By Jordan Gerard

The Caledonia Argus

The City of Hokah looks to go another round with the Minnesota Department of Transportation about the potential of adding a lighted cross walk sign across State Highway 44 near St. Peter’s School.

Mayor Lee Tippery said a resident had brought up the concern that there was not a safe place to cross.  

Police Chief Bob Schuldt mentioned monies had been donated by Rod Blank when he retired from the city and the purpose was for lighted crosswalks. The total was half of Blank’s comp time balance, which amounted to $4,288 in 2018. However, the process of getting lights was pushed to the wayside by a flood. Schuldt also alluded to that it was difficult to get MnDOT in favor of the project. 

It would be easy for the city to pick up where they left off, as all of the correspondence and documentation was saved. The light would likely be a stand-alone post is solar powered and flashes when a button is pressed. 

The donation will likely not cover the entire cost, so the city would have to pick up the rest of the cost. 

Public Works Department Head Matt Vetsch said they would need a list of materials to submit to the state for approval. The council agreed to look into the matter. 

Tas-Tee Shoppe flooring

The council approved replacing the floor in the Tas-Tee Shoppe, after business owner Barb Kappauf voiced concerns about the poor condition of the flooring. Since the building is owned by the city, council members agreed it was their responsibility, and it would help the Tas-Tee Shoppe stay in business. 

Vetsch said he would be willing to do the work on his own time if the city would pay for materials. They agreed, with the stipulation that materials not exceed $1,000. 

Library report

Library Director Kirsten Plummer said the library received a donation from La Crescent Health Community Partnership for $200 that is alloted for new materials that highlight diversity. 

The library board also implemented a patron conduct policy, as a result from area libraries reporting altercations over closed libraries due to the pandemic. The policy was reviewed by Schuldt. 

Finally, Plummer thanked council member Jerry Martell for the donation of $250 to the library. Martell is the council liaison for the library board. 

Water/Maintenance

Vetsch reminded residents not to flush any “un-flushables” into the city’s sewer system, as it results in alarm calls, and time and money to dig out. It also adds wear and tear to the pumps. 

Seal coating would also begin later this year. 

Other news

The council approved a 60-hour cap on compensatory time for all employees to use any time. 

The council approved a conditional use permit for four apartments at 112 Main St., after the applicant submitted a revised parking plan for six spots and a water drainage plan. 

The council also approved entering a small cities development grant from Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) and Semcac, who have authored the grant. This will help the city revitalize. Funds can be used to help low to moderate income home owners fix up their homes and replace roofs, windows, siding and for health and safety concerns and more, CEDA specialist Allison Wagner clarified.

Additionally, rental property owners will also be able to use grant funds to rehab properties. Commercial owners can also use grant funds for new signage, siding, tuckpointing, roofing, windows, doors and more. 

Vetsch presented two bids for the skidloader lease, one from SEMA Equipment in Caledonia and the other from Bobcat of the Coulee Region in Dakota. Both offered a $0 trade for the next three years. The city choose Bobcat, which offers a 300-hour cap.

The council approved the AcenTek Franchise agreement at 3% and names the city of Hokah on AcenTek’s insurance. The agreement is in effect for the next 10 years. 

Finally, the council approved a property insurance appraisal from the League of Minnesota Cities. After reviewing a list of properties to include on the appraisal, the city decided to keep the reservior on the policy as a critical building. 

Next meeting 

The next meeting will be held March 2, at 6 p.m., in the community room at the fire station.

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