Councilmen differ on 9th Street construction
The Rugby City Council met in regular session Monday and prominent discussion was held on construction at the southeast intersection of 9th Street and 5th Avenue.
Ward 2 Councilman Gary Kraft and Ward 3 Councilman Jim Hoffert questioned the proposed width of the extension of 9th Street going east toward the future Chalmer’s Addition subdivision. Ward 1 Councilman Neil Lotvedt, chairman of the Building/Property Committee, explained the proposal and constraints to the north and south of 9th Street.
The city has little room to the south because of North Dakota Telephone Company’s parking lot and little room to the north without needing to take land from Bill Hartl. To the west of the intersection, 9th Street is 42 feet wide. The proposal to the east of the intersection allowed for a 30-foot width between the outsides of each curb, with Hartl ceding 12 feet of his property to the city.
Kraft, a volunteer firefighter, is concerned that the proposed width will not adequately accommodate emergency vehicles, especially with snow taking up space in the winter. Kraft’s point was backed by assistant fire chief Darin Williams.
“That street width you’re looking at is going to be tight,” Williams told the council.
But widening the street more to the north is a concern for Hartl, the city attorney, who needs access to store a boat and other vehicles in the building near that corner. The slope going down to Hartl’s building is too steep currently and he’d have between 30 to 40 feet between the bottom of the slope and his building.
Kraft expressed annoyance that the council had not discussed the issue as an entire group. He questioned whether the proposed width of the 9th Street extension was benefiting Hartl more than the public.
“This has nothing to do with it being the city attorney’s property, Mr. Kraft,” Hartl responded. “Did I want to give up 12 feet? I wanted to give 10.”
Kraft pressed his point: “I don’t think we’re doing our due diligence.”
Kraft brought up the possibility of the city using eminent domain in order to get a wider road and Hartl said the city would have to find different representation.
Mayor David C. Cichos recommended tabling the issue and a special meeting was scheduled for Thursday evening (after Tribune publication).
Ordinances referring to nuisances,
The council addressed a letter submitted by resident LaNeta Pieterick referring to neighborhood concern of the living situation and conditions at David Duane Kramer’s residence in the 400 block of 2nd Street SW.
Five residents attended the meeting and asked the council to review alleged illegal activity, including urinating and defecating on the property in question.
City records show that water and sewer has not been hooked up to Kramer’s residence since April 2012. The concerned citizens were informed that the Lake Region District Health Unit of the state health department will be looking at the residence.
Pieterick’s letter also questioned why garbage was being gathered by Rugby Sanitation. Kramer is not being charged for garbage removal.
The letter also questioned the legality of two travel trailers on the property, allegedly being used as residences, and whether permits were granted for renovation of the house on the property. No permits have been granted.
The letter expressed previous fears of out-of-control bonfires putting the neighborhood at risk.
“The patience of our neighborhood has been used up in regards to this several year ongoing situation,” the letter reads. “It not only affects those of us who live within close proximity to the Kramer property. It is a detriment to the city of Rugby as well. We are asking for your help to enforce corrective measures and get our residential area back in compliance.”
Citizens in attendance expressed concern about testifying because of alleged “unstable activity” exhibited by Kramer. The 45-year-old was arrested on April 21 and charged with reckless endangerment, preventing arrest or discharge of other duties, and discharge of a firearm in a city. Kramer allegedly fired a gun into the air and was involved with a brief standoff with law enforcement.
The council discussed ways to improve junk being left in alleys and unlicensed vehicles that have sat on properties for long periods of time. Hoffert requested the ordinance referring to junk be enforced more often and cited race cars and other vehicles not fit for streets or highways. The council reviewed Ordinance 390, clarifying 10 segments, for the first reading. A second reading will be held at the July 7 council meeting.
Council discusses annexation
The council briefly discussed the proposed annexation south of Gooseneck Implement’s property on US 2 and north to the railroad. The annexation would include everything from that line west to the city limits.
Resident Butch Beaver voiced his opposition to being annexed into the city. Lotvedt informed him that all other landowners in the proposed area are in favor. Cichos said a 75-percent majority is needed from the affected area to be annexed.
Pet ordinance questioned
Randy Graber asked the council to review the city’s ordinance on pets. Ward 1 Councilman Neil Lotvedt and Ward 4 Councilman Arland Geiszler suggested dog and cat owners receive a copy of the ordinance when licensing their pet. Rugby Police Chief John Rose said he’s discussed the possibility of free licensing so the police and city can get a better idea of what kind of dog population there is.
Pet owners currently pay $5 registration fees for intact dogs and cats and $3 for spayed or neutered animals.
Resident Lynette Haggerty requested consideration for an addition to the pet ordinance, so that if a dog attacks and injures a citizen the owner’s address be posted in a public notice.
City approves water filtration upgrades
The council approved a $787,000 project to update the city’s water filtration system. The plan was presented by Antonio Conti of AE2S. Conti said the company would like to have the bid opening by the last week of September, so work can be done through the winter with a completion goal of June 2015. The city consumes less water in the winter, making it easier for improvements to be made then.
Ward 4 Councilman Terry Wentz, chairman of the Water, Sewer and Streets Committee, informed the council that he had a walkthrough of the project with AE2S. Wentz said the last update was 14 years ago and that the update is necessary as the filtration system has deteriorated and isn’t as efficient.
The filtration updates are part of the first phase of updating the entire water plant.
Wentz said the committee plans to wait until fall to fill an open position in public works. Wentz expressed confidence in the current staff of four. He added that the new sewer jet machine is working well.
The council passed a water and sewer service policy with a monthly scale of: $12 per minimum water up to 1,000 gallons; $4 per every 1,000 gallons after the initial 1,000; $6 for sewer (price increases after 10,000 gallons of water use); $21 for garbage service (Rugby Sanitation); $0.40 for landfill surcharge; $0.25 for flood control surcharge; $3.75 for infrastructure surcharge. The total minimum monthly bill is $43.40 based on minimum of 1,000 gallons water usage.
Envision expansion, chamber building removal approved
The council approved an application for a bulk storage tank of flammable liquids for Envision along US 2. Steve Dockter, CEO at Envision, explained that an 8,000-gallon diesel exhaust fluid fuel tank will be added below the existing diesel canopy.
An extra lane will be added to the north of the current diesel lanes and a 200-foot retaining wall will be installed north of the diesel canopy.
A 20,000-gallon diesel tank will be added west of the C-Store. The canopy for cars at the corner of US 2 and ND 3 will double in size to accommodate six more fuel sites for a total of 12.
Across ND 3 from Envision is the former Rugby Area Chamber of Commerce building. The council approved the removal of the structure.
Council approves tax exemptions measure for
The council approved adding a measure to the November ballot to ask voters to approve or decline allowing the city to grant property tax exemptions to retail businesses.
Ordinance on franchises amended
The council approved a recommendation of City Attorney Bill Hartl to amend Ordinance No. 389. Chapter 4.50 refers to franchises and Hartl recommended the addition of language referring to council approval of easements for companies interested in transporting electric or electric signals, natural gas or other materials.
The amendment also will reflect that a franchise may be granted by adoption of an ordinance or the granting of an easement.
Sidewalk removal, steel roof approved
The council approved a request from Randy Graber, of 434 4th St. SE, to remove the sidewalk to the east of his property. Graber also will be replacing the sidewalk in front of his house.
The council also approved a building permit for Gerald Broe, of 306 1st St. NW, to install a a steel roof on his shed. The roof will match the color of the shed.
Committees update council, armory renovations approved
Ward 4 Councilman Arland Geiszler, chairman of the Finance Committee, informed the council that he is encouraged to see the city sales tax coming in about $10,000 more than at this time last year. Geiszler said a financing mechanism needs to be developed to pay for water plant updates.
Ward 2 Councilman David Bednarz, chairman of the Ordinance and Recreation Committee, explained costs involved in training lifeguards and said pool manager Bonnie Berginski attended the training, so she will be able to conduct it in the future.
Ward 1 Councilman Neil Lotvedt, chairman of the Building/Property Committee, informed the board on options for replacement of doors and windows at the armory. The council then approved replacement of all westside windows and door frames at cost of about $23,834; replacement of south windows at cost of about $6,400; replacement of the southeast door at cost of about $6,525; and repair of the north door at cost of about $455.
The National Guard’s standing in Rugby is under consideration by the state. The guard currently pays a yearly rent of about $13,000.
Gaming, fireworks permits approved
The council approved an application for fireworks for Relay for Life, held Friday at Rugby High School’s Johnsen Field. The council also approved gaming permits for Rugby Jaycees’ events at IC Dubbles and Third Street Station, and a raffle permit for the North Dakota National Guard.
Gaming site authorization was approved for Rugby Amateur Hockey Association events at Northern LIghts Inn Lounge and Crooks Lounge.
The Rugby Eagles Club was approved to sell alcohol on-sale at the Pierce County Fair.
Mayor thanks council
Outgoing Mayor David C. Cichos thanked the council for their work during his four years at the helm. He apologized to the fire department for not having the new hall completed during his tenure.
Cichos is not seeking reelection. Ward 4 Councilman Arland Geiszler is the only mayoral candidate to file a petition.
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