WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --     westbrook — The council reviewed local levy proposals for the 2016 budget levy. City Clerk Katie Steen gave the council two scenarios for the proposed levy, both were lower than last years levy.

    Originally the council had proposed a lower levy, but after finding that the lagoon site boomer tractor needs replacing, either this year or next year, the council decided to take the higher of the two figures setting the  levy at 10.46 percent increase, bringing in $246,897. The  levy is still  lower than last years levy which was over 14.48 percent.



    Mayor Dennis Phelps commented until last year the three previous years the levy increases were very low, in fact in 2013 the levy was actually - .01percent. Also he noted that this figure will not affect the overall tax increase to property owners.

    There were several other factors that influenced the decision to go with the higher of the two levy figures. The city will be doing a large sewer project either this fall or next spring. That project is estimated to come in between $300,000 and 375,000. Most of the funding for that project will be funded through sewer reserve funds.

    Street supervisor Carl Conrad informed the council the broom for the skid loader needs to be replaced. The current broom is 9 feet wide, and  with the future upgrade of First Avenue it will not be narrow enough to fit well on the sidewalks. He says a 6 foot broom will work much better and will help work around the light poles. The council approved replacing the broom for a cost of $4,886.

    Conrad told the council the Boomer tractor used for mowing the lagoons will have to be replaced soon. He thought they could probably get by for this year, but it will need to be replaced next year for sure. The “boomer” was purchased used, in 2001 and has had a lot of use.

    Conrad reported there is a leak in the baby pool at the city swimming pool. He said they will be pressure testing the pipes to see if the plumbing holds pressure. If the pipes are bad they are hoping they do not run under the bath house. It is thought that the water is migrating under the big pool which is tiled out, that might explain why the leak does not show up around the kiddie pool.

    Mayor Phelps and council person Manda Jorgenson reviewed two applications for part time police officers. Both applicants are certified officers. Phelps and Jorgenson met with Austin Smedsurud of Windom, and will be meeting with Nicole Fitzsimmons of Walnut Grove.

    The council approved hiring both officers, pending on meeting with Fitzsimmons.

    Police Chief Alan Wahl talked about upgrades for the Police Department office. He says the building needs to be handicapped accessible, along with some miscellaneous work. City Clerk Steen said she had put $2,000 in the 2016 budget for needed repairs. Wahl said he would get estimates  for the work to be done.

    Wahl told the council he will be needing an on board computer for the  police squad, so e-charging can be made. He noted Westbrook is the last city in the  county to do this. Eventually all police forces will be using this.

     Utilities employee Dan Joel thought they should at least get the new manholes done this fall. He recommends the city talk to the engineer to see whether the work can be done this fall or next spring.

    The council received  a letter from the Minnesota EPA on Compliance Evaluation for the City’s sewer pond site. The letter commended the city for it’s operation of the pond site, stating the operator of the pond site is to be commended. The letter noted the city should continue adding rip rap to the sides of the lagoons.

    Mayor Phelps  told the council there has been a couple of requests from residents to have the city remove some small garages. Phelps said he would talk to the school to see if some FFA kids would like to do this as a community service project, and keep the lumber for use in craft projects.

            The council approved the winter snow agreement with the county to take care of winter maintenance of First Avenue. The amount of the contract  is $1,100. The county engineer said if the amount was not enough the city could keep track of their expenses for the past couple of years and submit for consideration.

    Clerk Steen told the council there are people that have dogs or cats that have not been purchasing license tags for them. In order to get a license the owners must provide proof of up to date rabies shots.         Police Chief Wahl noted that he has issued fines in the past, and if it is discovered a person is not complying citations will be issued.

    Steen also said that quite a few people are completing building projects before getting a permit. The council discussed adding a late fee for those who don’t comply. Dan Joel mentioned that if people are planning on any digging they need to get a location of utilities from Gopher One. He also said a fine of $1,000 can be levied by the state for failure to do that.

    The following building permits were issued:

    Norman Kelm for  a storage shed and flag pole at his residence on Seventh Street.

    Merlin and Sondra Hubin for a deck at their home on Fir Avenue.

    Dennis Jutting to build a shop on his property on Fifth Street.

August police report.

    Three domestic contacts; 1 arrest; 3 tickets issued; 2 funeral assists; 1 county assist.