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Colfax approves street use for Timber Technologies

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  The Colfax Village Board has approved the use of Third Avenue and Cedar Street by Timber Technologies for empty semi-trailers to travel to the business’s loading area on Legion Drive.

Tom Niska, co-owner of Timber Technologies, has asked for the use of Cedar Street for loading semi-trailers off rail cars at Legion Drive, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, at the Colfax Village Board’s November 13 meeting.

Niggemann said she had checked the village’s ordinances, and according to the ordinance, Rand Bates, director of public works could approve the street use without going through the village board, she said.

However, the application for a street use permit has been developed since the ordinance was adopted, and the permit asks for village board approval, Niggemann explained.

Timber Technologies has purchased a lot on Legion Drive by the railroad tracks for off-loading train cars carrying materials.

The business is located several blocks away on Bremer Avenue.

The empty semi-trailers will travel on state Highway 40 to turn west on Third Avenue and then north on Cedar Street to the loading area at the Timber Technologies lot on the corner of  Cedar Street and Legion Drive.

The full semi-trailers will take an exit route east on Legion Drive to state Highway 40 and back out to Timber Technologies at 106 Bremer Avenue.

Mark Halpin, village trustee, said he happened to be home one day when a truck hauling for Timber Technologies drove past his house on Cedar Street.

Halpin said he gave chase on his lawn mower and tracked the truck down. The driver said he had permission. Halpin checked with Niska, who said he had received permission from Scott Gunnufson when Gunnufson was village president.

“I do not remember that coming before the board,” Halpin said.

Halpin wondered if there would be signs put up directing truck traffic.

Each of the drivers will have a copy of the permit, which includes details of the route, Niggemann said.

Cedar Street has been experiencing problems with drainage, and the street is not built to withstand heavy truck traffic.

Village officials have been concerned about Timber Technologies’ truck traffic, but no one has mentioned the end loader from Timber Tech that travels on Cedar Street, Niggemann noted.

The village must work with the businesses because the businesses are valuable to the village, she said.

Driving the end loader on Highway 40 would not be a safe situation, said Casey Rihn, village trustee.

Village board members must decide what they want to do and then work with Timber Technologies, Niggemann said.

Gary Stene, village president, suggested the village board address the street permit for truck traffic and deal with the end loader as a separate issue on another agenda.

Driving the end loader on Highway 40 on a regular basis would be dangerous, he said.

Village board members reached the consensus it would be acceptable to run the Timber Tech end loader on village streets.

The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved the street use permit for Timber Technologies.

The permit form requires the applicant to file with the village clerk-treasurer a bond in an amount determined by the Director of Public Works but not to exceed $10,000.

The permit form also includes the statement that as evidence of the applicant’s ability to perform the conditions of the permit, “the applicant may be required to furnish a Certificate of Comprehensive General Liability Insurance with the Village of Colfax. The applicant may be required to furnish a performance bond prior to being granted the permit.”

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Village Board:

• Approved a temporary construction easement for the Town of Colfax to work on improving 810th Street.

• Approved a contract with Weber Inspections to perform contracted building inspections from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018. Weber Inspections will collect all of the permit fees from the property owner or the contractor that will cover all the costs for building inspections. The village will not incur any cost for the inspections.

• Approved contracting for auditing services with Bauman Associates, certified public accountants. The audit of the financial statements for 2017, along with preparing and submitting other forms and reports, will cost from $24,440 to $25,545.

• Approved a health insurance plan with WEA Trust for 2018, representing a 7 percent increase over the 2017 insurance premiums. The monthly contribution for health insurance premiums in 2017 was $8,210, and with a 7 percent increase, would be $8,785.

• Worked on reviewing the 2018 budget and scheduled another budget review meeting for November 15.

Following a closed session devoted to discussing purchasing more land for the East View residential development, Stene reported no action had been taken.