WINTER 2005

Volume 8  · Number 4

A joint City and Township Newsletter

 

ALL

 

ABOUT

 

 

AVON

 

 

What’s inside………..

1.                     This and That

2.                     Public Works Department

2.                     Water/Wastewater Department

3.                     Avon Fire and Rescue

3.                     Police Department

4.                     City Clerk/Administrator and Council

5.                     Over the Hills of Avon Club

6.                      Avon Chamber News

7.                      Avon Township News

8.                     Understanding your Assessment

9.                     Community Information

10.                    Holiday Happenings

 

THIS AND THAT

 

by:  Kathy Schulzetenberg

Administrative Assistant

 

ATTENTION: Changes in Utility Billing

Your December utility bill, which will go out on or about January 1st, will appear to be smaller than normal – this is due to a change in reading dates.  The water department will be reading meters in the middle of the month from now on, to allow more time in which to read the meters and allow more flexibility in utility billing.  Your future bills will reflect water/sewer consumption from the middle of one month through the middle of the next month and the monthly access fees from the first through the last of the month.  So, starting in February the amount of your bills will be as normal.  Upon moving out of a residence, expect that the bill will reflect one and a half month’s water usage.

            Payments are always due on the 23rd of each month.  Any payments received after the 23rd may not always be reflected on your current bill.          As always, if you have any questions regarding utility billing, contact Kathy at the City Hall at 356.7922.

 

ATTENTION:  Utility and Buecker’s payments –

            There is a drop off box in the City Hall entryway for your convenience.  Please do not staple your checks to the payment stubs.  Also, please use a separate envelope for Buecker’s payments.  Thank you! 

 

ATTENTION:  Dog owners  -

You must have your pet licensed each year.  Please bring in vet papers showing that your pet has had his/her updated rabies vaccines. 

 

ATTENTION: Organizations using meeting rooms -

If you have not paid the $25 yearly fee for 2006, please do so by December 10.  Upon receiving your payment we will schedule you for your meetings next year.

 

PUBLIC WORKS

 

Snow Plowing Policy for the City of Avon

­      No parking on any city street or right of way from November 15th to April 1st  from 1:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.

­      Cleaning snow away from mailboxes is the responsibility of the homeowner and also to repair or replace any mailbox that does not swing away when hit by snow or snow plow.

­      Posts, fences, or anything else, put up by residents on city right-of-way damaged by snow removal equipment is also the homeowner’s responsibility.

­      For the safety of all, please keep fire hydrants clear of snow.

­      Snow may NOT be dumped or blown into the city street.

­      Please allow snow removal equipment plenty of room to do their job properly and effectively.  STAY BACK!!

­      If you have any questions please contact the City Hall at 356-7922.

 

SKATING RINKS

The SKATING RINKS will open in mid-December, weather permitting.  There will be two rinks located at the Ochotto Lake Park.

A new WARMING HOUSE has been built.  The warming house will be locked if vandalism occurs.  Anyone interested in volunteering to staff the warming house should call the City Hall.

 

 

 

 

The Avon Chamber will be sponsoring a

 “Light up the Night” Christmas decorating contest for all Avon Businesses. 

 

First prize - $50 off 2006 chamber dues.

Sign up with Jess Pogatschnik at 356-7838.

Judging will be held on December 17th and the winner will be posted on the marquee.

 

A Letter from the

Desk of Avon’s

Water/Wastewater

 Superintendent

 

By:  Tom Blomer

 

Welcome to winter 05-06. I want to address a couple of concerns I have regarding winter operation of the water system. Most of you have a black button or a register for your water meter on the side of your house near your gas and electric meters. Some of you have bushes or other obstacles in front of the meter that hampers quick reading of it. Please clip the bushes back or remove any other obstructions. Also, if you notice that snow is piling up in front of the meter, please remove it.  By doing so you save the water department time and the city money in meter reading costs (helps to hold down rate increases).  Again this year, if you have a fire hydrant near your property and notice that it is becoming obstructed by snow, please go ahead and clear it away. We do our best to do this job, but we can not get to it as quickly as you, the home owner. Remember, that fire hydrant is protecting YOUR house and your neighbors’ houses.  Thank you for your continued cooperation.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Water/Wastewater Department staff!

 

 

 

 

Saturday, December 3rd  12 noon – 4 pm

at Avon City Hall

 

Christmas Gift Shop

sponsored by the Avon Women of Today

 

Everyone is welcome to shop for family and friends at the gift shop.  Low priced gifts will be available for everyone on your Christmas shopping list!  Gift bags are included with purchases.  Children will be offered assistance with their shopping if needed.  

There will also be gifts to make and take for a small fee along with crafts for children to do and Christmas cards for adults to make.

 

 

BY:  Eric Linn – Fire Chief

 

The Avon Fire Department is on pace for another record-breaking year for calls.  They responded to 135 calls last year and are presently at 111 to date for the year 2005.

Minnesota is at 28 fire related deaths for the year.  In 2004 there was a total of 43 fire-related deaths.  The three leading causes of structure fires in Minnesota for 2004 were cooking, heating and arson.

A reminder:  Be careful with alternative heat sources due to high heating costs.  If you are going to burn wood make sure you have your chimney cleaned first.  Also have your stove checked – be sure it is clean and safe for the season.  Electric space heaters can also be dangerous if not used properly according to manufacture’s directions.  Candles have also been proven to be very deadly.  If you must burn candles, please keep combustibles at least three feet away from the burning candle.

This winter the fire department asks that you team up with your neighbors to help keep the fire hydrants shoveled clear of snow. In the event of a fire this is one less obstacle to deal with.

The department has also noticed several trees planted close to hydrants.  Please keep trees at least ten feet away from hydrants.  If in question, please call the City Hall or the Fire Chief before planting and please take down or move any existing trees that are in the way in the event of a fire in your neighborhood.

Township Residents:  Please take a look at your yards and private roads.  Trim low branches, leaving at least 13 – 14 feet in height and as much width as possible, to allow room for trucks to enter.  This will reduce damage to rescue vehicles, as well as not hinder response time. 

            The fire department will once again be in your neighborhood in December distributing community calendars.  Thank you again to all of the area businesses that sponsor this annual calendar.  The money raised allows each resident in the city and township to have a fire calendar and also raises approximately $3000, which is put towards equipment.  The year’s profits will be used for equipment on the new pumper-tanker to be delivered in the spring.

            Season’s greetings and happy holidays from all the members of the Avon Fire and Rescue

            Check out this informative website:

www.dps.state.mn.us   From there you can link to the MN State Fire Marshal, MN State Patrol, DNR websites, and others.

 

 

As of 11-08-2005 the police department has responded to 1465 calls for service. 

Recently the police department has been receiving complaints from individuals regarding a telephone solicitation. Apparently suspects are contacting people by telephone claiming they are representatives of the Avon State Bank and are asking for bank account information and other personal information. Please use extreme caution when giving out any personal information over the telephone.  When in doubt hang up, try not to conduct personal business over the telephone.

            The police department is also looking for help in solving recent church burglaries.  The Sonrise Lutheran Church in Avon was burglarized on 10-08-2005 and again on 11-07-2005. In the first burglary several pieces of electronic equipment were stolen including but not limited to, a power point projector, digital camera, musical keyboard, and other musical equipment. In the most recent burglary a 60-inch Sony projection television was stolen.  Forced entry was made in both cases and we believe the first burglary occurred in the middle of the afternoon and the most recent in the early morning hours. For further information related to these incidents please visit www.tricountycrimestoppers.org.  Anyone with information, please contact the Avon Police Department.

            The police department is still working on the possibility of placing traffic control devices at both ends of the school zone.  Conduit was placed under the roadway before it was resurfaced.  The cost total of this project is in the area of $8000.       As always anyone with any comments, suggestions, or concerns, please contact this department at 320-356-7575.

 

 

OVER THE HILLS

OF

AVON CLUB

. . . providing activities for active adults age 55+ in Avon and the surrounding area

 

 

The Over the Hills of Avon Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month at the Avon City Hall.  The Club originated in January of this year and there are currently 49 members!

            At the September meeting the members enjoyed a meal of lasagna, garden salad (with Regina’s fabulous dressing!), garlic bread and dessert.  Paula Keck, a certified personal trainer, spoke to the group about the importance of exercise and demonstrated several techniques that can be done to build energy and increase overall health.

            On September 29th the club enjoyed a night out at Fisher’s Club of Avon.  For some of the members this was a first dining experience at Fisher’s and everyone was delighted at the extensive menu, the quality of food and service, and the down home atmosphere!

            The October meeting was held during Fire Safety Week and Chief Eric Linn gave a tour of the Avon Fire Department and answered questions that our residents had.  He spoke about fire safety and handed out batteries for smoke detectors.  He reminded citizens to know the exits to their homes so that they can safely leave their houses as quickly as possible.  Chief Eric Linn and fireman Tim Swarthout graciously took the time to grill hot dogs and brats for the club and joined them for their monthly meal. 

            Eric can be reached at 363-0005 if you have any questions regarding fire safety or need to obtain a burning permit.

            The monthly business tour was held on Wednesday, October 19 with 17 members in attendance.  The group enjoyed a hayride and tour at the 4R Ranch south of Avon.  Afterwards everyone warmed up with homemade chicken noodle soup, chicken salad sandwiches on homemade bread, and pumpkin dessert – compliments of JoAnn Dirkes and Margie Evans!  They then drove out north of town where Glenn Brix gave a tour of fine-crafted caskets at Coffin Works.

On November 8th, after a potluck lunch the club listened to speakers from the MN Council on Aging and the Social Security Office who gave new and pertinent information on Medicare Part D.  Fliers are available in the entryway of city hall for anyone who would like this information.

            The Over the Hills of Avon members look forward to their Christmas party in December.

 

INTERESTED IN JOINING THE OVER THE HILLS OF AVON CLUB?  Please come to the January 10th meeting at 12 noon.  Membership fees are only $10/year.  Anyone 55 years of age or more, wishing to join, please contact Clara Meyer at 356-7864.  Area  seniors also dine and/or play cards each Tuesday at noon at the Avon City Hall Meeting Room. 

 

Thank you to Regina for sharing her recipe with us!

Jane’s Dressing

 

1 pkg ramen noodle soup mix –

    dry package  only

    any  flavor (chicken, beef, pork, shrimp)

1/4 c sugar

1/3 c rice vinegar

1/2 c oil

salad greens

 

Mix first three ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Slowly pour in oil.  Stir so that it won’t separate.  Toss with salad greens.

 

Season’s greetings to all of our snowbirds!  See you in the spring!
Notes from the

desk of the

 City-Clerk Administrator:

Jodi Austing-Traut

 

 

 

A lot has happened in 2005 in the city council chambers.  In January, the council approved a permit to allow the expansion of Avon Auto and a liquor license for the new owner’s of Joseph’s (formerly Rascal’s).  The city received a $465,000 grant from the MN Dept of Employment and Economic Development to be used to assist Columbia Gear in a major expansion of their facilities.  Also in the first couple of months of 2005, the city’s planning commission was reinstated and five members were appointed to serve.  City and Township officials began meeting to discuss the future of the area in terms of growth and development and the city council hired a comprehensive planner to begin work on a new comp plan for the city. 

            In the spring, by recommendation of the Main Street Beautification Committee, the council hired Illum-a-Nation to begin design work on the main street lighting project.  The Planning Commission, working with the comprehensive planner, developed a new subdivision ordinance and PUD ordinance to regulate and guide future developments in Avon.  Also in the spring of 2005, the city authorized the submission of a grant for housing rehabilitation from the MN Housing Finance Agency (grant funds have not yet been awarded) and work began on the CSAH 9 reconstruction project.

            By mid-summer of 2005, after many meetings and much discussion, the city and township signed a joint resolution for orderly annexation.  A joint planning board was formed to deal with land use issues in the orderly annexation area and over 300 acres was annexed into the city for a new residential development.  By late summer, the council had approved the commencement of Phase II of the Water’s Edge Development and approved permits for the expansion of the Avon Liquor Locker and P.S.I.

            This fall, the council and it’s related commissions and committees have continued to work on the overall growth and development of the community.  Some things being considered and discussed at this time are:

~~~     A Neighborhood Utilities Program which would help buy down the cost for existing home owners areas such as Shorewood Drive, Koppy Lane, Lower Spunk Lane and Poverty Point Drive to hook up to city services

~~~     New restrictions at the city beach are being considered to help “take back the beach” and ensure that city residents can feel safe and enjoy the beach area without some of the disturbances that have been present at the beach in the past few years.

~~~     The council is considering the development of a park’s board to help the council plan for the best use of our current and future park facilities, including the city beach.

~~~     The council is planning to hold regular workshops dedicated specifically to planning-related activities.

The city council meets the first Monday of each month at 7:00 pm.

            We would like to thank Jim Schlangen for his service on the City Council over the past year and wish he and his family luck in their move to Eden Valley.  At the same time, we welcome Daryl Rachey to the City Council.  Daryl has served as chair of the Avon Planning Commission since it was formed in the beginning of January 2005. Daryl has been involved in the development of the comprehensive plan, the orderly annexation agreement, and the new subdivision regulations.

 

NEW & EXCITING

 

AVON

CHAMBER

NEWS

 

 

 

A FRESH OUTLOOK

The Board of Directors of the Avon Area Chamber of Commerce is very excited about the upcoming year.  The newly formed board is exploring some innovative ways of providing area businesses with incentives, support, and business related opportunities. 

 

NEW EVENTS

In addition to our regular monthly meetings, we are planning to sponsor business “Breakfast Club” meetings, “Business After Hours” and other events to provide businesses with a means to provide their input on ways of making Avon a stronger business community.  Any business interested in hosting a Breakfast Club or Business After Hours meeting can contact any board member (names/phone listed below). These events will be an excellent opportunity to network with fellow businesses, give input regarding the chamber’s initiatives, and show other businesses the types of services or products your business can provide.

            There is a committee that is developing Community Welcome Packets.  The welcome committee will greet new businesses and residents as they move into the Avon area.  A packet of information will be provided to promote all the services and amenities Avon has to offer.  If you have any information or items that you would like to be included in the packet to promote or advertise your business, please contact Annette Lange at 356-7976.  You may also drop items off at City Hall or at Lange Trenching. The committee would like to begin assembling packets on December 1st so please have your flyers, coupons, or other promotional items turned in by then. We would like to start by making 50 packets so please bring 50 of each item.

            The Avon Business Expo will be held on February 4th.  The expo will be called “A Taste of Avon”.  This is an incredible opportunity for you to promote and advertise your business products or services to the entire community.  Watch for more information in the mail or contact Trisha Field at 356-9002 for further information.

            The 2006 membership drive will be starting this month, look for your Chamber of Commerce flyer in the mail shortly. If you do not receive a flyer and would like to become a chamber member, please contact Margo Black-Scepaniak at 356-9031 or Jan Grutsch at 356-7943 to get signed up. You do not have to be a business owner to join the Chamber.

 

RECENT EVENTS

We had 27 businesses participate in the Halloween Trick or Treating.  Many of the businesses and parents of the Trick or Treaters commented on how much fun it was and they are looking forward to the possibility of the chamber sponsoring the event again next year.  We want to thank all the businesses who participated to make it such a success and to Jessica Pogatschnik for organizing the event. 

            The pumpkin carving contest was also held that same evening.  There were 23 entries.  Compliments to the creativity of the entries!!  There were 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards given for four age group categories.  Winners can watch for their pictures in the Stearns-Morrison Enterprise.

            The chamber also sponsored an advertising coupon booklet for businesses that wanted to participate.  The coupons were redeemable at the businesses through October 15th.  The redeemed coupons then went into a drawing for ten $25 Chamber Buck winners.  The winners were:

            Winner                                                              Coupon Redeemed

1)         Lorraine Mader                                                  Dahlin’s

2)         Gloria Kleinschmidt                                           Avon True Value

3)         D.J. Dierkhissing                                               Avon Liquor Locker

4)         Tony Kierzek                                                    Dahlin’s

5)          Kenneth Schmidt                                              Amerigas

6)         Kathy Lemke                                                    Dahlin’s

7)         Ethel Loehlein                                                   Avon Liquor Locker

8)         Duane Albers                                                    Amerigas

9)         Brett Malbraaten, Albany                                   Dahlin’s

10)        JoAnn Dirkes                                                     Avon Quick Mart

           

MOVING FORWARD

The Board of Directors is working hard to revitalize the chamber and we really want to get your input and support with our new endeavors.  We hope to give the chamber a fresh new outlook and to develop new events, activities and opportunities that will support and enhance your business.  Please offer your suggestions to any board member as we continue to work diligently on developing programs that will strengthen our business community.  Also remember that regular chamber meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm at City Hall.  This schedule may change as we begin to gather for Breakfast Club and Business After Hours meetings.

 

You can reach board members at:

            Jodi Austing Traut                                                          356-7922

            Jan Schleicher                                                               356-9259

            Margo Black Scepaniak                                                  356-9031

            Jessica Pogatschnik                                                      356-7946

            Annette Lange                                                               356-7976

            Jan Grutsch                                                                   356-7943

            Trisha Field                                                                   356-9002

            Kathy Brix                                                                     356-2217

            JoAnn Dirkes                                                                 249-1550


 

Avon Township News

 

by Cliff Borgerding  356-7191

Cliffborgerding@aol.com

Avon Township Zoning Administrator

 

Winter is coming … thankfully this year is seems to be taking its time getting here!  We had some beautiful fall weather to enjoy the colors and appreciate living in Minnesota and especially in this wonderful Avon Hills area.

 

Annexation Agreement Activity

The Avon Township/City Joint Board has begun meeting to address issues related to the Melton-Gertken-Mitchell property being developed west of Avon south of County Rd 54.

            This is about 300 acres that will be developed and has been annexed to the city under the terms of the Orderly Annexation agreement entered into by Avon Township and the City of Avon.

            The current township representatives on the Joint Board are Richard Bresnahan and Lowell Rushmeyer.  Cliff Borgerding will be the Zoning Administrator as needed for permits variances, etc. that will be required in the area identified as the orderly annexation area.

            In general, the area identified in the orderly annexation area will be governed by township and county land use and zoning ordinances.  The board will review and provide recommendations and commentary on any proposed developments in the annexation area to insure compatibility with the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

            This board will provide an opportunity for the city and township officials to proactively work together to manage the growth that will inevitably occur in the Avon area.

 

Planning Board Activities

            Work on the subdivision ordinance is nearly complete and a draft of the ordinance is being prepared and will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for review at the December or January Board meeting.

 

The intent of the ordinance is to provide guidelines for developments proposed for property outside the Orderly Annexation Agreement area.

            The ordinance will help the township manage additional residential growth to insure development does not adversely affect the township and to make sure it is consistent with the provisions of the Orderly Annexation Agreement between the city and the township.

 

Road Issues:

The board survey of 165th Avenue has been completed in anticipation of rebuilding the road to be able to tar the road.  This is being done in response to a request of some residents who live on the road.

            The board will now begin the process of getting quotes for the cost of the preparing the road for surfacing and the cost of putting down asphalt on the road.

Winter Road Right of Way Issues

            The snow will be here before you know it!  It may still be nice weather but we all know that eventually “Old Man Winter” will appear.

            Plows will be dispatched according to winter conditions and all roads will be opened first and only after all roads have been plowed will the roads be widen and sanded

            Remember to keep your vehicles and other property off the road right of way so the snowplows don’t hit anything.  Also, don’t follow plows too close because you will never win the battle with a snow plow!

            Plows tend to wreak havoc on sheet metal and plastic on cars and trucks if they hit a plow so give them plenty of space on the road.  They may not see you with all that snow flying off the plow. 

            Remember! Don’t put the snow from your driveway in the road right of way or you may be making payments on a plow repair or worse cause an accident.

            Your mail carrier and the newspaper carrier will be really happy too if you shovel out your mailbox so the mail and the paper can be delivered easier as well.  Give the carriers a break and shovel that snow away from your mailbox.

 

Trash Along Township Roads

            We’re still having problems with trash … tires this summer and now someone dumped there dishwasher and a range in the ditch!  This is costing you in taxes to pick up and dispose of this garbage in addition to making our landscape look ugly!!

            Norway Road seems to be a popular area used to get rid of  “unwanted stuff”.  We really need you help to stop this from happening. 

            If you know anything about who is doing this please or see any suspicious activity get a license number and call 911 to report it and then contact a Township Supervisor.

 

County Activities -- only includes issues with township contact involved.

 

  2     New Home Permits Reviewed

11     Home Remodels/Additions Reviewed

4      Residential Acc Bldg Permits Reviewed

1      Farm Accessory Bldg Permits Reviewed

1      Decks/Gazebos/Porches Reviewed

19    Total County Actions Taken

 

Township Activities

 

10     Accessory Building Permits Issued

1      Communications Tower Acc Bldg permits

3      Driveway Permits Issued

1      Certificates of Compliance Issued

5      Plats/Splits Received

4      Variances Received

1      Rezoning Requests Received

1      Interim Use Permit Requests Received

3      City Annexation Requests Presented

29                    Total Township Actions Taken

          

48    Grand Total

 

The Assessor’s Corner-

UNDERSTANDING

YOUR ASSESSMENT

By:  Jeff Johnson

-Assistant Stearns County Assessor

 

What is the senior citizen property tax deferral program?  The senior citizen property tax deferral program is somewhat like a loan.  The state pays the property taxes, then attaches a lien to the property and charges a floating rate of interest (5% or less) which is also deferred. The total deferred taxes plus interest that has accrued is what must be paid back to the state when participation in the program ends.

            What criteria must be met to qualify for enrollment in the program?  In order to qualify (1) the property must be owned and occupied by the owner(s) as a homestead and the owner(s) must be 65 years of age or older; (2) the total household income cannot be more than $60,000; (3) the property must have been owned and occupied by the owner for at least fifteen years prior to enrollment; (4) there cannot be any liens or judgment liens filed against the property; and (5) the total unpaid balances of debts secured by mortgages and other liens on the property cannot exceed seventy-five percent of the property’s estimated market value.      

            When does the deferred tax have to be paid back to the state?  Participation in the program ends when any of the following occurs: (1) the property is sold or transferred; (2) the owner(s) die(s); (3) notification is sent to the Department of Revenue stating the owner(s) wish to withdraw; or (4) the property no longer qualifies for the homestead tax classification. 

            Does this program affect the refunds or rebates that the property owner can apply for?  A property owner can still apply for refunds or rebates based upon the qualifying tax amount listed on the tax statement. Money that was normally returned to the owner as a cash payment is now kept by the state and applied to the total deferred property tax. MN income tax refunds or lottery winnings are also used to reduce the total amount of deferred tax.

How does a property owner apply for the program?  A property owner may request an application from the county assessor’s office or the auditor/treasurer’s office.  The application must be completed and sent to the Department of Revenue for on or before July 1st.  The owner must attach a copy of the current year’s tax statement and a report detailing any mortgages, liens, or judgments on the property.

Does the property owner need to reapply each year?  Once a property owner has enrolled in the program, it is not necessary to reapply.  However, an owner must notify the Department of Revenue in writing by July 1st of the following year if the total household income in a calendar year exceeds $60,000.  No additional property taxes will be deferred until the income drops below $60,000.  At that time, the owner must again write the Department of Revenue and request that the tax deferral be reinstated.   

 

If you have any questions or a need for additional information on this program, please contact me.

 

Stearns County Assessor’s Office; Administration Center, Room 37; 705 Courthouse Square; St. Cloud, MN  56303; Telephone: 320-656-3680 or e-mail: jeff.johnson@co.stearns.mn.us