Council concerned about gun fire in Swanville city limits

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor 

Swanville Council Member Jay Bartkowicz said it sounds like a war zone with constant shooting at a residence on Springbrook Drive in Swanville.

He said he had called the Little Falls Police Department about whether a state statute was in place regarding shooting within a city’s limits.

“It gets a little scary if it’s a rifle; it only takes one ricochet (to hit a home or person),” said Bartkowicz. “There is shooting all day, every day. I love to shoot firearms, too, but there’s a time and a place for it.”

Mayor Sandy Peterson said she would contact the Morrison County Sheriff’s Department. “But the Sheriff can’t do anything without a (city) rule,” she said. “I think our city ordinance needs to be looked at — the whole ordinance.”

Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel said there is no state law, per se, that says residents can’t shoot a gun within city limits. But, he said, while shooting a pellet gun at a plywood board or a .22-gauge at a plywood board with a safe backstop may be fine, shooting a hunting rifle will not be.

“It’s individual to the circumstance,” he said. “We can’t just automatically say you can’t shoot in the city because there’s no law, but if they’re shooting in city limits in a reckless manner, we can do something about that.”

“Most of the time there’s a state law that’s applicable and we handle it under state law,” said Wetzel.

“The best thing is if people in town don’t want people shooting they should pass an ordinance,” said Wetzel. “Otherwise we can only respond to individual complaints and determine whether they’re reckless, unless city has an ordinance.”

Swanville City Council Briefs


In other business, the Swanville City Council:

• Approved an audit of the city’s street projects by Schlenner Wenner & Co. at a cost of $4,200 for the 2013 project and $4,500 for the 2009 project;

• Approved change orders amounting to the city paying $25,929 more to Larson Excavating for the 2013 water system improvements. City Engineer Mike Rude of Widseth Smith Nolting said he and the mayor had met with Larson Excavating for four hours the previous day to go over the changes;

• Learned from Council Member Jim Molitor that the sidewalk in front of Nielsen Hardware was deteriorating. The sidewalk was new as part of the city’s street project two years ago;

• Were reminded that the city’s Board of Equalization meeting will be held Tuesday, at 2 p.m. at the Community Center;

• Were informed the Post Office would hold a public meeting Tuesday, July 29, at 4 p.m. to discuss changes in its hours. All residents will receive a letter;

• Decided city staff could look at how to prevent water line freeze-up at a residence on Rhoda Avenue;

• Were reminded the city’s cleanup day has been set for Saturday, May 3, from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. A citywide garage sale will also take place and Peterson said she will try to set up bike safety training with free helmets provided to children;

• Were told the city must upgrade its computer system from Windows XP as Microsoft will no longer support the system. The city will also have to upgrade its software and Peterson asked that Clerk/Treasurer Julie Hollermann find software that may allow residents to pay their bills online. Hollermann will get bids from several local companies; and

• Held a closed meeting to discuss personnel issues.

The next Swanville City Council meeting is Tuesday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Center.