David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
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WILLMAR -- Mayor Les Heitke is cautioning Willmar City Council members to consider how the state's budget deficit may affect funding for local programs. "What we do locally and how to pay for it always has to be looked at in terms of what we might be burdened with from the state,'' says Heitke. The mayor offered his comment Monday evening to the council's Finance Committee as the committee began preliminary discussion of ideas to raise additional revenue to finance and accelerate the city's street reconstruction program. No decisions were reached. One of those ideas might be issuance of a
WILLMAR -- An architect's study says the Willmar Municipal Utilities could reduce its office and vehicle and equipment storage space needs and improve efficiency under either one of two reorganizational options. The space reduction could be accomplished by either constructing a new combined office and service center near downtown, or construct new facilities in the industrial park. Those options were recommended by GLT Architects of St. Cloud. Their study began a year ago and included visits by architects to the utility's facilities and interviews with employees.
WILLMAR -- Residents may notice many boulevard trees, previously trimmed for overhead power lines, have been refilling with branches and leaves each season.
Willmar Police said this morning that 42-year-old David Wayne Chambers of Willmar was arrested on assault and terroristic threat charges in connection with a five-hour standoff Thursday night at his residence in the 1400 block of 13th Avenue Northeast. The standoff began after police officers responded to a 911 call at 6:52 p.m. of a man with a gun threatening to kill himself and threatening to kill any law enforcement officer who came to his residence.
A dispatcher at the Lac qui Parle County Sheriff's Office in Madison described road conditions Thursday afternoon as "crappy'' as a winter storm brought heavy snow to the parts of the region. The dispatcher said state plows were working but county plows were not working.
WILLMAR -- Due to a short agenda, the Willmar City Council set a new record Monday for the shortest meeting: 12 minutes. The meeting started at 7:05 p.m. and was adjourned at 7:17 p.m. according to the official watch of City Administrator Michael Schmit, who was taking minutes in the absence of City Clerk-Treasurer Kevin Halliday. Schmit said the previous record was 15 to 17 minutes, but he couldn't recall the date.
WILLMAR -- Hangar rental rates will be going down Jan. 1 at the Willmar Municipal Airport under action taken by the Willmar City Council. Council members hope the reduced rates will fill seven empty hangars vacated by pilots who moved their planes to airports charging lower rates. Willmar has 18 hangars. Rates depend on the width of the door. The present rates of $160-$180 per month, plus utilities, will be reduced to $120-$140 per month. The Airport Commission recommended the rates be reduced.
WILLMAR -- Council members say they are not showing favoritism to Green Mill by delaying its penalty for illegally selling alcohol to an underage person. The council voted Monday to delay a five-day suspension of Green Mill's liquor sales until Jan. 3-7 as requested by the restaurant rather than imposing the suspension during holiday sales time. Finance Committee Chairman Denis Anderson reported the committee's recommendation to deny Green Mill's appeal. The penalty includes a $750 fine. Mayor Les Heitke requested comments from council members.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council voted Monday night to ask City Attorney Rich Ronning to outline the city's options for dealing with the gift offer by Templo Mahanaim Assemblea de Dios of two parcels of land at the site of the congregation's deteriorated church. The council also asked Ronning for an opinion about setting a precedent if the council accepts the condemned structure at 707 Litchfield Ave. S.W., and asked city staff to prepare reuse and financial plans for the property. The 88-year-old building had fallen into disrepair and the council on Nov.
WILLMAR -- Attention all Willmar snowbirds: Please fill out the Census form mailed to your Willmar address, rather than the form mailed to your temporary southern address. By filling out the form mailed to your Willmar address rather than the form mailed to your southern address, you benefit your home city and state rather than your temporary southern city and state. That's the message from City Clerk-Treasurer Kevin Halliday, a member of Willmar's Complete Count Committee, part of a national effort by the U.S.