TOWER— The city council here, on Tuesday, approved the hiring of Terri Joki Martin, of Embarrass, to serve as the city’s deputy clerk. The city has been without the services of a deputy clerk since Stephanie Carlson resigned last summer, although Martin had been providing assistance through a temp agency for the past month.
A hiring committee appointed by Mayor Josh Carlson made the recommendation following interviews with two candidates for the position last Friday. While the committee saw both candidates as qualified, they picked Martin for her added technical skills and her nine years of prior experience as a 911 dispatcher, during which she dealt extensively with the public and emergency responders.
The council, headed by Acting Mayor Lance Dougherty in place of Carlson who was absent, also appointed Martin to serve as the city’s deputy election judge. She will be undergoing training ahead of the Nov. 8 election. Martin, who has already been filling in at city hall, will remain on the job without any break in her service.
In other action, the council approved a resolution to establish a redevelopment district across the city’s entire downtown as well as the former Marjo Motel property and the marina. The designation will enable prospective business owners and developers to tap additional sources of funding, including some grant funding, to undertake renovations or new construction within the district. The city’s Main Street Committee had made the recommendation to adopt the redevelopment zone at a meeting in August.
The council also urged prompt action on adoption of an ATV ordinance, following criticism on Facebook over the Breitung Police Department’s stopping of a local resident who was driving a golf cart on city streets. Council members have maintained for months that they are eager to adopt an ordinance opening city streets to ATVs, golf carts, and similar vehicles, but they have been waiting for model language from St. Louis County. According to City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith, a new county ordinance opening county roads outside of municipalities to ATVs allows for local ATV clubs to request opening up streets within cities as well, but the local club in Tower has been waiting for the county to draft the appropriate language.
Under current state law, said Keith, without such an ordinance, the use of golf carts on city streets is not allowed. Once an ordinance granting such use is adopted, residents who wish to use ATVs or golf carts on city streets will need to obtain a city permit to do so.
In other business, the council:
• Tabled a decision on an offer by the Vermilion Housing Corporation to sell a parcel of land just north of the Tower apartment complex.
• Denied a request by Vermilion Housing for the city to apply for CDBG funds to replace the city water line to the apartments. While councilors were sympathetic to the request, they indicated that replacement of the 40-year old line is not as high of a priority as some other much older lines.
• Approved a change in the land description for the harbor project to give Tower Vision 2025, which is planning to develop the site for town houses and commercial/retail establishments, more flexibility as the company fine tunes its design.
• Heard a report on progress surveying the utility setup at Hoodoo Point Campground. “We needed to find stuff that was buried for years there,” said City Engineer Jason Chopp. “It’s kind of spaghetti out there.”
The work is being done in preparation for the planned installation of several new seasonal campsites at Hoodoo Point. Campground co-manager Randy Pratt estimated the new sites would generate at least $20,000 in additional revenue annually.
• Granted a request by Tekstar Communi-cations to install a new fiber optic cable to the communications tower on the hill on the city’s north side. The city would not receive any compensation for the installation, but Keith said the improved connection would potentially improve service in the city for AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile customers.
• Approved a resolution requesting to obtain the site of the former Northern Cabin and the adjacent abandoned building from St. Louis County for economic development. The buildings were demolished in late summer and the land is now available for new construction.
• Heard that the city will host an open house on Nov. 17 at the civic center to update the public on development plans around the harbor and elsewhere in the city.
• Heard from Councilor Joan Broten about a blight complaint involving several cars that are housed at a property on the city’s north side. Keith said the cars are all currently licensed, which appears to put the property owner in compliance with the city’s ordinance. The council did, however, ask Police Chief Jesse Anderson to look into the issue.
• Approved the re-roofing of the football field concessions stand, which was damaged in a recent storm.
• Heard from Steve Altenburg on the status of the city’s fire and ambulance services. Altenburg said the fire department has had a very busy year so far, with 54 calls through September. “We ended the year with 40 calls last year,” he said. “We also had a record September for the ambulance,” he added.