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B.E. Council denies requests

BLUE EARTH– The Blue Earth City Council debated setting a precedent at a regular meeting on Monday.

Discussion arose from two residents’ requests for reimbursement for private improvements to their properties, which were negatively affected by the city’s 2021 and 2022 street improvement projects. Both improvements were installed in the projects’ right-of-way.

Orv Terhark requested a reimbursement of $425 to Great Lawn Services for partial repairs to his sprinkling system, which was uprooted during a street improvement project. Bill Halvorson requested an $850 reimbursement for the removal of an irrigation system on his property following this year’s street improvements.

Bolton & Menk engineer Wes Brown told the council, “The way we’ve been handling any private improvements in the right of way is it’s the property owner’s responsibility to move it out of the way.”

Council member Ann Hanna responded, “If you improve in the right of way, I think you’re taking your own responsibility.” 

The council voted on the matter, passing a motion to decline both requests for reimbursement on a 5-2 vote. Council members Russ Erichsrud and Marty Cassem voted in opposition.

The council also discussed the city’s policy for accepting donations to the Blue Earth Community Library and Fossil Discovery Center, following local fossil enthusiast Jim Pollard’s donation of a large Pteranodon fossil to the library, which was purchased through local donations.

“I think we’ve reached a point where I don’t think our library can house any more (fossils),” council member John Huisman said. “I’d like to see the city giving (the library board) some direction. If we want to expand this thing, then I think we have to find another building.”  

The council took no official action regarding the matter, but decided to discuss the donation policy with Pollard in the near future.

In other business, the Blue Earth City Council:

— Received an update from Bolton & Menk engineer Wes Brown regarding the 2023 street improvement project.

Brown said that the project was not fully completed before winter conditions set in. Delays were primarily caused by material supply shortages early in the project and the sod contractor’s busy schedule when it came time to lay down sod. However, street and concrete work is complete. The remaining sod will now be laid in the spring.

— Approved Engineering Services Addendum No. 6, which contracts Bolton & Menk to work with city staff and the Park and Recreation Committee to develop a community-wide Park System Master Plan.

Bolton & Menk will be compensated $40,974 for their services.

— Granted an extension to the Faribault County Humane Society, which is rehabilitating a building in Blue Earth’s West Industrial Park area. The Humane Society now has until Feb. 1 to complete the project.

— Approved alterations to the city’s fees and rates for 2023. The council agreed to raise the impound lot fee from $5 per day to $10 per day. The council also agreed to raise the rates for administrative fines from $50 per day to $75 per day.

— Canvassed the local election results for the city of Blue Earth.

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