1/28/2014 12:50:00 PM Council ponders pet pig problem
By Larry Dobson
Dodge Center City Council meetings are usually interesting and Monday's regular meeting was no exception, as council members struggled with finding a way to accommodate a young man's desire to keep his unusual porcine companions. Blake Samlaska and his mother Kari Samlaska asked the council to find a way Blake can keep two housebroken pigs, Butch and Suzy, whom he considers almost siblings and with whom he cannot bear to part. Kari told the council Butch and Suzy are given baths, use a litter box and even sleep in bed with young Blake. Samlaska said the family recently bought a home in Dodge Center but would have to move if there is no way for Blake to keep his two companions.
Mayor Bill Ketchum explained to the Samlaskas that the city ordinance addressing exotic animals doesn't allow pet pigs in a home but asked city staff to explore what options the city may have to effect a mutually satisfactory resolution to the problem, although he said he is not optimistic about the results. Pending a council decision, the city is allowing Blake to keep his pets.
In other business, the council meeting opened with a floodplain zoning ordinance public hearing for which no public appeared. After a brief presentation about flood plain areas in Dodge Center by City Administrator Lee Mattson, the council approved the ordinance, which will allow city residents and businesses to purchase flood insurance.
The council authorized Mattson to move ahead with negotiations with Triton officials regarding an application for a MNDOT TAP grant to build safe pathways for students walking to and from school and for adults out walking for exercise. Mattson must meet with the county board to persuade it to sponsor the project, work out a mutually agreeable financing plan with the school administration for local share funds required by the grant and then wrap things up in a special meeting between city and school officials so the grant application can be submitted by the deadline Friday, January 31, 2014.
Last year the city designed a drainage project to replace a failing viaduct through the old railroad bed on the west side of the MTM complex. The design was given to McNeilus Truck Manufacturing for review but stalled at that point. After discussion, the council voted to move ahead with completing the project as originally designed.
The council approved a request from Triton School for approximately 40 single-day pool passes to be used as rewards in the Triton HERO (Helping Everyone Respect Others) program.
The council approved pursuing a grant to install a dual fuel system at the airport using city FAA entitlement funds. The overall cost of the project is estimated at around $140,000, of which the city would have to fund $14,000. The airport board recommended approval and estimated added fuel sales would reimburse the city's investment in about three years.