By Jordan Gerard

Editor, The Caledonia Argus

Hokah businesses will have a second chance at COVID relief, thanks to an approved application at the city council’s regular meeting on Sept. 1. 

The council allocated $20,000 of the federal relief funds to assist Hokah businesses impacted by the pandemic.

For this round, nonprofits and home-based businesses (except daycares) will be excluded, but there could be a second round of grant applications later, City Clerk Lindsey Martell said. 

Businesses need to be registered with the Sectary of State’s office as an official business and current on licenses, payments, etc. in order to be eligible. 

The applications are due Oct. 2, which will reveal how much of a need there is for relief grants. More information is available online at the city’s website, www.cityofhokah-mn.gov or by contacting Martell at 507-894-4990.

The city still has a cushion of about $20,000 left from the CARES act funding they received. 

Proposed budget/levy

The council approved the proposed budget and levy for 2021. It was approved with a 5% increase to the general fund, which was set at $250,474. The library fund was set at $22,000, while the wastewater fund was at $53,407. The only change was including water meter software in the capital outlay plan. 

In other city financial news, the council approved paying off $450,000 the wastewater debt service fund (a principal payment), which has a current balance of about $820,000. The fund has about $542,000 in it, and is dedicated to only paying off the debt service; it cannot be used for anything else. 

Other news

After further reviewing the water study from Davy Engineering, the council approved a motion to go forward with exploring funding options to start the first phase, which includes addressing the current condition of the existing wellhouses, electrical and control panel upgrades, upgrades to the chemical system, a separate room for chemicals, minor upgrades to the reservoir and adding security measures.

The council approved a variance request for Marvin Cleven to replace an existing deck with a larger deck. 

Library Director Kirsten Plummer said the library was working with St. Pete’s Catholic School to provide library services to the kids, due to COVID. The school’s library has been divided between classes. The public library can help with delivering books and research materials to students. 

Plummer said patrons were happy about the juvenile section having its own space in the library, and also thanked the council for approving the library budget at the budget hearing. 

Public Works Director Matt Vetsch reported a fire hydrant needed new parts, and as the city is a member of Minnesota Rural Water, that organization will help repair the hydrant. He added the reservior was cleaned and in good shape. 

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Hokah City Council will be Oct. 6, at 6 p.m. in the community room at the fire station.

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