Truman accepts county’s offer

TRUMAN — The Truman City Council on Monday reviewed a proposal from the Martin County Attorney’s Office, which is willing to provide prosecution services for the city.

The deal would cover prosecution of statutory gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor, petty misdemeanor and municipal ordinance violations occurring in Truman.

The city was given two offers, either at a rate of $150 per hour, plus out-of-pocket expenses, or an annual flat-fee of $8,000, plus out-of-pocket expenses.

The council discussed the two options, with Police Chief Justin Jobe weighing in. He pointed out that if someone wants to take a $200 ticket to court, it could end up costing the city a lot of money.

“It takes a lot of time. There’s a lot of prep work. You could easily end up with a [$4,000 or $5,000] bill on one case,” Jobe said.

The council ultimately chose the annual flat rate of $8,000. City Attorney Derrick Greiner said he would contact County Attorney Terry Viesselman to begin drafting a contract.

Moving along to other matters, the council discussed the city dump site, which is west of town and up for sale. Current owner Larry Krenz approached the council last month to see if the city would be interested in buying the site. Krenz got back to the council with a price. The dump, which is 4 acres, is for sale for $26,000. There are also several acres of farmland for sale, and the sand pit is listed at $10,000.

Krenz said he got an offer from someone else for the land, including the dump, for $55,000.

“I think if we let it go to someone else, we’re all going to be sorry in the future,” said council member Brian Nickerson.

Council member Jake Ebert agreed, but said he does not believe the city needs the whole area.

The city currently leases the dump from Krenz for $1,000 per year, but recognizes the city might need to pay more in rent to someone else.

The council is interested in squaring off some of the space, but wants more clarification on the boundaries. City administrator Bethanie Ekstrom said she would check with Krenz on the boundaries.

In other news, Mike Taylor, a resident of Truman and a Master Gardener through the University of Minnesota Extension program, was present to ask the council not to spray around the ditch by the pool or mow too closely because he collects milkweed in the summer months for the growth of larva/Monarch butterflies.

Street superintendent John Bosshart was present and said leaving extra room around the ditch while mowing would not be a problem.

In another matter, the council again discussed the city siren after a resident had requested it not go off too early on weekends. The siren sounds at 7 a.m. Monday-Saturday and has for decades. City administrator Bethanie Ekstrom checked with a city employee who said the siren is programmable. She noted it does not go off Sunday, only Saturday. The employee also said that other towns have done away with timed sirens because they can cause citizens to ignore an actual warning for a tornado or other emergency.

“I agree with that but we put it to a city vote not that long ago and they wanted it,” Ebert said.

“I say leave it alone,” said Mosloski, to the agreement of the other members.

The council made a motion not to change siren times and it passed unanimously.

Council member Kathy Hendricksen expressed her concerns regarding an upcoming vote on the fate of the Public Utilities Commission that will take place Aug.13. She said she has heard concerns from community members, and she advised the council to come up with a plan of action if the vote passes to dissolve the PUC.

“There’s a lot of things that need to be dealt with [in the case that it passes],” Hendricksen said.

If the PUC is dissolved, council members will take over the responsibilities of the three current PUC members.

Ebert agreed they need to have a work session or two soon to discuss their plan because absentee ballot voting opens for the election on June 28. Council members said they would compare schedules and plan several work sessions for either this week or next.