Taking care of business

Onamia Mayor Marge Agnew presided over the February meeting of the Onamia City Council and concluded the get-together with a review of the city policies which contained several revisions that will be voted on in subsequent meetings.

The Feb. 10 monthly meeting of the Onamia City Council was short and sweet, considering there was little or no controversy that arose. As per usual, the various department heads gave their reports.

Police chief Bob Matzke was not present but submitted a written report stating, among other issues, that vandalism and criminal damage to property, which had seen a rise toward the waning months of last year, had so far “quieted down.”

The chief cited kids returning to school with less idle time and the cold weather as possible reasons for the decline.

He also mentioned that he and his colleagues have been busy revising their new policy manual with an emphasis on compliance with crime reporting systems, which sends reports to the BCI and FBI.

Fire Chief Bruce Pederson reported that, with several resignations and retirements, his staff is down to 19 members.

He also said members of the department would be attending Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) refresher courses in mid-March.

The council and maintenance manager Gene Falconer discussed the status of the first phase of a city-wide water and sewer project scheduled for the next few years with the first phase to begin work in the next few months on city sewer pipe relining. Falconer alerted the council that many city sewer lines from individual homes to the main lines would be dug up, cleaned and relined. He said stakes would initially be planted in each yard denoting where the sewer line is and that the homeowner should not move those stakes. “This is going to cause many holes to be dug into lots of yards around the city,” Falconer said. He added that the company doing the work was planning on manicuring the lawns that were disrupted. The council expects the work to be done by this coming fall, and work on the second phase of the project, having to do with the city water lines, to begin next year.

Falconer reminded the council that a public hearing concerning the signage being installed on the new hospital buildings in Onamia would be held on March 11.

Falconer was asked to refresh the council and the general public as to the city policy on snow removal. He said they usually plow with two or more inches of new snow on the ground, but sometimes it is determined that two inches of snow is too light to bother with plowing the city roads. He did say that two or more inches of new snow is reason to remove cars parked on city streets or they would be tagged with possible fines.

It was also reported at the meeting that financing for the new 31-unit affordable housing project to be located on city-owned, 18 acres east of Onamia at the site of the former “Meat On Mille Lacs” was completed and that that project was set to start soon.

The meeting concluded with some discussion and reviewal of the city personnel policy, especially concerning several new revisions proposed. The council will take some time to review the new policy and approve it in subsequent meetings.

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