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City council looking into propane tank liability

The Philip City Council meeting Tuesday, September 7, started by getting the easier business taken care of first.

The council approve payment of all current bills, except part of the swimming pool project, which would be discussed later in the meeting.

The council approved building permits to David Fitzgerald to rebuild/replace a deck, Barry Knutson to build a 16'x28' garage, decking and a fence, Vera Nelson to replace a front step and railing and to realign and repair the front porch, Gary Stephenson to replace a damaged home with a new 28'x44' to 50' home in the same location and to replace the garage roof and walls, Corky and Zoni Thorson to renew an old permit to replace sidewalk, decking and fence, and Roger Williams to build a deck at 604 W. Pine St.

Les Pearson with Dakota Mill and Grain proposed a replatting of Dakota Mill and Grain Lots 1 & 2, re-platting parcels/lots in NE¼ Sec 23, T1N, R20E, BHM & NW1/4 Sec 24, T1N, R20E, BHM. The plat is "basically cleaning it all up," said Pearson. Four different property owners have signed agreements and the right-of-way past the grain elevator is platted in. The city's engineering representative, Harlan Quenzer of Schmucker, Paul, Nohr and Associates, said, "Easements sometime get lost or forgotten or not recorded. If the right-of-way is platted right in, it would be better." The council approved the preliminary plat, to be looked at again once it is nearer being official.

Quenzer updated the council of the swimming pool replacement project. The stainless steel gutters are in place and depth mark lines are being put in. "It's going to start really shaping up here real quick," said Quenzer. Associated Pool Builders Inc. and SPN will clarify two contract points before payment on those points will be made. One concerns additional fill material supplied by the city of Philip and the other concerns repairing a filter room void.

Pavement maintenance and runway striping at the airport has been completed.

The Wood/Walden Avenue project is causing concern and landowners will be contacted in the next few weeks. Some of them may have their street-front property set back. The streets are to be straightened on the east side. Quenzer said, "We would like to put the street where it really is, not where the plat says it is. One plat was not even filed."

The city's application for Small Community Planning Grants to offset the costs for wastewater and storm sewer facility plans have been approved.

The council reviewed and approved the first reading of the Municipal Appropriations Ordinance. Council member Monte Palecek went on record in voting nay. He is not in favor of another full-time city employee nor of funding the Matched Bronc Ride without annually reducing them. The total appropriations and accumulations is listed at $1,185,780. The total means of finance is listed at $1,185,780.

In order for the city to qualify for any kind of outside funding, the council had to approve new water utility usage rates, effective with the February 2011 water billing. The council also had to establish sewer utility usage rates, effective with the April 2011 sewer billing.

The council approved establishing an account for the accumulation of any remaining second penny sales tax revenues not to exceed $125,000 for future capital improvement projects to the rights-of-way and infrastructure. The accumulation of funds will not exceed 60 months without making expenditures from the account.

The council is looking into possible legal liability issues concerning propane tank placement. Awareness of the issue came through Paul Merriman with the State Fire Marshall's Office regarding propane tank violations in downtown Philip. Though some tanks have been in the same locations for 50 years, Merriman stated, "containers of this capacity should be located at least 10 feet from any structures, lines of adjoining property, and or public ways." Some tanks in Philip are in violation, yet there is no legal place for them to be moved. Merriman wrote, "It is recommended that this be addressed with a service technician well versed in liquified petroleum gas installations as soon as possible."

According to Lola Roseth, Haakon County emergency manager, any applications to the Homeland Security Grant program for 2010 will highly scrutinized. Projects that may have been allowed in the past may not be allowed in the future. All projects will be examined to ensure that everything fits the investments and all projects are legitimate needs. .

The next regularly scheduled meeting for the Philip City Council will be at 7:00 p.m. Monday, October 4, in the community room of the Haakon County Courthouse.