSchepper.

In other business during a 40-minute meeting, the council:

* Authorized the Police Department to apply for a Walmart Foundation Local Community Contribution grant of $1,000 for the "Shop With A Cop'' program. The department has participated in the program since 2004 in which officers volunteer to assist needy children in selecting and wrapping of Christmas gifts for family members and loved ones.

* Accepted the only bid received of $251,896 from Duininck Inc., of Prinsburg, to improve the recreation trail from downtown to Robbins Island. The city will pay $50,379 with revenue generated by the local option sales tax and the Minnesota Department of Transportation will pay the remainder. The work includes reconstruction of the trail from Robbins Island to the First Street Bridge and reseeding the areas disturbed during construction.

* Voted to increase the 2013 Community Education and Recreation budget by $7,619 to reflect increased cost of temporary employees' salaries, supplies and awards for a new adult soccer league. Community Education and Recreation Director Steve Brisendine said the league is down from 12 to 11 teams. He estimated revenue at $8,400 from fees of about $600 per team. Revenue will be about just under $1,000 more than expenses, he said. Council member Denis Anderson, who is Finance Committee chair, said revenue comes through the Willmar School District and expenses go through the city and the amounts are reconciled monthly. He said the committee is concerned that members don't always necessarily know or understand all of the accounting. "I think we'll probably be looking into that a little further as time goes on,'' he said.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150