Henning council expresses concerns about proposed project
By Tom Hintgen
Otter Tail County Correspondent
The Henning City Council, on March 1, addressed street repairs, Willow Creek, electric service and city telephone service.
There was discussion about Highway 108 and needed roadway projects through Henning. The entire highway runs from Highway 210, just south of Henning, through the town of Henning and all the way to the town of Ottertail city, northwest of Henning
Concerns were aired in consultation with a representative of MnDOT (Minnesota Dept. of Transportation) concerning proposed 12-foot lanes. Large agricultural vehicles would meet each other along Highway 108 in the city of Henning. Questions also arose about the width of sidewalks and width of parking lanes.
There also were concerns raised about Highway 108 where it meets BalmoraL, a street near St. Edwards Catholic Church and fairgrounds.
This is a joint project of MnDOT and the city of Henning. Options are also related to overlay, reconstruction and storm sewers.
Safety concerns with pedestrians and bicycles also were addressed at the council meeting. A grant is in the works and the city will submit recommendations to MnDOT prior to the March 25 deadline.
An update on the operations of the city-owned Willow Creek independent and assisted living center took place at the March 1 council meeting.
There have been many challenges over the months in light of COVID-19. Social distancing results in different lunch times and afternoon snacks need to take place in individual rooms. This limits socializing among residents, far different from the routines in normal times.
COVID testing of staff members is done on a weekly basis. If a resident is tested positive there needs to be at least a 14-day quarantine.
The quandary would develop if the facility brings in more residents with special assisted living needs. This would bring in more revenue but, at the same time, this might require the need to hire a part-time LPN. Decisions will be delayed until a later date.
Rate Study discussed
Sioux Falls-based Missouri River Energy Services, which provides electricity to Henning, has offered the community to do a study on electric, water and wastewater for the community.
The goal is to determine future costs for each customer class, keep rates as low as possible, and maintain reliability of service.
The study would come at a cost, and some at the council meeting questioned whether the ends would justify the means. Others are in favor of the study. A decision will be reached at a future date.
Henning Mayor Darren Wiese expressed why he is opposed to the study.
“We jammed through a financial advisor a year ago, and now we want to pay for another study. When does it end?”
An Arvig representative, by Zoom, informed council members about a plan to provide a separate internet connection for future phone service in Henning.
The monthly increase to the city will be minimal, only $7 per month, although there will be a one-time installation fee of $450.
After the changeover there will be two internet services from Arvig in the city of Henning.
Perham-based Arvig has phone service with what they say “includes affordable, clear and dependable connections.”