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Council says no to pheasant opener donation

August 14, 2012
By Deb Gau , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - A request for funding for the 2012 Governor's Pheasant Hunting Opener created some disagreement among members of the Marshall City Council Monday night. While some council members said hosting the event in Marshall would help showcase the community and the area, others were uncomfortable with contributing city funds to it.

Monday's regular meeting was continued from last week, when a technical issue meant council members couldn't access agenda information or use their paperless meeting software.

Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce Director Cal Brink presented the request to the council and gave some background on the 2012 pheasant opener. The hunt would bring Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and a number of guests to Marshall on Oct. 12-13, Brink said. A public banquet will be at Southwest Minnesota State University on the night of Oct. 12, with the hunting opener the next morning. The two-day event was a change from last year's opener in Montevideo, and would encourage visitors to stay in Marshall and patronize local businesses, Brink said.

However, Brink said, there would be some significant costs associated with the pheasant opener. Organizers estimate that Dayton and more than 100 guests and members of the media will attend, and the event will cost about $25,000. The Marshall Area Chamber, EDA and Lyon County will be covering some of the cost, Brink said.

Brink asked council members to consider contributing to the opener or sponsoring one of the events being planned for it. City staff recommended the council approve a $5,000 contribution to the pheasant opener.

Council members Jennie Hulsizer and Mike Boedigheimer said they weren't in favor of using tax dollars to fund the pheasant opener. EDA funding is levied, Boedigheimer said. He also objected to the estimated cost of the event.

Council member John DeCramer said the event could show off the Marshall community.

"My question is more thoughts on where the $5,000 is would come from," Boedigheimer said.

Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig said the city does have some funds reserved for one-time expenses.

Council member Larry Doom moved that the city make a $5,000 contribution to the event.

"You can't buy that type of advertising," Doom said of the exposure Marshall would have during the pheasant opener.

However, the motion failed 4-3, with council members Boedigheimer, Hulsizer, Dan Ritter and Charlie Sanow voting against the contribution.

Later in Monday's meeting, council members approved an order to repair or raze a house located on West Main Street, which has been in need of major repairs since the July 1, 2011, storms.

Marshall City Attorney Dennis Simpson said the house has gone unrepaired for a year. A tree fell on the house's roof during the July 1 storms, damaging the chimney and leaving a large hole now covered by a tarp. Simpson said the Marshall city building officials have inspected the house more than once and found it to be structurally deficient. Simpson said at one point, the property owner had hired contractors to make the repairs, but the contractors walked off the job, and attempts to recover money paid to them have been unsuccessful. He said the house is still occupied, despite an order for the owners and occupants to vacate the property by July 31.

Simpson said the only way to enforce the order to vacate the house would be to serve the property owner with an order to repair or raze it. Council members passed a motion to serve the order.



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