Condition of East Lake St. discussed
By Barbie Porter
Thursday nights may be getting more entertaining in Vergas this summer.
The Vergas City Council was asked to allow a food truck to visit the community and live music to be brought in with the concept it may bring people to town and give people something to do.
The council learned the plan is to not block the street at all, just block off a parking spot or two for the food truck.
Vergas City Clerk Julie Lammers said even if the council approves, county approval would also be needed. She added when the council allowed seating for outside eateries this past spring and summer due to COVID-19 restrictions, that allowance expired on Dec. 31.
The council asked what responsibilities the city would have with the event. The council was told man power may be requested to help move picnic tables and parking area barriers.
Vergas Utilities Superintendent Mike DuFrane asked the council to be mindful with the public work member’s time. He noted if that service is provided to one vendor, if other food truck events happen then the same expectation may be had. He added, if there was time, the city crew would be happy to help, but asked they not be obligated.
The council approved allowing a Thursday night food truck and music event in the summer, pending county approval, and as long as it doesn’t impact city labor.
A resident asked if there were fees for food trucks to operate in the city.
Lammers said at this time a license is needed, but there is no cost to obtain one from the city. She added the truck must receive permission from the property owner to use the space. Because the truck will be parked on the street downtown, the permission would need to come from the city and county.
East Lake Street usage
creates spring damage
The council was informed that East Lake Street is in a similar situation as Glenn Street was, it is not located where it is on the plat.
Another issue with the road is the upkeep. Since the storage units along the road were purchased by a business in Vergas, the gravel road has been utilized more. The additional use has created deep ruts as spring weather rolled in.
Councilman Bruce Albright noted the city must allow the business to access its property, so closing the road would not be an option. However, perhaps chatting with the business a short-term solution could be found. He offered to go with the utilities superintendent to discuss the matter. He also encouraged the council to begin considering a long-term solution.
In other news
• The council learned the Vergas-Candor-Dora-Hobart Fire Department calls in 2020 were similar in numbers to 2019 and the majority of fire calls were for mutual aid.
The rescue calls in 2019 mostly happened at night, whereas 2020 the majority of calls were during the day.
• Approved the Vergas Event Center request to purchase a wifi camera system for the venue with a budget limit of $1,000. The funds will be pulled from the event center budget.
• Approved appointing Maggie Puetz as a voting member of the park board.
• Approved a 40 cents per hour wage increase for public works employee Matt Engebretson.
• Approved allowing the planning commission to obtain quotes for a surveyor to mark pins in Townline Road.
The pins will help the committee understand how much of the road right of way would need to be purchased through an easement to maintain the unplatted road. The road is half in Hobart Township and half in the city limits. The part in the township has proper easements in place. Once the surveyor’s quotes are reviewed, the council’s counsel said there would be much more discussion on the topic.
• Noted a public hearing regarding the gravel pit in city limits would be held at 6 p.m. at the Vergas Event Center.
• Approved allowing the mayor and council members to write messages to residents on the monthly billing.
• Approved offering public meetings virtually after the pandemic concludes. The council or committee would need to meet in person, but presenters, the public and other parties could attend virtually through Zoom, if so desired.
Lammers noted once the executive order is lifted by the governor then council is required to meet in person. She added there is discussion at the state level to offer a caveat of allowing each council member to attend virtually for up to three meetings.