David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
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WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council will take public comments during a hearing at 7:02 p.m. Monday to consider an ordinance amending the City Charter. The hearing will be held during the council's regular meeting in the chambers at the Municipal Utilities Building, 700 Litchfield Ave. S.W. The amendments are being proposed by the Charter Commission, which was appointed by the council in October 2008 and assigned the task of revisiting and proposing amendments to the charter -- the city's governing document.
Willmar Municipal Utilities General Manager Bruce Gomm believes friction between himself and longtime employees who resented his authority and supervision led to his being placed on a 30-day paid leave this week while the Municipal Utilities Commission investigates possible misconduct by Gomm. Another contributing factor, Gomm said, was that he voiced his disapproval of "inappropriate" discussions between those employees and some Municipal Utilities Commission members.
WILLMAR -- Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission Vice President Dave Baker said Tuesday that General Manager Bruce Gomm is not terminated. The commission acted Monday to place Gomm on 30 days' paid administrative leave while the co-mmission in-vestigates wh-at has been described as activities disruptive to utility operations. Baker said Gomm is not terminated, "nor are we looking long-term at this point.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission voted Monday to place General Manager Bruce Gomm on 30 days of paid administrative leave while the commission investigates concerns that were brought to the commission's at-tention regarding management. The 6-1 vote was taken on a motion by Dave Baker after the commissioners emerged from a half-hour closed meeting, which Baker requested. After they resumed their open meeting, the commissioners approved a motion by Baker that Gomm be placed on paid leave while the commission looks into activities that Baker said were disruptive to utility
WILLMAR -- Appreciation for diversity and local business investment, and lack of green space and misperception about safety were recurrent themes raised by participants attending a series of four downtown improvement meetings Wednesday and Thursday sponsored by the city of Willmar and Willmar Design Center. City and Design Center representatives met with more than a dozen African community members, and then met with a handful of Latino business and community people Wednesday night.
WILLMAR -- Jill Bengtson says the arrangement under which she was appointed executive director of the Willmar Housing and Redevelopment Authority and the Kandiyohi County Housing and Redevelopment Authority is working well. The two HRAs have been sharing the same office area at the County Health and Human Services Building since 2003.
Approximating 60 citizens offered comments Tuesday night on downtown Willmar's greatest assets, what needs improvement and what changes are needed to current improvement plans. The comments will be distilled by a steering committee of city and Willmar Design Center representatives as they revise downtown improvement goals developed by the Design Center during the past six years.
WILLMAR -- No one from the public appeared to talk about their city taxes during the Willmar City Council's state-required Truth-in-Taxation hearing Monday night. During the hearing, the council received an overview from Finance Director Steve Okins of Mayor Frank Yanish's proposed 2012 budget. The council later adopted a recommendation from the Finance Committee to approve the budget of $31,706,422, up from the 2011 budget of $25,694,742. Okins said the 2012 budget is considerably more than the five-year average of $24,405,625 for budgets from 2008 through 2012.
WILLMAR -- Willmar Police Chief David Wyffels has commended five individuals for rescuing a Willmar man who probably would have died from injuries suffered last week when he was pinned and lay bleeding under an all-terrain vehicle. In letters to the individuals, Wyffels said the actions of Michele Ward, Janet Gunderson, Cheryl Baumgartner, Andrew Kodet and Tony Halls in lifting the heavy ATV off 35-year-old Jed Watje in the driveway of his home last week literally saved Watje's life. "I believe that you displayed civic qualities that you are to be commended for,'' Wyffels wrote. The acciden
WILLMAR -- When Roy Stiff incorporated his KandiComp digital services company in 2004, he immediately wanted to move downtown. He got his chance about a year ago when he bought and remodeled the former Kandi Cupboard Food Co-op building and moved earlier this year from Trott Avenue and Seventh Street Southwest to the new location at 412 Litchfield Ave. S.W. While the downtown may at that time have been a declining retail hub, Stiff said it's still is a very strong business hub.