After a lengthy search by Whalan city council members the two vacant seats on the Whalan Zoning Board have now been filled. Ernie Johnson and Larry Johnson have each agreed to serve on the board.
All council members were present at the December 11, 2017 regularly scheduled monthly council meeting including Mayor Marlys Tuftin, Owen Lewis, Everett Johnson, Wyatt Berekvam and Kim Berekvam as well as City Clerk Lolly Melander and City Maintenance worker Lanny Landsverk.
Tuftin called the meeting to order at 5 p.m. and those in attendance stood to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
After review of the agenda, W. Berekvam made a motion to accept the agenda as written. Second by Lewis. Motion carried.
Marty Walsh, Director of the Fillmore County EDA, attended the meeting to introduce himself to the council. Walsh explained that the Fillmore County EDA “provides services to communities that don’t have their own EDA staff,” to aid with developing new businesses.
“The role of the EDA is just to assist in business development generally increasing tax base for the county,” stated Walsh, saying he thinks that it is “relevant for Whalan as we are really working to diversify and improve access to some of the recreational amenities (in Fillmore County).”
Melander read the minutes from the November 13, 2017 council meeting for approval. No additions or corrections were requested. Motion by Johnson, second by K. Berekvam, to approve the minutes as read. Motion carried.
Melander read the treasurer’s report and bills due. Motion by Lewis, second by W. Berekvam, to approve the treasurer’s report and bills due as read. Motion carried.
Rick and Tanya Murphy, new residents to Whalan, attended the council meeting to introduce themselves to the council and also met other residents who attended the meeting.
Tuftin gave an update on the town hall door replacement. The hardware came in and the door installation is complete.
Tuftin reported on her research into trying to get a cell phone tower to provide cell phone service to Whalan. “I’m not sure if we can advance it or not,” stated Tuftin, but said, “we have a lot of people with cell phones that aren’t able to use them in town,” and having cell phone service is critical in times of medical emergencies with residents and tourists on the river and on the bike trail which has happened in the past. Tuftin stated she will keep researching possibilities for Whalan to obtain a cell tower.
Motion by Lewis, second by W. Berekvam, to approve the 2018 final budget. Motion carried.
Tuftin reported that the City of Whalan has been awarded a grant in the amount of $1,000 from Clean Energy Minnesota grant program, which will go toward paying for the new LED streetlight bulbs. Tuftin thanked Melander for her work on applying for the grant.
Motion by Lewis, second by W. Berekvam, to accept the mayor’s nominations of Ernie Johnson and Larry Johnson for seats on the Zoning Board. Motion carried.
The council discussed renewing a Lanesboro Lodging Tax Joint Powers Agreement with the City of Lanesboro. The matter was tabled until the next council meeting to give council members more time to examine the agreement in detail.
Motion by W. Berekvam, second by Johnson, to approve sending a second letter (certified) to a property owner to take down an unsafe shed. Motion carried. If the property owner does not comply with the second letter legal action will be taken by the city.
Motion by Lewis, second by Johnson, to approve sending a second letter (certified) to a resident who must remove wood stakes from a city setback area. If the resident does not comply legal action will be taken. W. Berekvam and K. Berekvam abstained.
Motion by K. Berekvam, second by Johnson, to adjourn. Motion carried.
The next regularly scheduled Whalan City Council meeting will be held on January 8, 2018 at 5 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.