By Jordan Gerard
Editor, The Caledonia Argus
The City of Hokah rang in the new year with the swearing in of a new mayor at its regular council meeting on Jan. 5.
Lee Tippery was installed as the new mayor, while council members Cindy Pfiffner, Tom Oldenburg and Jerry Martell were all re-elected and sworn in.
Tippery gave a short introduction of himself. He retired seven years ago from hauling fabricated metal and still transports bread to several food pantries in the county. He was the union leader for 39 years at his place of employment and said he’s a “by the book” kind of guy. He looks forward to serving the City of Hokah.
Library director Kirsten Plummer said her new library clerk was doing well, as she had experience working for the La Crescent library.
Plummer also relayed a question from SELCO (Southeastern Libraries Cooperating) concerning library employees’ holiday compensation. Last year, the library changed its hours to Tuesday through Saturday, as the community wanted.
With holidays that fall on a Monday, the library would be closed the following Tuesday and the employees are paid. The employees would not be paid for the Monday holiday because the library is usually closed on Mondays. The council agreed to the policy.
The council approved a permit for Gabriel and Darcey Cody, who wanted to make sure they would be able to build a separate 28x40 sq. ft. garage on an adjoining lot they planned to purchase. The planning and zoning commission said yes, but the council did not take action on it.
The consensus was they did not have an issue with the garage being built, as long as the dimensions were finalized and met the setback requirements. Once that was determined, then they could apply for a building permit.
The council re-visited a permit application from last month. The property owners at 112 Main Street originally applied for a conditional use permit to install an apartment unit on the ground level of their building, which is in a commercial district, resulting in the need for the CUP.
However, for each apartment unit, 1.5 parking spaces are needed. Last month, the council approved the plan for 4.5 parking spots, as there would be two apartments. Now the owners are asking for two apartments on the ground level, which would result in the need for 6 spots. The owners did present a plan for those 6 spaces, which include the removal of a tree, rear porch and garage.
The council requested the owners come back to the planning and zoning commission with a final plan and then the council could look more closely at it in February.
The council approved the purchase of new historical signs to replace ones that had been ruined by rain and mud. The new signs are made of sturdier material and will have a silicone seal around it. The cost is $988.
In line with organizing for 2021, the council set appointments, bank depositories and set the Caledonia Argus as the official newspaper.
The next meeting will be Feb. 2, at 6 p.m. in the community room at the fire station.