Osakis is planning for its weeklong citywide cleanup starting the second whole week of May with the cost of pickup for large items reduced with the help of a grant from Pope Douglas Solid Waste Management.

After the Osakis City Council's March meeting, it was informed of a grant available for recyclable items such as appliances, mattresses, box springs, couches, recliners and electronics waste. During its Monday, April 12, regular meeting, the council approved using the grant and will have a separate supplier for the e-waste, appliances and hazardous waste.

Cleanup week is scheduled for May 10-15, with the proceeds going to the Osakis fireworks fund. The grant will reduce the cost but the city may collect less in fees, which are designated to go into the city's fireworks fund. The city will send out flyers shortly with fee details. For more information, contact City Hall at 320-859-2150 or West Central Sanitation's Jeff Bertram at 320-250-6999.

The council also approved a 3% waste rate increase that goes into effect this month. Bertram, who was in attendance, requested the increase as West Central Sanitation did not request a rate increase two years ago. The city's contract with West Central Sanitation is in effect until April 2025, and it has the option of requesting rate increases in 2019, 2021 and 2023.

The rate increase will change the price of a 35-gallon cart from $14.27 to $14.70. The 3% raise is consistent in all gallon carts. The city also charges an additional $.50 per user for the billing of the garbage contract. The $.50 is not included in the current figures.

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In March, the city received a notice from U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development that it was approved funding for water plant improvements and water tower maintenance. The loan approved is for $800,000 at 1.25% interest over 40 years. The grant was approved at $771,000 for a total project cost of $1,571,000.

The council met in a special meeting on March 16 to approve the funds to be allocated at 1.25% interest. The council approved Nero Engineering to start working on the project plans. Eric Meester from Nero Engineering is who the council has been working with and prepared the pilot study and plans to be submitted.

Other items of note

  • The council updated its COVID-19 preparedness plan on Monday night to fit Gov. Tim Walz's relaxed requirements. Restaurants are allowed 75% capacity with a maximum of 250 people. Reception areas, such as the community center, are up to 50% capacity with social distancing. The order recommends those who can work from home to continue doing so.
  • Osakis received a clean 2020 audit report.
  • A draft of the Code of Conduct, Harassment, Respectful Workplace and General Personnel policy was presented for the council to review. There were complaints from several city sectors regarding the proposed policies and wording of the document. The council is going to wait another month before having it reviewed by the city attorney.
  • The council approved an amendment to the city zoning ordinance to permit land and sea containers and semi-tractor containers.
  • The Immaculate Conception Church was approved for a gambling license for the St. Agnes raffle on Nov. 7. The drawing will be held at Immaculate Conception Church.
  • Charter Communications sent the city a notice for a channel selection change. Charter is in a franchise agreement with the city, which allows them to operate cable television in Osakis. Charter will give channel updates regularly. These updates will no longer come at city council meetings.
  • The VFW is holding a special event on May 8 starting at 2 p.m. The council approved the parking spaces for the event.
  • The Central Lakes Trail requested a $750 membership fee from the city. This fee is an annual contribution and will go toward the trail's $12,000 yearly budget.
  • After the regular meeting, the council held a closed-door session about a lawsuit against the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.