David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
- Member for
- 1 year 2 weeks
WILLMAR -- City Council member Ron Christianson and City Administrator Charlene Stevens differ on filling an expected vacancy in the Public Works Department. Christianson told Stevens during last week's Labor Relations Committee meeting that he was not comfortable with her judgment in filling the public works superintendent position, based on "things'' that have happened. "That's your opinion,'' responded committee member Denis Anderson. "That's not shared. I think we're way out of bounds.''
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council Labor Relations Committee is recommending the council move forward with filling a soon-to-be-vacant Public Works superintendent position. The committee discussed and voted to recommend the council fill the vacancy that will be created by the July 8 retirement of longtime superintendent Ron Gilbertson.
WILLMAR -- Consultants are meeting this week with elected and appointed officials and community members from Willmar and surrounding cities as part of the Vision 2040 process of identifying goals and developing an action plan to meet those goals by 2040. During a meeting Tuesday that lasted a little more than an hour at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building, Rebecca Ryan, founder of Next Generation Consulting of Madison, Wis., asked about three dozen officials to keep in mind the people who will be in positions of leadership 27 years from now.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council will hold a public hearing June 3 on an ordinance amendment that would allow higher garage doors to accommodate tall recreational vehicles in residential areas. The city Planning Commission is initiating the amendment to increase the height of a garage door from 10 feet to 12 feet, which is considered high enough to allow RVs with air conditioning units on top, but still low enough to keep commercial vehicles and equipment out.
WILLMAR -- Civic Center Manager Kevin Madsen has received the Distinguished Service Award on behalf of the city of Willmar from Minnesota Day Activity Centers, an advocacy group for organizations that provide services to people with disabilities. The award was presented to Madsen at the Monday night City Council meeting by Lee Wierschem, a job coach and human services technician at Crossroads of Willmar, a day treatment and habilitation service. Crossroads works under the Minnesota State Operated Community Services program.
WILLMAR -- Willmar City Council member Steve Ahmann failed in two attempts Monday night to persuade the council to act on developing an action plan and recommendations that address local plant closings and job losses. Ahmann first offered a motion that the council formally act to find a business to buy the site occupied by the long-time promotional products manufacturer Molenaar LLC. Molenaar was sold in April and will close in June. The motion died after Ron Christianson withdrew his second.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council has voted to direct City Attorney Robert Scott to draft an ordinance that would create licensing provisions to allow a brewery tap room. The council acted Monday night on a Public Works/Safety Committee recommendation to have the attorney draft the ordinance in consultation with the police chief. The committee made the recommendation after city staff received a request recently from an unidentified individual to create a new category of liquor license for brewery tap rooms, reported committee chair Ron Christianson.
WILLMAR -- Prices paid to grain farmers for their crops have increased in recent years, but so have seed, fertilizer, chemical and other costs. The average cost of producing a bushel of corn has about doubled during the past 10 years, according to the 2012 annual report of 505 central and west central crop and livestock farms participating in the Farm Business Management program. "I think the real story in crop farming is input costs are on the rise,'' according to Jim Molenaar, regional Farm Business Management director at Ridgewater College.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council's Finance Committee could be nearing the end of its discussion on proposing higher sewer rates to pay debt service, operation and maintenance of the $83 million wastewater treatment facility. The committee asked finance consultant Springsted Inc. of St. Paul to study the effect of shifting more of the increase onto the water meter charge. Whatever revenue can be captured on the meter charge could be reduced on the consumption charge.
WILLMAR -- A Willmar business just outside the city limits is requesting municipal water service, and a committee has given its approval of the concept. Arnold's Inc., a farm equipment dealership just south of the city on U.S. Highway 71, is planning a major expansion to repair larger equipment, and John Arnold told a city committee this week that the business is required by state building code to provide a fire suppression system. Arnold told the Public Works/Safety Committee that the least complicated and most economical option would be to connect to city water.