The Thief River Falls City Council sold General Obligation Bonds at its meeting Tuesday, July 19.

Robert W. Baird & Company purchased $2,715,000 in bonds and paid an additional bond premium of $102,401, according to City Administrator Angie Philipp. The bonds have a true interest cost of 3.05%.

George Eilertson, a Northland Securities employee working on behalf of the city, explained that Baird purchased the bonds with a syndicate of 24 other investor banks to spread the risk and offer a more aggressive bid.

The bonds will finance two separate city projects. They include about $2.22 million in bonds for the northwest area street improvements. Those bonds will have a 12-year term.

The city also sold $600,000 in bonds for the cleaning, repairing and painting of the city’s western water tower. Those bonds will have a 15-year term.

City Council set a public hearing regarding a proposed chicken ordinance. The public hearing will be held Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Council member Mike Lorenson said the council wants to hear public feedback regarding the proposed ordinance.

City leaders are considering a chicken ordinance modeled after Detroit Lakes’ ordinance. That ordinance allows for a maximum of four hens and no roosters as part of a permit process in which permittees pay a $60 annual fee. Chicken coops and runs require permits and must meet specifications. The coops must be a minimum of four square feet per chicken and no larger than 10 square feet per chicken. Chicken coops must not exceed six feet tall. “Attached fenced-in chicken runs must not exceed 20 square feet per chicken and fencing must not exceed six feet in total height.”

Chicken coops and runs must be screened. They must also be located at least 20 feet from any residential structure and 10 feet from all lot lines on a single-family residential lot measuring a minimum of 7,500 square feet. In addition, the ordinance covers avian illness.

Detroit Lakes’ ordinance also covers permit revocations and violations, noting a violation may be a misdemeanor.

Subject to a final site plan review, the council approved a conditional use permit for a touchless passenger vehicle car wash. Kraig and Dayna Melvie plan to operate the car wash at the former Northwestern Homes site along Third Street West. City consultant Mark Borseth said the Melvies also plan to possibly offer some other retail or storage possibilities at the site.

The council approved replacing the playground mulch at Hartz Park. Public Works Director Travis Giffen said the mulch remains saturated after the Red Lake River flooded the park. The cost is estimated to be $11,000.

Giffen was expected to lead officials from the Minnesota Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency on a tour of the park flood damage the day after the council meeting. The city hopes to recoup its expenses related to the flood fight through disaster assistance.

Council member Jason Aarestad asked about the demolished picnic shelter. A tree fell on top of the picnic shelter after the flooding and windy conditions months later.

If the city were to replace the picnic shelter, Giffen expected it would be a slightly different structure than what was there in the past.

City Administrator Angie Philipp said the city has a $25,000 deductible per incident with $50,000 aggregate. She added that the city has liability insurance but not necessarily insurance for such a structure.

City Council approved repairing a piece of playground equipment at Hartz Park. The repair parts cost $6,876. The playground equipment was installed in 2003 and was worn out from use.

Brian Carlson, president of the Advance Thief River Board, presented the organization’s 2023 budget request to the council. Advance Thief River seeks $25,000 from the city as it has in the past. It also plans to ask Pennington County for a $25,000 contribution. Advance Thief River provides the remaining $25,000 of the economic development organization’s budget. The request has been forwarded to the city’s Budget Committee for consideration.

Carlson outlined the work of the organization, which is focused on business retention, expansion, attraction and creation. He pointed out that Advance Thief River isn’t focused on community development, which focuses on making the community a better place to live and work.

The Advance Thief River board consists of 17 members, including seven ex-officio members representing a broad sector of the community. The organization has 58 members representing businesses in and around Thief River Falls. Many of those individuals attended the council meeting.

Council member Rachel Prudhomme, who has been a vocal critic of providing funding to the organization, arrived at the council meeting at least 15 minutes after Carlson’s presentation. She asked to meet with Carlson or Executive Director Michelle Landsverk in the future since she had questions regarding the organization’s budget.

The next council meeting is scheduled Tuesday, Aug. 2 at 4:30 p.m. at Peder Engelstad Pioneer Village. Note the time and location change due to Night to Unite that evening.