Mitchell City Council proceeds with plans to redraw ward linesThe Mitchell City Council favors the “least intrusive” option in redrawing the city wards, the council decided Monday night.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell City Council favors the “least intrusive” option in redrawing the city wards, the council decided Monday night.
The council was given two options for boundaries for the four wards and had the opportunity to reject both and start fresh, but it went with Option 1, which will take a stretch of nine blocks from Ward 4 and shift it into Ward 3.
Under the plan, which will have its first reading on Oct. 17, the blocks that will be shifted into Ward 3 are in an area of central Mitchell, with Fourth Avenue on the south, 15th Avenue on the north and Rowley Street on the west.
Main Street used to be the division line between Wards 3 and 4 and still will be except for this area, under the plan.
If approved in two weeks, the council would hold a second reading and adoption on Nov. 8. City Planner Neil Putnam said residents with questions or concerns can attend either meeting.
Mayor Lou Sebert, Finance Officer Marilyn Wilson and Putnam worked to craft the two options and bring them to the council.
“I think we took a path of least resistance to the citizens,” Sebert said.
Redrawing the boundaries is done every 10 years after census figures are compiled. The new wards go into effect for the 2012 city election in June.
The four wards cannot have a deviation of more than 10 percent from the ward with the largest population to the one with the smallest. The city has four wards, with two council representatives elected from each. The council is tasked with dividing Mitchell’s residents into the wards as evenly as possible.
Currently, Ward 1 has 3,903 citizens, Ward 2 has 3,746, Ward 3 has 3,613 and Ward 4 has 3,992, based on numbers collected in April 2010, with Mitchell having 15,254 people living in it at that time, according to the census.
Under Option 1, Ward 1 would remain unchanged at 3,903 and Ward 2 would also stay the same at 3,746. Ward 3 would have 3,790 residents and Ward 4 would have 3,815 residents.
In Option 2, Ward 1 would still have 3,903 residents, Ward 2 would remain at 3,746, Ward 3 would contain 3,725 residents and Ward 4 would have 3,880 people in it.
In Option 2, a larger chunk of Ward 4 would have been moved into Ward 3.
“To me, Option 1 makes the most sense and is the least intrusive,” Councilman Travis Carpenter said.
Putnam said Ward 4 has grown, just as it did before the 2000 census caused the last change.
Ward 3 has lost residents, he said.
If a current member of the council lived at an address that would be outside of his ward when the new boundaries are made official, he would be allowed to complete his term, but no council members will be affected, Putnam said.
Districts for Davison County commissioners and state legislators are also being redrawn, he told the council. Putnam said he has been told Mount Vernon is also adjusting its city political boundaries.
In other business, the council:
• Discussed but finally rejected Resolution 2949, a moratorium on accessory buildings on residential property at Lake Mitchell.
The council had earlier this year enacted a six-month moratorium on building permits for structures on the lake, but that didn’t include accessory buildings. The moratorium ends next month and the council felt there was no need to make a change to it this late.
A dispute between two lake residents last month brought the issue forward, but the council said that was too rare of an event to cause it to take action.
• Held the first reading of Ordinance 2377, changing the height limit for mandating trimming trees over sidewalks from 10 feet down to 8.
Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department Director Dusty Rodiek said the change will benefit people.
“In a sense we’re just trying to make it easier for residents to be in compliance with the ordinance,” Rodiek said.
• Held a hearing and approved the application of S&H Marketing LLC, doing business as Signatures, for a special event malt beverage and wine license at the Pepsi Cola Theatre on Oct. 23 for a Sherwin Linton concert.
• Tabled a proposed campaign finance reporting ordinance.
“It shouldn’t be on the agenda tonight,” said Mel Olson, who has led the effort for the proposed law. “It should be on for next time.”
• Rejected bids for the Graceland Cemetery Columbarium project and granted Golf and Cemetery Department Director Kevin Thurman permission to negotiate with the low bidder.
Two Minnesota monument companies submitted the bids between $32,000 and $34,0000, Thurman said after the meeting. Cold Spring Granite Company, of Cold Spring, Minn., submitted the lowest bid, and he will try to strike a deal with the company.
Thurman said the city has budgeted $45,000 for the project, including sidewalks, seeding and drainage.
A columbarium is a structure with niches for placing urns and other cremains.
• Tabled the second reading of Ordinance 2372, rezoning real property described as the west 45 feet of the east 90 feet of lots seven and eight, block 14, Railroad Addition, from Public Lands District to Highway Oriented Business and amending the city’s official zoning map.
It was tabled at the Sept. 19 meeting and has been tabled at two Planning and Zoning Commission meetings as well.
• Approved an automatic supplement to the Special Revenue Fund of the Parks & Recreation Department in the amount of $26,594 for the Cadwell Stadium scoreboard from a donation from Jim Johnston, the owner of Harve’s Sports Shop.
The donation is in honor of Johnston’s father, Harve Johnston, who was a big local sports fan, the council was told.
• Held the first reading of Ordinance 2378, supplemental appropriations of $3,200 for a laptop computer for Public Works Deputy Director Terry Johnson; and $45,000 for gas and oil, $9,000 for overtime and $30,000 for snow removal supplies and materials for the Street Division.
Street and Sanitation Superintendent Ron Olson said he spent 80 percent of his annual overtime budget for snow removal by the end of last spring as well as most of the money budgeted for salt, sand, blades and renting trucks.
He said this request is based on snowfall removal costs last fall and if the money is not used, it will be returned to the General Fund.
A request of $4,600 for a portable air conditioning unit was almost withdrawn after the Public Safety Department offered a unit it now has at its shooting range, but the council kept it in the ordinance until it is clear the unit can be installed in City Hall.
• Changed the date of the City Council meeting scheduled for Monday, Nov. 21, to Tuesday, Nov. 22, to accommodate people who want to attend the Parade of Lights on Nov. 21.
• Sitting as the Board of Adjustment, council members set Oct. 17 dates for:
A hearing on the application of Olawa Rae-Bruhjell for a conditional use permit/ home occupation to operate a body spa salon and a massage school at 1111 S. Miller St.
A hearing on the application of Steve McCullough for a variance to construct an addition at 621 W. First Ave.
A hearing on the application of Scott Phillips for a variance to construct a garage at 700 S. Minnesota St.
• Approved pay estimates.