The first order of business at last week's Canton City Council meeting was the approval of a resolution that will allow the city to forgive water and sewer over-run charges for the first quarter of 2014.

This measure was taken due to this winter's extreme cold temperatures, causing an increase in the community's frozen water lines. The over-run charges will only be forgiven on the usage amounts during the months of January, February and March.

The water meter readings will be taken at the end of the quarter.

The League of Minnesota Cities requires that a copy of the resolution be kept on file at the clerk's office for any possible discrepancy in the future.

City maintenance report updates were basically unchanged from last month.

Jon Nordsving reported the wastewater treatment plant is continuing to function although half frozen, although with the expectation of warmer weather, the melting snow is expected to increase water flow.

As of the meeting, there were no reported frozen waterline issues.

The council also approved the Municipal Pipe Tool Company five-year maintenance contract. The contract covers annual maintenance of sewer lines, including vacuuming, video, smoke tests and caulking as a part of routine servicing only.

It was also noted that no emergency needs are covered by the regular service contract.

There was only a slight increase in fees, rounded up to whole dollars. The annual minimum fee to the city is $2,000.

If the need arises for emergency thaw services, it was decided that Canton Plumbing and Heating may be contacted for usage of hot water or steam thawing of frozen areas, since this service would not be covered under the Municipal Pipe maintenance agreement.

Liquor store update

In an update on the progress of the remodel of the former liquor store building into the city office, Nordsving and Clerk Lolly Melander noted that no additional demolition is occurring due to the cold weather.

It was decided that the city should start talking to carpenters regarding the job once the internal structure and design is determined.

A south side handicapped accessible entrance was discussed as well as the previously reported need for replacement of floor and ceiling in the area of the former cooler.

Nick Presby will be reminded that the Pepsi cooler needs to be removed as he had stated he wanted the cooler for his business.

Because the expected project cost is under $100,000 no bids are needed; the city will be seeking quotes, possibly by the April meeting.

Canton Day Off

Cindy Shanks provided an update on the upcoming Canton Day Off celebration.

The musical events have been finalized with County Cousins, performing on Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. DJ Dewey will be doing the teen dance and State Line DJ will be doing the Raider Prom. Joe Sweeney and the Toe Tappers will also be performing after the parade.

The committee reported it has checked into the possibility of getting a generator to assist with the additional power requirements. Other options were also discussed.

There are several entries already signed up for the Semi-Tractor Show to be held at TJ's.

The Raider 5K was discussed with the route to be finalized.

Additional events discussed included the Raider's Reminiscence - an all school gathering at the Fest Tent, a special bingo event to be held on Sunday at 2 p.m. and also a possible bed race for Sunday, still in the planning stages.

The grand parade will take place on Saturday, Aug. 16, at 3 p.m.

Vendors are still needed and anyone interested should contact the city of canton clerk's office. If anyone knows of possible vendors, they are encouraged to have them contact the city as well.

Ross Duckett, co-chair of the committee in charge of the barbecue cook-off and Bloody Mary contest gave a brief update.

Judging is to be held at noon on Saturday for the barbecue cook-off.

The Bloody Mary contest winner will be determined by a people's choice system; participants will be required to pay a $20 entry fee and judges will pay $2 to vote.

As a part of the discussion, the possibility of adopting a city flower planter was introduced.

Area residents could "adopt" a planter, with the soil to be provided by the city, but the plants and care to be provided by the individuals adopting the planters.

It was also discussed that entrants could pick their desired planter on a first-come basis by contacting the city clerk's office.

The week of the celebration, the planters could be expanded to incorporate a more elaborate theme or intricate plantings and then judged.

If there is enough interest, this event may be incorporated into the Canton Day-Off celebration, with judging on the planters to take place the week of the celebration.

The clerk's office should be contacted to find out more details and request a planter to adopt if interested.

It was noted that the planting and maintenance of the Canton welcome sign planter on Highway 52 will be completed by the city. Mayor Donivee Johnson will be taking charge of this project, checking into costs and options to reconstruct the planter area.

Finally, it was noted that Canton Day-Off T-shirts are now available and can be ordered at the website. This is also a good resource for updates on the event as well as contact information.

Property concerns

Another topic introduced into discussion was the situation with Main Street property owned by Danny Whalen.

It was discussed that it is not only a physical problem due to violation of the junkyard ordinance; it is a safety and fire hazard to both the proposed new location of the city clerk's office and also the planned Canton Day-Off event.

There have been calls made to council members as to the condition of Whalen's property.

The city clerk was directed to contact County Attorney Brett Corson for possible permanent solutions to the issue as in the past there have only been temporary fixes with Whalen returning to his prior habits after time passes.

Whalen is also reported to have damaged the city bench by his property this last winter when removing snow. The leg is reported to have been bent; costs for replacement and or repair are to be determined as well as options for assessing the costs to Whalen.

Updates will be given at the next meeting and no formal action was taken.