David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
- Member for
- 2 years 9 months
WILLMAR -- The owner of a fire-damaged house has 30 days to either repair or remove the structure at 201 Havana St. N.E. in Willmar. The City Council this week declared the house an unsafe structure. Bruce Peterson, planning and development director, said the city's next step after the council made its declaration is to notify the owner, Maria Pedraza, that the house must either be repaired or removed. Pedraza's last known address is 201 Havana St. N.E.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Charter Commission will be taking to the voters the amended City Charter that failed to win City Council support earlier this month. The nine-member Charter Commission voted Tuesday afternoon to place the amended charter on the Nov. 6 general election ballot and to ask City Attorney Rich Ronning to draft the ballot question. The question would ask Willmar voters whether or not they approve the charter as amended. Charter Commission members asked that the draft question be ready for their discussion at the next meeting on Feb.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council Tuesday night voted to order the city engineering department to prepare the 2012 improvement report.
WILLMAR -- Mayor Frank Yanish broke two City Council 4-4 votes Tuesday night that will lead to hiring two replacement police officers. Yanish's votes came at the end of nearly an hour of discussion on a motion from the Labor Relations Committee to the officers. The committee supported a request from City Administrator Charlene Stevens and Police Chief David Wyffels to fill a patrol officer position vacated in July of 2011 and to replace a patrol officer position that will be vacated as of Jan.
WILLMAR -- Quam Construction of Willmar was called by Willmar Municipal Utilities today to repair a break in a 12-inch water main on Fourth Street Southwest between Minnesota Avenue and Monongalia Avenue Southwest. It was one of two water line breaks that happened Monday night or early today. Bart Murphy, superintendent of the utility's water and district heating department, says he believes external corrosion from the soil, and possibly frost action, caused the break in the ductile iron pipe, which was installed in 1977 under Fourth Street. Murphy said corrosion is not atypical in Willmar.
WILLMAR -- Fewer vehicles and a slower economy are posing challenges for used-car dealers. Kelley Blue Book, the leading provider of new car and used-car information, predicts used-car prices are expected to remain high for the next two to three years, due to a gradual decline in new-car sales dating to 2008, as well as a drop in the number of leased cars becoming available at the end of their contract terms. Kelley says the price of the average 1- to 3-year-old used vehicles has risen 15.8 percent per year.
WILLMAR -- City Public Works Director Holly Wilson is proposing 3.18 miles of street reconstruction, new construction and overlays, and new path and sidewalk construction for 2012. The overall miles are up slightly from 3.06 miles in 2011 but down from 4.97 miles in 2010 and 5.02 miles in 2009. This year's street work is down because bonds that will be sold to finance 2012 projects include money to pay for reconstruction of streets in 2011, according to Wilson.
WILLMAR -- Willmar Police Chief David Wyffels is requesting City Council permission to hire a replacement for an officer who will resign at the end of January. Wyffels is also requesting permission to fill a position vacated by an officer who resigned last year. Wyffels wants to replace Officer Bridget Coit, who the chief said has served for more than 5½ years and is an exceptional officer.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission has approved a request for proposals which will be sent to companies interested in conducting an organizational assessment of the utilities. The RFP, as it is called, describes five areas that the commission wants assessed. The request for proposals was recommended by Commissioner Matt Schrupp who met with utility staff members during the past few days to draft the scope of services to be specified in the request.
WILLMAR -- Willmar Charter Commission members will convene in the next couple of weeks to discuss the next steps they might take after proposed charter amendments failed to receive the required affirmative votes of all eight City Council members to adopt the changes by council action Tuesday night. Charter Commission Chairman Shawn Mueske says those next steps can include a broad range of possibilities from taking the amended charter as defeated by the council to the voters in the November general election to making any kind of modifications that were requested by some council members and per