Summer ice will be coming to Fergus Falls in 2020 after ice fees were established Monday at the City Council meeting.

City finance director, Bill Sonmor rose to give the council some insight into the ice fees being proposed.

“We did extended ice last year for the first 18 days of April,” Sonmor said. “Typically the ice season is done at the end of March. That came out to be about $120 an hour exactly,” Sonmor said. 

In looking at the year as a whole Sonmor said the cost is a little higher so the decision was made to recommend a fee of $130 an hour. 

“That again is for user groups that currently use the facility,” Sonmor added.

“If this is successful and we look at bringing in out-of-town groups and starting to market our ice for the summer that rate will be higher than $130.”

Consent agenda items approved by City Council included:

• A resolution approving an increase in service benefits for retiring paid on-call firefighters.

• Approval to set a final cost hearing for PI 6071, the 2019 sidewalk improvements for April 6, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers.

• A resolution approving tiered fee structure for multiuse residential recycling.

• A resolution approving the 2020 lifeguard services agreement with the Fergus Falls YMCA for Pebble Lake Beach.

• A resolution initiating PI 9347, the runway 13-31 lighting replacement, authorizing the submission of the grant initiation request for federal assistance and accepting SEH’s professional services proposal for design in the amount of $63,200.

• A resolution initiating PI 5331, the 2020 mill and overlay projects and ordering the plans and specifications.

• The resolution initiating PI 5332, the 2020 seal coat improvement projects and ordering the plans and specifications.

• The resolution approving a variance for downtown riverfront improvements.

• A motion appointing Erinn Webb to the Public Arts Commission.

Council members Anthony Hicks and Scott Kvamme asked that two of the consent items be pulled for separate votes. Hicks wanted to know if the variance for downtown riverfront improvements had been discussed by the Planning Commission. City Administrator Andrew Bresmeth assured him it had been recommended for approval at the commission’s Feb. 24 meeting.

Kvamme asked that the sidewalk improvements addition to the agenda be pulled in order to inquire of Public Works Department director Len Taylor what process a Fergus Falls resident would follow if they “had a chunk of bad sidewalk they wanted to get on the list?”

Taylor told the council Troy Hauge is in charge of the sidewalk program. A call to Hauge at 218-332-5417 would be in order.

“Troy has a list of sidewalk that he has identified that needs improvement but homeowners can request to be put on the list and then there is a cost share,” Taylor said. 

By approval of a resolution the council awarded Delzer Construction the Vine Street stormwater outfall repair project  - Public Improvement Project 7745. 

Bremseth told the council there has been “significant soil erosion” around the existing outfall and Delzer’s $24,569 quote  would insert a new storm sewer structure. Bremseth added that the total project cost is just over $35,000 and would be paid through a fund.

“Funds are available,” Bremseth said.  

 The council heard first readings on Ordinance 97 and Ordinance 98. 

Ordinance 97 deals with amending city code, Chapter 6.22 - public nuisances. 

“This is pretty standard public nuisance ordinance language,” Bremseth told council members as they reviewed the reading. “It’s a model ordinance almost verbatim with a few minor tweaks here and there that the League (of Minnesota Cities) and their legal arm (American Legal Publishing) are recommending. It all seems pretty reasonable.”

Ordinance 98 amends the B-3 use chart and interim uses. 

Hicks asked a question that pertained to storage of property which the amendment would permit. He told the council a resident had contacted him with a concern that semi-truck parking in the parking lot on the corner of Cascade Street and Lincoln Avenue which was shared by the former Shopko store and the city might be overwhelmed by large trucks. 

Greater Fergus Falls executive director, Annie Deckert told the council that parking in the lot will be governed by an interim use permit.

“It is treated just like a conditional use permit (CUP) just on a smaller basis,” Bremseth added.

The Committee of the Whole will meet at 7 a.m. March 11. The next meeting of the City Council is set for March 16 at 5:30 p.m.

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