Fire Chief Dale Koehler recognized dedicated and hard working members of the Amery Fire Department during the Amery City Council meeting Feb. 6.
Koehler said, “I like to put faces to names so when people in the community see us they can immediately say hi.” He shared that the department had recently held their annual elections and there had been some changes of officers. Koehler introduced Tommy Dusek to attendees of the meeting and announced that Dusek was the newly elected captain of Company D. The fire department is made up of four companies, each one having their own captain. Dusek has been a member of the department for 10 years.
Koehler went on to recognize members who have recently completed “Firefighter II” at WITC. Joining Koehler and Dusek were Mike Shepherd, Kelli Ash and Craig Lysne. Missing from the accomplished group were Jacob Abbott, Josh Williamson and Kacey Fredrick. “We had two people complete ‘Fire I’ this year, which is a 96 hour course, plus 16 hours for Hazmat training. That is a big commitment,” said Koehler. He shared that Mike Shepherd and Josh Williamson completed “Firefighter I and II” in the same calendar year. Koehler explained that is three semesters worth. Koehler said, “I feel really good about the future because we have a lot of great young firefighters getting highly trained.”
In other reports during the meeting, City Administrator Kim Moore shared that they are trying to adjust to not having Fran Duncanson at City Hall anymore. She said there has been one applicant for the Management Analyst position. Interested persons have until Feb. 17 to apply for that position. There are five applicants for the City Clerk/Treasurer position and Duncanson has agreed to sit in on the first round of interviews with Moore.
“I want to remind everyone that it has been a very strange winter,” said Public Works Director Bones McCarty in the opening remarks of his committee report. “If you have water pipes that run along your walls underneath sinks, open the cabinet doors and let some heat in. Keep in mind that you do have a control valve somewhere in your house to shut off the water line other than the one we have out in the yard. If it breaks prior to your valve then call us and we will turn the water off outside. Your valve should be right by your water meter,” said McCarty. He also shared that there is a leaky hydrant at the bottom of Arch Street that the crew is working on getting fixed.
Chief of Police Tom Marson shared department’s annual report.
Amy Stormberg, Amery Public Library director, said that in 2018 the library went up in circulation by 6,052. They circulated 96,847 materials at the library during the past year. Also, on Jan. 1, the library went fine free. “We no longer accrue late fees. If you lose something or damage something, you still have to pay for it, but if you turn something in two days late, you are no longer going to get a fine,” shared Stormberg.
She also shared that the library now follows the school closings in terms of when to be closed due to weather. If the schools are closed, the library will be closed as well. Stormberg said, “If the school deems that it is unsafe to be outside, we do not want people traveling to the library.”
Mayor Paul Isakson shared that the city has only received back 50 percent of the surveys sent out to Amery residents for the necessary income study to be conducted to apply for community block grants. The city would like to be at 80 percent. “If you still have them please send them in, otherwise we will have to forego the grants and it was quite a bit of money that we were going to apply for,” said Isakson.
In other business, the council is looking into modifications in the North Park Camp Host position, approved two signs for Jimmy John’s which is slated to open in mid-March, decided to move forward with the demolishing of 121 Deronda Street, approved camera updates to the police department building and approved Operator licenses for Adam Berglund and Katie Husnich.
The committee decided that more information would be needed before deciding how updates to the heating and cooling system at the Amery Community Center should be handled.
The committee also approved a payment be made out of the city’s general fund on repairs made to a fire department ladder truck.
Lastly, Moore shared that she received a call from Paul Justice about the inability of his wife to get around snow and ice covered city sidewalks in her wheelchair. It sparked a discussion about areas that do not currently have sidewalks. If sidewalks were installed by the city in front of homes, the cost would be assessed to the property owners. Also, it was reminded that homeowners are responsible for clearing the sidewalks in front of their homes.