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City OKs snow removal plan for Broadway sidewalks

The Alexandria City Council decided to stick with the way the city removes snow on Broadway sidewalks between Third and Eighth Avenues.

At its meeting Monday night, the council voted to approve an agreement it's had in place for the last few winters.

The city will continue to charge property owners and business operators $6 for every foot of sidewalk frontage they have. The city collects between $19,000 and $20,000 to keep the sidewalks clear from snow each year.

City Administrator Marty Schultz said the city has received many positive comments from businesses about the quality, timeliness and cost of the city's service.

Following are other items the council acted on that were not included in other stories about Monday's meeting.

Charter amendment motion

A motion by council member Bob Kuhlman to hold a special council meeting on the possibility of bringing charter amendments before Alexandria voters failed.

Kuhlman suggested the council pick three amendments to put on the ballot next fall.

Council member Todd Jensen said that the city's Charter Commission recommended amendments in the past but they failed to pass. He said the process should work that way, with the commission coming up with recommendations for the council, instead of trying to educate the public through referendums.

Kuhlman and council member Virgil Batesole voted for the motion while Jensen, Dave Benson and Bobbie Osterberg voted against it.

Tax-forfeited parcels

The council agreed to abate $875 of special assessments imposed on three tax-forfeited parcels of land that are being purchased by the Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

The authority plans to use the properties for low-income housing.

The parcels are on East Oak Knoll Road.

To promote development of housing and to bring the parcels back on the tax rolls, Douglas County is willing to sell the parcels at about 30 percent of their assessed value, which is allowed under state law, according to Schultz.

The city hasn't received any taxes on the parcels since 2012, including special assessments.

Audit services extended

The council agreed to extend its audit services agreement with Abdo, Eick and Meyers, LLP for another three years.

In 2016, the city paid the firm $41,940 for the audits of the city, its two liquor stores and Alexandria Light and Power.

The extension calls for $43,000 for 2017, $44,100 for 2018 and $45,200 for 2019.

Annexation request

The council gave preliminary approval to annex two parcels of land owned by three residents along Voyager Drive in LaGrand Township. The residents requested the annexation in order to receive city water.

Walkway vacated

The council voted 3-2 to vacate a 10-foot-wide public walkway, which was in a plat but never built, on Will-O-Bee lane. The property owner Robert Dokken requested the action so he could build on one of the lots.

Council members Virgil Batesole and Bob Kuhlman voted against it, saying it would be premature to vacate the walkway because school children could possibly use it sometime in the future.

The council determined that the walkway doesn't serve a public purpose because it doesn't connect to anything.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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