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New York Mills FD to charge for fire calls

At its most recent meeting on June 11, the New York Mills City Council voted unanimously to charge in-town residents for fire service.

“Fire service” refers to any deployment of firefighting personnel and/or equipment to extinguish a fire, and thus does not extend to medical calls, which are the majority of the department’s calls, according to Fire Chief Kyle Mattson.

However, residents would not be charged for small incidents, such as accidentally triggering a fire alarm, or non-serious car accidents, Mattson added.

Fire victims will be charged $400 per hour at the department’s discretion, payable to the city of New York Mills.

Nearby cities, including Perham, all have similar charges at similar rates, according to documents provided at the previous months’ meeting. Perham’s fire department charges $500 for the first hour of a call and $300 per hour after that, Second Assistant Chief Kelly Melgard said.

The New York Mills ordinance will go into effect Aug. 1.

In other news, the council:

-Presented the Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council with a counter-offer to the action council’s proposal to donate its former building, located on Walker Avenue in New York Mills, and $15,000 cash to the city.

According to City Clerk Darla Berry, the city is asking for additional money from the organization, although the amount specified in the council’s counter offer will remain private until the action council’s board has a chance to formally consider it.

-Approved a motion to purchase a surveillance camera system for the police department’s new squad car. The camera had been overlooked during the budgeting process for the car.

The council will consider purchasing additional camera systems for the department’s other squad cars at a later date.

-Committed to another five-year cycle of donations to the West Central Initiative at a rate of $1,000 per year. The WCI provides, among other services, grants and loans to promote community development, business growth, and more in several Minnesota counties, including Otter Tail.

-Approved a proposal by Herzog Roofing to repair the city hall roof at a cost of $4,880, with council member Jason Schik citing the company’s expertise in that field.

-Approved a bid from Morris Sealcoat and Trucking, Inc. to sealcoat several streets in town at a price of $29, 519.

The council also approved a motion to contract Performance Paving to fix several potholes and cracks throughout town, work which needs to be done in preparation of the sand sealing and will cost the city $14,025, according to documents supplied at the meeting, bringing the total cost for the project nearly $14,000 over the city’s initial estimate of $30,000. Of that difference, $10,000 will be made up through Tax Increment Financing subsidies, which can be spent on infrastructure improvements such as the sand sealing.

-Formally accepted donations from the New York Mills Lions Club and Mid-State Auto Auction Service in the amounts of $2,400 and $500, respectively.

The Lions’ money is intended to go toward a rehabilitation project on the Legried Community Swimming Pool, while Mid-State’s is a “thank you” for the fire department’s recent call at the auction facility.