By Chad Koenen
The cost for just about everything has went up exponentially over the past few years, and the Henning Public Utilities Department is no exception.
During its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Nov. 6, the Henning City Council heard from Henning Pubic Utilities Supervisor Ted Strand who stated the cost for things like a transformer could make hooking up to Henning Public Utilities cost prohibitive. As a result, Strand brought forward a request for the city council to reconsider its hookup fee policies and past practices to make installing city utilities a bit more palatable for local businesses and residents.
“These costs have really gotten extreme to get gas installed to a property,” said Strand.
Strand said the past practice for installing a gas line was 100 percent on the property owner. Since many of the costs associated with installing gas services have skyrocketed in recent years, Strand said his concern was installing natural gas was too cumbersome for a property owner.
Instead, he suggested the city look at splitting the cost for installing natural gas at 50/50 for a property owner as a way to spur additional natural gas customers moving forward. Even if the city foots part of the bill for installing natural gas to properties in the area, the thought was the city would recoup that cost in a relatively short time and potentially within a year.
Henning City Councilman Scott Hart said he was in favor of splitting the costs associated with installing natural gas and electric to properties in the city as a way to promote further growth, as well as expand the city’s public utilities.
“My thought would be go 50/50. It promotes growth and development at the same time,” he said.
The city council approved splitting the cost for the hookups of installing natural gas and electric to new utility customers.
In other news
• Approved a liquor license request from Brandy Hanson and Roxann Skerik for Gateway Pub. Both Hanson and Skerik are in the process of purchasing the downtown Henning bar and restaurant.
• Approved a request from Diane Thorson to explore an Active Transportation Grant that could bring a consultant to the community to plan for future transportation projects. The city council also gave its blessing for Thorson to seek grants for work to be completed at the baseball and softball fields, as well as the festival grounds.
• Discussed a request from a local resident to install an electric speed sign on Inman St. near Willow Creek Assisted Living. Henning Mayor Robert Johnson said there is currently no electricity near the intersection of Willow Creek, but a sign could be located near Pro Ag where it was previously located. The cost to install a new electric sign would be $3,000 and a solar sign would be $6,000. The previous electric sign near Pro Ag no longer works.
• Approved moving forward with vacating the alley near Star Apartments on Fergus Ave. per a previous request by Beth Rose. The city will need to hold a public hearing to officially vacate the road.
• Approved a request from Pam Wiese and Laura Smith for funding for the library’s Pages For a Purpose campaign. The city approved donating $2,000 to the school and community library through a program with Missouri River, which will then reimburse the city $1,000 for the program. Smith said the goal of the program was to raise $100,000 for the Pages For a Purpose program, of which around $60,000 has already been raised.
• Discussed the city’s preliminary tax levy increase proposal. The city council has proposed a 20 percent tax levy increase for 2024, but Johnson said he wanted to speak with city staff to see if that number could be decreased before it is finalized later this year.
• Approved a proposal from Precision Landscape and Irrigation for sidewalk snow removal at Willow Creek. The cost per season to remove snow from the sidewalks will be $945, which will include a 1” trigger shoveling. The business will not salt or sand the sidewalks or to remove snow when there was just a dusting. The cost to remove snow from the decks would be $236.25 per visit.
• Approved allowing the skate park committee to install a new skate park at the Henning Festival Grounds as soon as next year. The city council heard from committee members who said they have received a grant from the Blandin Foundation for $65,000 to complete the project. The total cost of the project is estimated to be approximately $92,500-100,000, of which the remaining balance will need to raised by the committee.