By Jordan Gerard

Editor, The Caledonia Argus

Citing aging equipment, computer software programs and a need for an update, Hokah City Council approved the purchase of a new security camera system. 

Maintenance Department Head Matt Vetschsaid he and Choice Security and Systems did a walk-through of the city’s buildings and summed up the situation as getting a system that would handle storage of 30 days of recording. 

The price is $16,884, along with a five-year agreement on cloud storage. The council plans to pay for the new system from the capital outlay fund. Councilor Jerry Martellsaid it “helps law enforcement immensely and protects the city, too.” 

Highway 16 speed reduction

The council discussed a Jan. 17 meeting with Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) about reducing the speed on Highway 16 coming into Hokah. No formal decision was made.

Houston County Board of Commissioners also approved a resolution that supported the reduction. Their resolution, approved at their regular meeting on Jan. 28, asks MnDOT to consider lowering the speed limit from the intersection of Highway 44 and 16 to the city limits near 10th Street. 

Highway 16 is also slated to be increased to 60 mph. The yellow sign citing 45 mph coming into Hokah is not an enforceable speed, Police Chief Bob Schuldt said in January. It is only a recommendation to drivers. 

The county’s resolution also notes the two fatality accidents in 2019 and asks MnDOT to “strongly consider lowering the speed limit.”

Other news

The council approved a resolution that would support bonding on the Rochester International Airport to replace a runway. The resolution comes from the Southeast Minnesota League of Municipalities (different from League of Minnesota Cities) and was brought to the council’s attention byMartell. 

He also mentioned the league added three new counties to the organization, making it a total of 11 counties represented. 

There was also discussion about a potential future fund available to rural southeastern Minnesota cities. The cities would be able to draw money out of the fund for various projects like low-incoming housing, seed money for new businesses and other projects. 

Martell reported the fund was in the final stages of getting set up. More information will be available soon.

Finally, the council approved a Bobcat lease with Coulee Region Bobcat of Dresbach. The lease allows the city to swap rims and tires and when they trade in the current machine, the city will get a $1,700 trade-in value. 

Next meeting

The next meeting of the Hokah City Council will be held Wednesday, March 4, at 6 p.m. 

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