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Council wraps up odds and ends

In the city council meeting on Jan. 8, the council discussed matters from garbage to liquor to that old historic-looking clock.

To open the meeting, the council approved bills totalling $512,415.24.

The liquor store reported having a less than satisfactory year with a $13,908.36 profit lost in 2017 before any monetary transfers to the general fund, turbulent audits and a failed tobacco compliance check. They lost $5,303 in the month of December alone.

"Lack of people," liquor store manager Julie Didier said at the meeting. "That's all I can say. It's not just us. Other area stores I talk to have these issues."

The council suggested that Didier do monthly checks on inventory, to ensure they don't fall behind again. Councilmember Jim Snyder asked Didier why she thought the Osakis liquor store wasn't seeing as much traffic as other bars in West Union and Sauk Centre.

Didier suggested that people were scared of cops waiting and watching for people leaving the bar to pull them over for driving under the influence. She consented that the municipal liquor store's lack of food was also an issue.

Jason Schultz, the president of the First Responders, reported a record high 203 calls in 2017. It was the highest volume of calls in six or seven years. The First Responders service seven townships. Schultz drafted a letter requesting additional funds from all of the serviced townships to cover new equipment, training and first responders compensation.

Osakis represents 60 percent of the First Responders calls but pays 66 percent of the budget.

Fire Chief Travis Middendorf reported the fire department received 38 calls in 2017, which was fewer than last year.

Sheila Krohse, the city engineering, reported on the final loose ends they're tying up on the Downtown Renovation project. There's a crumbling brick facade in the downtown area. The owner of the property says the damage was caused by the sidewalk renovations. The contractor says there were cracks in the wall before they replaced the sidewalk.

"Nobody wants to pay for it," Krohse said.

Krohse is still seeking out estimates for how much it's going to cost to relocate the downtown clock.

The city council has been considering providing organic waste recycling options for the community but after meeting Organix, an organic waste collection service, councilmember Snyder isn't so sure.

"This is my fear. They sell the city the bags," Snyder said. "Then the people who want to do this have to acquire the bags. Who's going to want to do that? They're just trying to sell us the bags."

Snyder motioned to table the organic recycling idea until they could determine how much interest there was in the community. Councilmember Jerry Olson seconded the motion.

Councilmember Justin Dahlheimer is concerned that the cities planning and zoning ordinances aren't being adequately monitored and enforced, so he suggested hiring someone to be a local planning and zoning administrator. The current planning consult lives in the cities and it would be too costly to bring them up frequently to check on building codes.

"If you don't do these things right, it can be a problem for years to come," Dahlheimer said. "We're trying to be a little proactive."

The council voted to keep the time and date of city council meetings on the first Monday of every month at 7 p.m. The next city council meeting will be on February 5 at 7 p.m.