Annual business items were the predominant issue at the Jan. 8, Canton City Council meeting.

Discussion continued on the matter of rate increases for city residents for water and sewer fees. At the December meeting, the matter was introduced, with discussion as to the significant shortfalls in the recent past, as well as expected costs for the 2014 year, which would result in another shortage in the water and sewer funds.

The need to replace water meters, the expectation of significant costs to eventually drill a new well and the rising costs of operating the city system were mentioned as part of the discussion at the January meeting.

Clerk Lolly Melander reminded the council that the last rate increase was in 2004.

The sewer and water rates of other area towns was once again reviewed.

The proposed increases were again presented and the council voted to approve the increases to water fees, sewer fees and water/sewer overrun charges.

Approval was given to an increase of $7 to the current $10 monthly charge for water to $17, an increase of $5 to the current $28 monthly sewer charge to $33 and an increase to the water/sewer overrun charge with an accompanying decrease in the allowances for water and sewer allowable usage. Water overages were increased from $1 per 1,500 gallons to $2 per 1,000 gallons of water and sewer overages were increased from $2 per 1,500 gallons to $4 per 1,000 gallons.

It was estimated that for the 160 households in Canton, the monthly increase was projected to generate approximately $1,900 in revenues, which will help alleviate the expected budget shortages.

Public works report

Jon Nordsving explained the weather related maintenance issues that consumed his time this past week.

These included a frozen water main leak at the Seward residence, blower and aerator issues at the treatment plant and another water leak appears to be occurring, but its location is still to be pinpointed. The extremely cold temperatures made fixing these issues difficult.

Nordsving also led discussion on the Tri-County requirement regarding the city's back-up generator. It was decided the issue would be tabled to allow the city clerk to research the regulations and requirements as well as cost savings for peak alert rate reductions versus the cost of maintenance and inspection of the generator to comply with the new EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) rules.

A comparison of costs and savings as well as a clearer picture of the possible options will be presented at the February meeting.

Nordsving also reported that he had contacted McCarthy Well and that company is also having weather issues and were behind on their projects. The date to complete their work in Canton is unknown.

Town hall deposit

Also discussed was the deposit fee charged for the town hall. Currently the fee for use of the building is $200 plus a $50 deposit, which was refunded when the building was checked to ensure that it was adequately cleaned.

It was decided that the deposit should be increased to $100 to ensure that the users of the building would not forfeit their deposit instead of cleaning the building.

Annual designations

The council approved its slate of 2014 city designations. Included were the News-Record for the official newspaper; First Southeast Bank as the official depository; Richard Nethercut as the city attorney; Pam Ristau as the city auditor and Cindy Shanks as acting mayor. The regular meeting date was set as the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m.

City fees

Also approved were the following fees for 2014.

Rent of the community center is $50; rent for the town hall is $200 with a $100 deposit; dog and cat licenses were $6 each.

New customer fees were set at $150. Disconnect and reconnect fees for utilities are $75.

Charges for sidewalk snow removal, for property owners neglecting their sidewalks was $90 an hour with a minimum of one hour charged per occurrence.

Liquor licenses were set at $610 a year for on-sale and Sunday sale and $100 for off-sale liquor sales.

Monthly garbage fees are $8 with a $1.75 per bag.

A new water meter is $85 and the fine for not submitting a meter reading is $30.

Other business

In other matters, the Council also approved the Resolution for Gambling for the Canton American Legion, administered by Mike Wilder, and the Resolution for City Insurance Coverage through the League of Minnesota Cities/Cray Insurance.

Jon Nordsving, as fire chief, gave notification of the department retirement of Larry Wangen and Brad Kerns from the Canton Fire Department. New members approved were Dillon Bergey, Sam Brekke and Nick Prestby.