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Blue Earth tackles troubles

March 6, 2012
Jodelle Greiner - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

BLUE EARTH - Blue Earth City Council resolved one nuisance problem and worked on another Monday.

A public hearing was slated to deal with two nuisance properties, but City Administrator Kathy Bailey said a totaled vehicle at 428 E. Fifth St. has been removed. That left the property at 115 W. Tenth St., owned by Pam and Doug Steburg, to deal with.

Bailey said she has been working with the property owners, who are making progress cleaning it up. Pam Steburg said one dumpster full of stuff has been hauled away.

Anthony Minor told the council the mess is all his fault, not his parents'. He requested the city give him until April 1 to get it cleaned up. The council gave the property owners 30 days to take care of the problem, a standard timeframe, according to City Attorney David Frundt.

"If it's not resolved in 30 days, then we take you to district court," Mayor Rob Hammond warned.

Turning to another matter, the council heard from resident Mike Enger, who is disappointed not to have been notified of the smoke committee's meeting. Enger had complained Feb. 6 that he was being "engulfed" by smoke from a wood-burning furnace at Vossen's Auto Body.

Councilman Glenn Gaylord, who served on the smoke committee, said he talked to the people at Vossen's and they are willing to use better-quality wood anda taller smokestack.

Enger said better wood won't make a difference.

"I like a good fire, but if I have to endure the smoke coming into my face, I'll move [away from it]," Enger said. He noted that is not possible since the smoke is permeating his home.

Hammond asked if the council wants to send the issue back to the committee, but he wouldn't allow any other decision because "Vossen's need to be present," he said.

Enger asked the council to consider that burning permits are issued for one year and must be renewed. The renewal can be refused for different reasons, one of which is noxious smoke, he said.

Instead of sending the issue back to the committee, "maybe it's time the whole council views it," said Councilman John Huisman.

The council approved setting a hearing for 5 p.m. March 26 to listen to concerns about smoke and burning. The measure passed 5-2, with Gaylord and Hammond voting against.

In other business, the council:

o Approved liquor license permits for the American Legion, Pizza Hut, Double Play, Hamilton's, Southern Jack's Bar & Grill, Wal-Mart, Kwik-Trip, Blue Earth Auto & Truck Stop, Juba's and Shell Food Mart.

The group debated whether to approve Pizza Hut, since the establishment failed a compliance check of selling beer without an identification and has a fine to pay. The conditions say an establishment can have its license revoked on a conviction, but since Pizza Hut has not been convicted, the city cannot enforce that aspect of the agreement.

o Called for bids on the next phase of airport construction, with bids to be opened April 5.

o Discussed whether to raise the wastewater rates by 3 percent or 5 percent.

o Will look into the possibility of adding a fifth officer to the police force at its next council meeting on March 19.



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