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‘Oh, deer!’

By Staff | Mar 25, 2018

These deer were keeping a wary eye out as they stood in a driveway on the southside of Blue Earth last fall.

The Blue Earth City Council spent a lot of time at their second meeting of March talking about some things they had already discussed during their first meeting in March.

Deer roaming around town, and the new city Public Works Department building.

At their Monday, March 5, meeting, the council had talked about the complaints from citizens concerning all of the deer that have been roaming around town, chewing on bushes in yards.

And, they had also taken a formal vote to accept a bid from Ankeny Builders of Blue Earth for $809,000 to construct the new building.

At their Monday, March 19, meeting, the council continued the deer discussion and worked on to finance the new Public Works Department building, now that they had voted to accept the bid and to proceed with building it.

And, they discussed these two items as well as quite a few more in a meeting that lasted just 30 minutes last Monday night.

As far as the deer nuisance issue was concerned, the council looked at two ordinances from other cities that prohibit feeding deer or other wild animals within city limits.

While some council members seemed to favor the feeding restriction ordinance, others did not. “The deer are looking for food all over, not just in the town,” councilman Glenn Gaylord said. “They are coming into the city not just for food but to get away from all the coyotes we have in the area around the town.”

While the discussion included possibly having sharp shooters from the Department of Natural Resources shoot some of the deer, Gaylord said they would be better off shooting the coyotes.

Restricting feeding the deer, including by having bird feeders too close to the ground, could help, some councilmen said. But, councilman Russ Erichsrud said his solution to keeping the deer out of his bird feeders is to take them inside each night.

In the end, the council seemed to indicate that creating an ordinance would not solve anything, and did not take a vote on it.

They did, however, decide to contact the DNR and try to get a representative to attend their next council meeting work session in April, and explain what can and cannot be done about the deer nuisance.

“Blue Earth is virtually surrounded by river bottom and woods,” Gaylord said. “So we are always going to have a problem with deer.

As far as the Public Works Department new building, city administrator Tim Ibisch presented a plan and timeline for financing the new structure.

“It would be for a CIP (capital improvement project) bond,” Ibisch explained. “It is a different process than the type of street bonds we have been doing.”

Ibisch explained this bond needs a time period that is for any possible voter referendum. If enough citizens are against the bond, they can petition for a referendum or vote on the project.

The city administrator also released the timeline for the bonding for the project.

First, a public hearing about this capital improvement plan will be held on April 16, after it is publicized in the public notices of the Faribault County Register. That will initiate a 30-day period where the public can initiate a reverse referendum petition.

On May 15 will be the sale of the bond, with the deadline for petition for reverse referendum being the next day, May 16.

The City Council would then authorize the bond sale at their meeting on May 21.

At last Monday’s meeting, the council also:

Learned that nine different contractors have requested the bid forms for this summer’s 13th and Moore streets project. Bids are expected to come in during the next week and a half.

Learned the Street Committee has been working on the possible street project proposals for the 2019 construction season.

One of those is the stub street of Giant Drive, located north of Subway to the Dollar General Store. The estimated cost of the project would be $485,000 and would be concrete to match the rest of that street.

The other project is the first phase of the Sailor Street project, which carries an estimated price tag of $1.3 million.

“We want to keep our total yearly street project cost under $2 million, so these two would work,” Ibisch told the council.

Also briefly looked at an Economic Development Authority (EDA) quarterly report from CEDA, a Comprehensive Development Plan update from Ibisch and a sewer rate evaluation report.

Went into closed session for 45 minutes at the end of the 30 minute meeting to discuss “possible sale or purchase of property.”

After coming out of the closed session, no action was taken by the council.