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Council tables action on annexation referendum

GLENWOOD CITY — The City Council tabled more discussion on the matter of holding a referendum on the possible annexation of property from the Town of Glenwood, which is the proposed site of a sand mine.

 During the Public comment part of the meeting agenda, two people addressed the council. The first was Wallace Lindholm, who urged the council to take a good look at this issue. “There is a lot of controversy, you should look at a referendum.” Mary Alice Calhoun told the council that she was in favor of a referendum on the whole mining issue, “not just on the annexation.”

Calhoun continued, “The ordinance is half way to having a mine. If people say no, it should be no. Why are you guys deciding for us?” She stated that if a referendum says okay to the mine, then she would be okay and stop fighting it.

The decision to table action followed a motion by council member Crystal Booth that the city have a referendum in case of the possible annexation request for the Teigen and Crosby property. Council member Ben DeGross seconded that motion. Booth then added that the referendum would only occur if there were a request to annex those two properties. She also added that it would be a non-binding referendum. She also made an amendment to the original motion, and then DeGross withdrew his second.

Council member Nancy Hover commented that she was confused, because of the timing. Other members said it was too early and that the city has not had any conversation with Vista Sands about the mine. Mayor John Larson stated, “Since the new ordinance went into effect, we as a council have not been able to sit down and talk about it.”

Vista Sands is the company that is proposing to mind frac sand on property just south of the city limits.

The mayor asked three times for a second on Booth’s motion, but none came forward and the mayor declared the motion dead for lack of a second.

Booth stated, “The spirit of my motion was for us to talk about it.”

But the council continued to discuss the referendum question with DeGross stating that he would like a seven-month moratorium, which would put the referendum question at the same time as the General Election in April. But the Mayor had many items that he felt the city needed to know about such as water wells, dust, and the impact on Downing. “Things that will be addressed in the developers agreement,” the mayor said. Continuing, “We need to sit down with Vista Sand,” and “there is a lot of speculation now,” he concluded.

All members of the council voted in favor to table the matter and that will allow it to be revisited at future meetings. At the end of the meeting, it was learned that the council is meeting with Vista Sands in a Closed Session on September 16.

Street Improvement

Kevin Oium of Cedar Corporation addressed the council with an update on the street work on Third and Elm Streets. He noted about the solid rock on East Elm and the need for bigger equipment to break through to allow for utility extensions. He also noted that there was a double water main. One six inch and the other is an eight inch and noted that the contractor will have an additional cost dealing with that. He figured that there is three weeks of work left on the project.

Library

Nancy Hover spoke on behalf of the local library, noting that they had the first Tech Time in August and the next class will be on September 19, which is “Understanding E-Readers.” She also talked about the new budget for the library and asked the council if they would meet with the Library Board to go over the material in their budget.

In another Library matter the council voted on a resolution requesting exemption from the county library tax. Mayor Larson noted that the city budgets some $42,000 for the library, which is “way above the minimum required for exemption.”

Raze House at 520 Oak Street

The council heard from David Prissel, Glenhaven administrator, about the property at 520 East Oak Street. Prissel said that Glenhaven purchased it with the intention of using it, but “we can not do that,” he told the council. He was requesting a raze order from the city to destroy the building or have the fire department burn it. The fire department is waiting for permission from the DNR to do that.

The council approved the raze order request.

In other council action they approved outdoor music for Al’s Boondocks for September 14 from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. They also approved buying no parking signs to be installed on the south side of Maple Street from First to Seventh Street. Police Chief Bob Darwin requested the new signs stating that at present there is no parking, but signs are only posted in the first two blocks.

They approved a 2013 police union contract and a two-year lease agreement with Hiawatha National Bank for rent on the city hall. The city will pay $500 per month plus the property taxes.