Owen Council changes April meeting date


The Owen Common Council held their regular meeting on Tuesday, March 26. Near the beginning of the meeting, they spent about half an hour in closed session with their attorney to discuss the lawsuit that former city clerk Michelle Kind filed against the city. In open session, it was announced that they got an update from their lawyer.
Chief of Police Patrick Fehlman was present to talk about the new quote he got from MuniCode. He said they quoted a price of $20,000 over a two year timeframe to redo the ordinance book and publish it online. The annual cost after that would be $2,450 per year. Fehlman felt the cost was too high. He suggested that the city go through the ordinances a chapter at a time, retype them, and put them on the website. There was also a question about whether the city attorney should look things over a chapter at a time. In addition, there discussion of coordinating Owen’s ordinance numbers with Withee’s numbers. One thing Fehlman did learn in the process was that ordinances can’t be copyrighted, so the current ordinances can be retyped and used as a starting point.
The only item on the Mayor’s Report was whether the testing of the election machines went okay. The answer was yes, the machines will be ready for the election.
Under Other Reports, alderperson Matt Riihinen asked to make a statement. He said that some people after reading his comments in the newspaper thought he was out to eliminate positions. He said that wasn’t his intent. His statement read, “As responsible leaders of this city we need to be forwarding our skills and mindsets to a higher place, to not only better ourselves but to responsibly use the decision making power we hold. The people in charge of this city, the leaders which include employees are not only responsible with the fiduciary duty but the physical as well. That all takes leadership which is crafted from hard work combined with intentionality. If we want to rise Owen up to its potential of being a strong wonderful place. We as city elected officials and city employees need to be intentional with our responsibility to grow.” Riihinen also gave a Tree Committee update. He said Abby Krause, DNR Urban Forestry, walked him through the Tree City USA process. The city needs to have an Arbor Day celebration, spend $2 per capita, and have a tree ordinance. She told him that a Tree Board was not needed, that it could be Public Works in charge of the trees. The Council approved having Riihinen apply for Tree City USA status. The application is due December 1.
The council voted to cancel their April 9 meeting and have that meeting along with their organizational meeting on April 16. Open Book is April 17 and Board of Review is April 24. The City will hold it’s annual clean-up day on May 4 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.