On Tuesday the Redwood Falls city council approved the purchase of a new (to the city, at least) vehicle for trimming tree branches around town.

On Tuesday the Redwood Falls city council approved the purchase of a new (to the city, at least) vehicle for trimming tree branches around town.
The advantage, in addition to greater safety and efficiency — with any luck, it won’t cost the city a dime.
Currently the city uses a bucket lift that can reach up to 35 feet, but can only travel down the city’s streets at about five miles per hour.
The bucket truck also has little control on slippery streets.
After considering the costs of buying a trailer to haul the lift around, city staff found a better alternative.
This week several members of the Public Utilities visited the city of Austin, where they found a much safer truck that can travel down city streets at normal speeds.
The cost of the used truck: $14,000. Upon receiving the bucket truck, the city will put its old lift up for sale.
However, while the old lift isn’t very efficient at traveling around town to trim  trees, it is in demand at construction sites.
Based on current costs of used lifts, the city hopes to break even, or perhaps even make a small profit from the exchange of equipment.
In other city news, the council:
• Approved renewing the city’s group health plan with Preferred One. Because of requirements of the Affordable Health Care Plan, the city’s insurance premiums will increase by 15.71 percent.
• Approved a variance request by James and Patricia Tersteeg to place an additional sign and increase the allowable square footage for signs on the property located at 1111 East Bridge St.
The purpose of the additional sign is to increase visibility from the highway for the current grocery store. As currently planned, the new sign would exceed the height restrictions and additions below the sign would violate the city’s ordinance for minimum heights for line-of-sight issues.
However, due to the property’s large frontage area, the planning commission recommended approval of the variance.
• Approved a resolution to apply for a $719,000 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources grant funds to complete Phase III of the Ramsey Park improvements.
Planned improvements would include playground equipment replacement, renovation of the park bathrooms, restoration of the Zeb Gray shelter, and refurbishment of the existing walking trails.
Estimated total costs of the project are approximately $800,000. To give matching funds, the grant would require the city to provide up to $80,000 in funding. Match funds have already been committed by the Friends of the Park, and pledged up to $40,000.
• Approved to continue with an Assessment Services Agreement with the county, under which the county would continue to provide property assessment services to the city for another three years at an annual cost increase of 1.5 percent.
• Heard a proclamation by Mayor Gary Revier declaring that Oct. 20-26, 2013, “Minnesota Manufacturers Week”, will be observed in Redwood Falls.
• Approved small changes in the RACC Silver Sneakers program as of Jan. 1, 2014, involving modifications in how member visits are reimbursed by  certain insurance plans.