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Two Harbors City Council

Tom Koehler of Two Harbors, spoke before the Two Harbors City Council on Tuesday urging officials to consider the educational and community value of the Two Harbors Community Radio. He made clear that he had not come as a representative of the radio’s board, but that he was concerned about a recent correspondence from the City indicating that THCR could be charged a rental fee and other costs could be incurred by the fledgling operation if it chose to install its antenna on the City’s water tower.

“I’m hoping that the City will see fit to ease some of the financial burden,” he said. Koehler said that initial costs could be as high as $7,800. He added that the community radio board was still reeling from having read the figure in the City’s sample agreement.

“Do some of these fees have the potential to derail the project?” Asked Mayor Randy Bolen.

“Yes. Yes,” said Koehler emphatically, explaining that the non-profit nature of the station means that all monies must be secured through donations and grants. “If the radio has to come up with $1800 for rent, that would be $1800 it couldn’t spend on other things,” he said listing program and operations-related expenses.

Bolen asked if Koehler knew what other small radio stations were charged by cities around the region, and asked that Koehler approach the THCR board about looking into the matter and returning to the council.

Koehler encouraged the council to consider his message and “warm up that generous streak that could be in you when members of the THCR approach.”

It appears that the outdoor hockey arena on near Lake County Arena is going to the dogs. The City and Friends of the Dog Park are finalizing an agreement to give four-footed friends a seasonal playground. Friends of the Dog Park has offered to maintain the site, including weekly clean-up and has established a list of rules to ensure the safety of pets and owners. The park, which will include a separate enclosure area for small dogs will open soon and is expected to remain available for city residents and visitors until early November. The site is a temporary solution to a request by Friends of the Dog Park for a permanent site. Thus far, however, no such place has been secured.

Mark Wallis, the engineer overseeing the city’s water treatment project presented the list of contractors deemed “responsible and responsive” bidders for the purpose of carrying out the necessary work and providing the needed equipment for the project. He noted that the city will save approximately $65,000 on pump equipment because an effort was made to take advantage of new laws permitting municipalities to make tax-exempt purchases on some items. Although the process of separating these items from the list was somewhat burdensome, the savings was significant.

Wallis recommended that the construction portion of the project be awarded to Magney Construction whose bid came in at $1,636,000. The council unanimously adopted a resolution to award the bids, which also included $195,622 for pump equipment and $509,165 for filtration equipment from two other vendors.

Councilor George Scheidt said that two young men have been hired by the City to help with street repair and other projects this summer.

“Public Works’ big focus is on getting the alleys back in shape,” he said, adding that attention will also be given to tree, brush and shrub trimming, street sweeping, replacing culverts and more. President Norberg said the men are already hard at work.

“They’ve got two strong boys out there full time,” he said, echoing Scheidt.

The City passed a motion to grant a request from Lake View Hospital to reduce utility fees related to a recent water leak. The council agreed to credit the hospital’s $3,548.80 sewer bill.

In other action, the City passed a motion to authorize the completion of a form indicating that it would like to consider the purchase of four parcels of tax-forfeit land. Lake County offered the opportunity to the City and after the form is filed, the City will have six months to decide if it will proceed with the purchase of one or more of the parcels. One parcel is the former site of a Hardee’s restaurant and the other three are residential.

Finally, Mayor Bolen thanked the Lake County Veteran’s Service Office for organizing last week’s Memorial Day observances. The council unanimously passed a motion to spend up to $2000 to replace American flags and banners throughout the city. Community members noted that flags were not on display along city streets and avenues over the holiday weekend, an oversight that Bolen said required an immediate response by the council.