David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
- Member for
- 4 years 7 months
WILLMAR -- Two Willmar Municipal Utilities officials last week toured the Montana open pit mine that provides coal for the city's power plant. General Manager Wesley Hompe and Power Production Supervisor Jon Folkedahl joined representatives of five other odd-lot coal purchasers from the Absaloka Mine, operated by Westmoreland Coal Company of Denver, Colo., and located near Hardin, Mont. Willmar Utilities, along with three schools in North Dakota, a cement plant and an ethanol plant, buy what's called odd lots -- small numbers of coal-filled rail cars. Most coal traveling through Willmar is
WILLMAR -- There will be no pay increases for Mayor Frank Yanish and Willmar City Council members next year. Yanish and council members discussed but took no action Monday night on a proposal by Yanish to increase the mayor's salary 12.5 percent from $12,000 in 2012 to $13,500 in 2013 and 20 percent for council members from $7,500 to $9,000. Yanish had included the increases, which total $13,500, in his 2013 proposed budget. The council will approve the budget Dec. 3. Council and mayoral salaries were last increased Jan. 1, 2007.
WILLMAR -- Nick Davis grew up raising 100 to 150 chickens on a farm north of Willmar and he felt the City Council would be missing out on an opportunity if a revised ordinance prohibiting backyard chickens in certain residential areas was approved. Opposition to the ordinance was also expressed in a letter by Amy Haugen who wrote that she and many others would be disappointed and disheartened if the council did not allow raising backyard hens. Their viewpoints did not prevail, however, as the council voted unanimously Monday to adopt a revised ordinance that prohibits raising backyard chicke
WILLMAR -- Gov. Mark Dayton began his statewide tour Friday afternoon to identify opportunities for future economic growth and barriers to that growth in Minnesota's important economic sectors. Dayton met for more than an hour with 12 representatives of business, industry, higher education, and city and county government at the MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar. MinnWest is a privately owned, collaborative business community for innovators in bioscience, agribusiness, technology and bioenergy.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council Labor Relations Committee will recommend the council fill a vacancy and return the number of sworn officers in the police department to 32. The council will consider the recommendation Monday night. City Administrator Charlene Stevens and Police Chief David Wyffels made the request to the committee this week to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Del Wagner. Stevens said the council earlier this year determined that 32 sworn fficers was the appropriate level and had authorized filling two vacancies that had reduced the number below 32.
WILLMAR -- After 40 years of working in the wastewater treatment field, Les Lange really knows his stuff. Fellow workers say Lange's wide knowledge, opinion and advice in the process of cleaning and treating wastewater will be missed when he retires today. Beginning in 1972, Lange worked at wastewater treatment facilities in Canby, Pipestone and Lakefield over a span of 14 years. He came to Willmar in 1986 and worked as an operator.
WILLMAR -- Individuals and families needing emergency food could begin receiving repackaged prepared food early next year for the first time at the Willmar Area Food Shelf. The food shelf has a new clean room and certified staff for accepting and repackaging food donated by caterers and restaurants. For example, if a caterer prepares three hotdishes for an event but opens only two, the caterer can bring the unopened hotdish to the food shelf where the food can be repackaged and either given to clients soon thereafter or frozen for later distribution. During the past three decades, the food
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission has approved the employment agreement with Wesley Hompe as general manager. Hompe, former staff electrical engineer and interim co-manager, was appointed general manager by the commission Aug. 27 to fill the vacancy created by the termination of former general manager Bruce Gomm earlier this year, but the employment agreement had yet to be finalized. The commission had tabled the agreement at the Sept.
WILLMAR -- Mayor Frank Yanish is proposing to dedicate a $240,000 property tax increase to increased street improvements rather than to general operating expenses such as salaries and snowplowing in the 2013 city budget. In addition, Yanish is recommending the City Council begin the process in 2013 of building up a capital reserve fund to help pay for equipment and other needs as part of a new five-year capital improvement plan. Yanish proposes a 2013 levy of $4,232,734, up from the 2012 levy of $3,992,734.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council is proposing a revised animal ordinance that would prohibit the keeping of chickens in certain areas of the city and would regulate the keeping of pigeons and rabbits. The proposed ordinance would replace an existing section of municipal code with clearer, more objective language for governing the keeping of animals within the city limits. The public will have a chance to comment on the proposed ordinance at a hearing Oct. 1.