Council OKs spraying for skeeters

Published 9:22 am Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Albert Lea City Council approved a contract Monday to spray for mosquitoes this summer throughout the city.

On a unanimous vote, the council authorized the city manager to sign a contract with Rolfe, Iowa-based Mosquito Control of Iowa for $26,550 in exchange for 10 to 11 weekly applications.

The company will spray at the street level and from the air. The council members wanted to address questions on the issue.

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Councilor Reid Olson noted rain fell on spray days quite often last summer, so it was unlike previous years.

Mayor Vern Rasmussen said aerial spraying helps get areas not accessible from the streets, such as back yards and parks, though weather plays a factor.

“This is not an exact science,” Rasmussen said.

The contract request from Mosquito Control of Iowa states, “We will use the ground and aerial equipment at different times throughout the year depending on the weather conditions and the mosquito activity to achieve the best control.”

Council members noted they had received feedback from residents who said they favored the city paying for mosquito control.

The mosquito spraying is under the supervision of the Albert Lea Parks and Recreation Department.

Olson said the Albert Lea Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will discuss mosquito spraying at its meeting Monday at City Arena.

In other action, the City Council:

• Heard from a representative with the Low Bucks Car Club. He said this could be the final year the club will hold the Eddie Cochran Weekend festivities. This announcement brought forth many questions from councilors.

The representative said the club has been organizing Eddie Cochran Weekend for 17 years and the car show that goes with it for 25 years. He said the organization is down to 12 or 14 active members and they were weary of the task.

“We decided this would be our last blast,” he said. “Maybe something will pull through in the next year.”

The City Council approved the route for the annual cruise that takes place with the event. Eddie Cochran Weekend is June 10 and 11. The cruise is at 6:30 p.m. June 11, starting from the Freeborn County Fairgrounds, going through downtown, then out to Glenville, and back into Albert Lea from the southwest side.

• Changed the name of a proposed street.

A street to be part of the I-35/I-90 Business Park would have been named 211th Street in accordance to the Freeborn County E-911 addressing system.

Albert Lea Economic Development Agency Executive Director Dan Dorman requested that the street be renamed Hartman Street so that it doesn’t sound like it is in the country. The street will be the address for a Holiday Inn Express to be built in the business park.

He said the naming of Albert Lea streets east of I-35 in accordance with the county’s system is merely an informal agreement.

“I don’t think there is going to be a dramatic decrease in public safety,” Dorman said.

Hartman Street will run east and west.

The Albert Lea Planning Commission also recommended a change in name earlier Monday. The ALEDA board previously liked the change, too.

“The ALEDA board believes and supports the concepts of rural addressing for non-incorporated areas of the county. However, the board feels that the naming of streets within cities should remain the purview of the city,” wrote Dorman in a letter to the city staff.

There is an existing north-south street at the business park called 777th Avenue.

ALEDA would like that name changed, too, but it will first require a public hearing at a later date.

• Approved waiving the building permit fees for roof replacement at The Children’s Center, a community-based day care and preschool. On a 4-2 vote, the council split, with Rasmussen and Olson opposed.

Rasmussen said he will be the first to chip in for the fundraising campaign but opposed waiving fees during a time when the city budget faces a $1 million cut.

The roof replacement comes Aug. 13, with volunteers from Shinefest helping. Shinefest is an ecumenical effort to do community service.

Kim Nelson, the director of The Children’s Center, spoke to the council, noting the preschool has been around for 42 years. The new roof will cost $30,000. A capital campaign is around the corner.

Councilor Ellen Kehr, a former board member at The Children’s Center, said the place was built to assist with families with two working parents. She defended the waiver.

“It’s an investment in our workforce,” she said.

• Approved the final plat of the I-35/I-90 Business Park No. 2 as part of a “replat” for Lots 3 and 4 in Block 1, comprising 36 acres.

• Approved a developer’s agreement with Greater Jobs Inc. for an estimated $425,000 in subdivision development, such as street, curb, gutter, fire hydrants, lighting and such.

• Approved the issuance of $975,000 in general-obligation bonds.

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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