Wykoff gets tennis courts for parking lot
Council members also question Kingsland plans
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 2:21 AM
The city of Wykoff will soon be the proud owner of a tennis court for $1.65 and change, plus approximately $200 to $250 in legal fees, thanks to an agreement between the city and the Kingsland school district in which the district will give the long-unused tennis courts to the city.
According to Wykoff Mayor Lyman Hare, tentative plans are to convert the courts into parking space for city vehicles and for city hall.
Hare also answered questions regarding the upcoming school facility decision in which Kingsland will be consolidated to the elementary and high school building, bringing middle school, or fourth through sixth grade students, to that site in Spring Valley. Hare stated that he had met with Kingsland Superintendent John McDonald this spring and attended the October school board meeting to keep himself updated on the process, but that he feels that while the board seems to have made a decision, the council should be patient and wait since "they're still in the planning.
"There are several issues, like our wastewater treatment plant - we're dependent on the school to bring in (revenue) for our water, and the other referendum isn't paid yet and that's a 20-year referendum," said Hare.
Councilman Mitch Grabau suggested that the council draft a letter of recommendation to the board stating that the city of Wykoff is not in favor of the district's intended action. He said, "A lot of people around town are not happy about this."
The mayor signed loan reapplication papers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the funding of the new wastewater treatment plant. He pointed out that even though the city does not have a replacement hired for city maintenance foreman Al Williams, a candidate has been found who might be interested in lending a hand while the council continues its search for a permanent replacement with a class B wastewater treatment license. The candidate is a retired wastewater treatment operator from St. Peter who has a class A license and is willing to consider filling in for the interim. Hare reported that he would keep in contact with the candidate.
Bill Pudwell of Blue Cross Blue Shield outlined the city's group health insurance options, even though at renewal on July 1, the city will no longer have a "group" to insure in light of Williams's retirement and city clerk Cheryl Davis being the only remaining city employee. He forecasted anywhere from an 18 percent to a 60 percent increase in health insurance costs for the city's portion, but advised the council to settle at "at least 30 percent" as a starting point.
Next, changes to the city's personnel policy - made by the city attorney, Tom Manion - were accepted.
Wykoff Fire Chief Wade Baker asked for permission to purchase fire extinguishers for the department's trucks, as there is only one and it is not properly installed. The council granted him $363 to buy the extinguishers. He then inquired as to whether the department could list a 1977 grass rig for sale because the department has replaced it with another vehicle.
The question arose regarding what should be removed from the truck before its proposed sale. Baker responded to Hare's inquiry about the lights being taken off, saying, "I don't know of anybody who sells them without the lights on. I've seen people driving them in parades and on farms, so they just become private vehicles." The council approved listing the vehicle, with a minimum bid of $2,000.
Baker also advised the council that the city's insurance rating for fires would come under consideration in the coming weeks, as the institution responsible for surveying municipal water systems and determining the related risk of inadequate fire response would likely be making a visit to Wykoff. The matter is important in that if the city's fire readiness is rated substandard, home insurance rates will go up across town.
Lastly, the council approved the annual snow removal agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for State Highway 80, which is also Wykoff's Gold Street, and gathered volunteers to assist Williams in putting up the city's Christmas lights.