MARSHALL - The Marshall City Council approved several updates to city policies at its regular meeting Tuesday night, although one council member expressed reservations about approving all the items with a single vote.
Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig presented the council with several new proposed sections of the city administrative code. A total of 10 items covered topics ranging from rules for city bonding and special assessments, to policies establishing an endowment fund that would be used to fund future city projects. Martig also presented a possible new policy for sidewalk replacements.
Martig said the administrative code sections had already been presented to the council at its April 24 meeting. The sidewalk policy had recently been recommended for council approval by the city Ways and Means Committee.
The sidewalk policy would set aside a certain amount of money for a program to help reimburse property owners for sidewalk replacements, Martig said. The city would reimburse half of the total sidewalk replacement costs, up to a maximum of $500, and the sidewalks would have to meet the city's requirements.
The policy was intended to work on a first come, first served basis, but Martig said the city could prioritize the sidewalks in the worst condition if there were a lot of applicants. Factors like a sidewalk's location and whether it was already scheduled for replacement in a municipal street project would also be taken into account.
The policy could be used to improve sidewalks along state highways, said Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson. If the Minnesota Department of Transportation had no intentions to replace a sidewalk along a highway, it could be treated as a city street under the policy, he said.
Not all of the policies presented Tuesday had been discussed by the whole council, said council member Mike Boedigheimer.
"Are we approving everything at once?" he said. "It just seems like it's a hodgepodge right now."
Council member Charlie Sanow said he "didn't have a problem" with approving the items. The council voted 6-1 in favor of approving the policies, with Boedigheimer casting the vote against.
At Tuesday's meeting, council members also approved a resolution signaling some coming changes for a Marshall cable provider. Martig presented a request from Knology to transfer control of its cable franchise to WideOpenWest, a regional cable operator. Knology would be merging with WOW, Martig said, and the company is requesting franchise transfers from several area cities. The franchise transfer wouldn't affect the terms of the company's current agreement with the city, and the franchise is still set for renegotiation in 2013, he said.
Council members were presented with a draft transfer resolution written by WOW's attorney. Boedigheimer questioned why the city was not having its own attorney draft the resolution.
Marshall City Attorney Dennis Simpson said the law firm drafting the transfer resolution was also involved in prior name changes for the local cable franchise.
Council members approved the franchise transfer 6-1, with Boedigheimer casting the vote against.