by ADAM GRUENEWALD
NYA City Council members revisited a familiar issue in their discussion of changes to a city ordinance on Tuesday, Nov. 12.
City Administrator Steve Helget presented potential changes to Ordinance 247, which covers off-street residential parking and junk, abandoned and unauthorized vehicles.
Among the proposed changes is the application of the ordinance to cover all residential zones, not just two of the four zones, as well as other conditions, such as leaving a vehicle unattended with the engine running, repairing a vehicle or using it for advertising on a city street.
The changes in the ordinance also modifies the definition of a “junk vehicle” in accordance with State Statutes.
City Administrator Steve Helget was awaiting some comments from City Attorney Jay Squires, but wanted to fine-tune the language in the ordinance to include all residential areas.
“This is something that materialized mainly out of an inconsistency in our current code,” said Helget. “This is something I wanted to get going as quickly as we could.”
Council member Carol Lagergren had some questions regarding the fee structure and details of unattended vehicles, while council member Jim Kellers questioned whether the city should continue to operate on a complaint-driven basis.
NYA resident Del Brelje had recently questioned the handling of the ordinance in several meetings prior, most recent on Oct. 28, saying he was unfairly targeted.
That method of enforcement isn’t explicitly stated in the ordinance, but has been the city’s practice according to Helget.
In raising the issue, Kellers asked his fellow council members, “Are we all good with that?”
“Personally I’d rather have it different, but we don’t have enough staff to do it,” said council member Dick Stolz.
Kellers, and fellow council members agreed with the budget limitations, but suggested looking at the enforcement.
“It seems somewhat arbitrary to me and at worst case, it can be mean spirited, vindictive and retaliatory,” said Kellers. “I just think it deserves more debate on how to apply this ordinance. Rather than us always being in a reactive position, maybe we should be more proactive.”
A public hearing on the proposed changes, which is expected to include discussion of enforcement, is set for Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m.
In other news council members heard from Anthony Will of Broadband Corp on his company’s recent purchase of Cologne ISP assets
The Hutchinson-based company, which offers internet, television and phone services, brings rural area residences and businesses access to fiber optic infrastructure.
The agreement would replace the lease agreement between Cologne and NYA and give Broadband Corp access.
The tower lease agreement is still in a draft stage, but Will was encouraged by the potential of adding Cologne ISP assets, which covers New Germany, Mayer, Cologne and NYA.
“Broadband Corp up to this point has marketed to customers outside the city limits.” said Will. “That’s not what we’re going to be doing here. We plan to be competitive with local telephone companies and local cable companies.”
Will said there would be no interruption in services for residents with Cologne ISP and said he expected the network to be completed by the end of an initial 2-year lease.
“Their network requires a lot of investment in order for it to be viable,” said Will. “We’re going to be investing a lot of time and a lot of money in getting this network up to speed so it can offer a reliable and effective solution for the community of Norwood Young America.”
The council also approved a pay request for $510,443.08 for the infrastructure rehabilitation project which is nearly completed and a police services contract which will cover a shift in the operations beginning January 2014.
As part of the contract which goes into effect on Jan. 13, 2014, Deputy Jim Fogarty has been shifted away from the Monday through Friday regular daytime shift and will be replaced by Jeff Stratton, the current nighttime deputy. Fogarty has taken a position in Chanhassen.
The total cost for 2014 is about a 9.5 percent increase over 20133, which is approximately $167,000 per year.
The council next met for a budget workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 20, and will next officially meet on Monday, Nov. 25 at 6:30 p.m.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at email@example.com.