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City Council panel approves grant applications

WILLMAR -- Requests to apply for and receive grants for the Willmar Police Department and Willmar Fire Department were approved this week by the City Council's Public Works/Safety Committee. The committee's actions are recommendations to the council. The council will consider the recommendations on Monday night.

Police Chief David Wyffels received approval for a grant application through the Minnesota Institute of Public Health for reimbursing the cost of alcohol compliance checks.

Wyffels said successful applicants will be reimbursed $30 per compliance check. Wyffels said the department twice a year conducts checks of establishments that are licensed by the city to serve alcohol. The checks will take place during the one-year grant period of July 1, 2011, to May 15, 2012.

Wyffels said the department has successfully used this grant in past years to offset the local cost of the compliance checks.

Also, the committee approved a request from Fire Chief Marv Calvin to seek a $2,499 grant from CenterPoint Energy to pay half the cost of a $4,998 photo ionization detector. The detector will be used during calls to hazardous material events to monitor the air and identify specific chemicals from petroleum-based products.

Calvin said the detector will provide access to critical data faster and more accurately than the current means of atmospheric monitoring and help the department make more informed public safety decisions.

In other action, the committee approved a request from Wyffels to enter into a work-study agreement with Ridgewater College from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012. Under the agreement, the college will pay 75 percent of a work-study participant's wage and the police department will pay 25 percent.

Wyffels said the department has participated in this same type of agreement in the past with great results when employing either summertime help or community service officers.

He said the program reduces the city's cost of hiring individuals who are attending Ridgewater College and quality for the program.

In other business, the committee:

- Approved a resolution declaring $1,796,223.84 in costs to be assessed for preparation of the assessment role for the 2011 street improvement program. The resolution says the city's share will be $809,308 and the share paid by benefited property owners will be $986,915. Wilson said the reconstruction cost is $59.76 per foot compared with $55.88 in 2010. Overlay cost is $25.46 per foot compared with $23.06 in 2010.

- Approved an application from Ken Viaene to keep 30 pigeons at 422 Charlotte St. S.E.

- Approved a request from Donohue and Associates for $2,643.41 from a $12,000 allowance fund to buy shelving, fixtures and furniture for the renovated office area in the old administration building at the decommissioned wastewater treatment plant. Much of the office area will be used for record storage, according to City Administrator Michael Schmit. He said much of the furniture in the former administration building is being reused. The furniture and fixture fund has a remaining balance of $9,356.59.

- Approved a permit requested by Zambelli Fireworks of Pequot Lakes to allow outdoor fireworks at six Willmar Stingers baseball games at Taunton Stadium. The committee specified that the fireworks display scheduled after the first game on June 1 should be completed by 11 p.m.

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