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W’bago to study costs of school building

By Staff | May 19, 2019

Dana Hlebichuk, of Widseth, Smith and Nolting, addresses the Winnebago council on a study which will look at the costs involved of work needing to be done on the former Winnebago School building.

The Winnebago City Council met last Tuesday, May 14. Council member Rick Johnson conducted the meeting in the absence of Mayor Jeremiah Schutt.

Dana Hlebichuk, representing the firm of Widseth, Smith and Nolting, updated the council on a predesign study of the former elementary school building.

Hlebichuk informed the council the study is over 65 percent finished. The council gave authorization for completion of the study. Once complete, the report will provide the city with cost estimates of work needed to be done to the building.

Next, the council took up the nuisance and general provision ordinance which sparked a great deal of discussion.

“It is a big blanket of coverage but does not distinguish between residential, commercial and industrial property,” Johnson said.

Randy Olson, a Winnebago resident, also spoke against the proposed ordinance saying the coverage is too broad.

“It is very encompassing,” councilman Calvin Howard agreed.

The concern of many in attendance was the ordinance, the way it is currently written, could be used to harass residents, especially those who may conduct business from their residence.

Eventually the council tabled the matter and asked the ordinance be edited to account for different zoning classifications.

Chief Eric Olson of the Winnebago Police Department told the council he had applied for, and received, a grant from State Farm for $11,000 for digital speed signs.

Olson explained before permanent signs can be put on U.S. Highway 169 and Minnesota State Highway 109 a speed study needs to be conducted. The study is done by the state of Minnesota and carries no fee. It is used to determine whether speed limits should be increased or decreased and where the speed limit signs should be placed.

The council authorized the resolution asking for the speed study and chose signs which are solar powered, similar to what is used by Minnesota Lake.

With the wet spring and summer approaching, the council took up the matter of spraying for mosquitos. Although councilman Paul Eisenmenger expressed concern about the chemicals used in the sprays, the council passed a motion to contract with Mosquito Control of Iowa to do the spraying at a cost of $6,250.

Moving on to personnel matters, the council accepted the resignation of Darold Nienhaus from the Planning Commission and Brandon Bergemann as a part-time police office.

The council also approved the hiring of lifeguards for the swimming pool. The pool is scheduled to open on June 4.

In other business:

Approval was given by the council to Officer Jacob Pettit of the Winnebago Police Department to attend a digital computer investigations training class in Owatonna on May 29.

The council approved the request of Mary Nelson, owner of the Steel Wheel, to block off part of the alley behind her business for karaoke on Saturday night, June 15, during Bago Fun Fest.