By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
Ten years ago, areas of Belle Prairie Township were annexed into the city of Little Falls. The agreement between the township and city in 2003 states the remainder of the properties not already annexed, could be annexed by Dec. 31, 2013.
With a lot of paperwork to complete before that time, Little Falls Finance Officer Lori Kasella told the Council a resolution would need to be passed before the annexation could take place.
The properties that could be annexed are located for the most part, Kasella said, west of Highway 10 to the Mississippi River, from the north limits of the city.
She said mostly, everything up to 13th Avenue to the old Crestliner building and IWCO was within city limits, but that some properties behind Crestliner and IWCO, between them and the Highway 10 bypass will be annexed. So too, everything west of the railroad tracks up to the Belle Prairie Church, with the exception of the Central Minnesota Ethanol Co-op and Cabin Fever, which are already annexed into the city.
“The agreement talks about everything west of the railroad tracks,” she said.
About 200 properties and 400 voters would be added to the city, beginning in January 2014.
Kasella said based on payable 2013 figures, the estimated market value of the annexation area is about $32.026 million and the taxable market value $27.052 million.
City staff will work on preparing the resolution and paperwork for the Council.
Several council members indicated some of their constituents expected they would automatically be annexed into the city.
Affected property owners will receive information from the city.
Little Falls City Council Briefs
During its work session Monday, the Little Falls City Council:
• Discussed banning body traps in the city as requested in a petition by Theresa Skorseth and directed City Administrator Dan Vogt to research what is done in other cities;
• Discussed referring to Paul Reuvers, the attorney representing the city in the lawsuit brought against it due to its former sign ordinance, a petition signed by 116 people who visited a garage sale in the city, to allow those holding a garage sale within city limits to again post garage sale signs. Council Member at Large Brian-Paul Crowder said he thought when they first voted on the sign ordinance that it could be amended to allow garage sale signs. Council Member Jeremy Hanfler said the attorney advised they wait until the lawsuit was over before amending the ordinance;
• Heard a request by Jeff Waldvogel of JMR2 Investments to replace an advertising bench on Highway 27 and LeMieur Street that was taken down when construction work was done on Highway 27. Public Works Director Jerry Lochner said he would check with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) regarding its rules for placing the bench. The informal consensus was if MnDOT requirements were met, there should be no issue;
• Reviewed several cities’ policies for use of city facilities for meetings, put together by Vogt, who asked for council direction. City resident Robin Hensel submitted a request to use Council Chambers for a town hall meeting. Vogt noted there were not many requests for use of city facilities, but that the Chamber held its legislative updates and attorneys asked to use meetings rooms for depositions. Vogt was asked to put something together for the Council to review, with the help of a task force consisting of Council Members Greg Zylka, Mayor Cathy VanRisseghem and Crowder;
• Looked at examples of signs to be posted around the city directing visitors to area attractions. One example was blue with white letters; one example was white, with green and blue trim and black lettering, with a bit of adornment at the top. For the 27 signs, going with the blue (or all green) would cost approximately $4,575 and going with blue, white and green approximately $5,250, as bid by Froggy’s Signs and Graphix; and
• Heard from various council members the railroad tracks on Broadway after crossing the bridge are too bumpy after the upgrade and that the slab by the old ambulance garage by the dam needs to be cleaned up.
Items moved to the regular meeting agenda were not addressed because the regular meeting was adjourned just after the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
The Council’s next meeting is Monday, June 17, at 7:30 p.m., at City Hall.