TOWER— New city council member Joe Morin is hoping to address the growing problem of blight here, and the council took action on Monday to form a committee to look at revisions to the …
TOWER— New city council member Joe Morin is hoping to address the growing problem of blight here, and the council took action on Monday to form a committee to look at revisions to the city’s blight ordinance and to develop a strategy to address the problem.
“Blight has a negative financial impact on our community in terms of property values, attraction of new residents and new businesses to the city,” said Morin. “Recent efforts have been successful in addressing a few blight issues, but many, many more exist.”
Morin said it will take “a well-developed, comprehensive, achievable, and sustainable approach,” something that the city has lacked for years.
The city had established an ad hoc blight committee last year, which sent blight letters to several residential and commercial property owners, which resulted in some improvements. But Mayor Kringstad said he had “felt like a lone wolf” on that committee, although he never called for a meeting of the group.
Other members of the council voiced support for Morin’s idea and they briefly discussed who to appoint to the committee. All agreed that some citizen representation would be valuable and the council directed clerk-treasurer Victoria Ranua to advertise for openings on the new committee.
Ranua urged the council to make some initial appointments to the committee, “to get the ball rolling.” Kringstad then offered to serve on the committee and Morin also agreed.
“This won’t be an easy one,” said Kringstad. “It won’t be fun, but it will be beneficial.”
Rose RV park
The council also took up the process for approving a water and sewer connection for the Rose RV park, currently under construction. Ranua said the city has received a request from Rose but when she researched the process for acting on his request, she found the city lacks both the appropriate application forms or a current ordinance.
Planning and zoning consultant Tony Jeffries noted that the city’s water and sewer ordinances likely became moot with the creation of the joint Tower-Breitung Wastewater Board, which now appears to have the authority to provide connections to the system. Even so, he said the city may need to approve an application for Rose in order for him to submit applications to the state Health Department and the Department of Labor and Industry, both of which have an oversight role over the installation and connection of sewer and water systems.
But that doesn’t mean the city lacks an interest in how the connection is done, according to city engineer Matt Bolf. Bolf suggested that the city consider drafting a development agreement with Rose that spells out how the RV park utilities will be laid out and who will pay the various associated costs. “There’s nothing like that in place now,” said Bolf. He also recommended that the city require that the sewer lines be televised to detect any sags in the line that could cause backups.
During the discussion, Kringstad diverted the council to an unrelated issue about how Rose is advertising his RV park online. He said Rose’s website was promising that park residents could use a 300-foot boat channel to park boats during the open season, and he said there was no channel in the current plan and that the issue could prompt legal claims against Rose that might leave the project unfinished. “Does anyone on the council have concerns about that?” he asked.
Rose, who was attending the meeting virtually, spoke up and denied Kringstad’s suggestion.
A review of the website for the Tower RV Resort shows that Rose is touting protected dockage along his 300 feet of riverfront, but it makes no mention of a separate channel.
Councilor Dave Setterberg tried to rein the meeting back in, noting that the issue was off topic. “Maybe we should get more information before getting into this discussion,” he suggested.
The council, then back on track, approved the creation of an application form so Rose can advance his project.
In other action, the council:
• Approved seeking quotes for the purchase of a sanitary sewer trash basket to intercept assorted trash that users of the Hoodoo Point Campground flush at the campground. The debris has regularly plugged up the lift station, requiring regular servicing by city maintenance staff. Ranua said the use of signage at the campground to discourage users from flushing garbage have been ineffective. The city will also seek a quote for a lift station controller at the Mill Point lift station. The controller has been malfunctioning since a possible lightning strike. Initial estimates put the total cost for both items at $5,700, which would be paid for out of the Hoodoo Point fund.
• Authorized the sale of a 1995 Polaris, six-wheel ATV as surplus public works property. The council directed Ranua to advertise the vehicle, with bids to be due on March 21. Bids will be opened on March 22. Setterberg said the vehicle runs but has a number of maintenance issues and needs new tires.
• Authorized the city to apply for grant funds that might fund a portion of the purchase of a new police vehicle this year. The city is obligated under its contract with Breitung township to purchase the new vehicle this year. Ranua said the vehicle purchase is in the city’s budget, but that a grant could free up some of those dollars for other things.
• Tabled a request by Ranua to issue a letter to the Gunderson Trust board reminding them of their obligation to provide quarterly financial reports to the city council. The board hasn’t submitted a financial report to the city in years. The trust board was set to meet later in the week and was planning to address the issue, so council members opted to give the board the chance to issue a financial report before approving a letter.
2 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here