Citizens of Wabasso welcome Rabbit back home

Deb Moldaschel
Redwood Falls Gazette

What makes a small town a great place to live? It might be fun traditions and a sense of community identity. Well, the good news for Wabasso is that the Rabbit is back and once again greeting everyone along Highway 68. At the Nov. 8 City Council meeting, city administrator Larry Thompson told the Council that the Rabbit, and a twin, were due in town by Nov. 19 and they did indeed arrive that day.

The Wabasso Rabbit is back and looking fresh. He brought along his twin who may soon grace the Athletic Field.

Thompson told the Gazette the original rabbit was getting shabby and probably ready for replacement when the city was approached by a fabricator who offered to furnish two aluminum replicas in exchange for the old rabbit so they could use it as a mold going forward. City staff will recommend to the Council that the second rabbit be placed by the Athletic Field.

At the Nov. 8 meeting, EDA Board President Pat Eichten reported on ongoing discussions, including that a meeting with an architect would be held to review plans for a duplex or 4-plex. Eichten reported the EDA Board approved a 5% increase in rent at the 5-plex to $735 per month. 

Thompson provided the Council with an update on the Schlemmer building permit. He said Mr. Schlemmer felt there was a misunderstanding between him, and the former Clerk and he felt he didn’t need a permit for removing sidewalk or installing the driveway. Thompson said he contacted the former Clerk and she stated she did not state it was ok without a permit. Thompson said the fine will be issued and Mr. Schlemmer can appeal it to the Council.

Thompson presented a report on the numerous city bank accounts—32 different accounts consisting of checking accounts, savings accounts and CDs in four separate banks—with a recommendation to consolidate the accounts into three checking and three savings accounts in one bank, one each for the EDA, Library, and General Checking. The EDA and Library boards approve payments from their respective operations. The Council accepted the report and directed Thompson to proceed with consolidation of bank accounts. 

Thompson advised the Council that the Clerks’ office will be closed on Friday, Nov. 26.

Jim Jenniges, Streets Maintenance Superintendent, reported that the streets had been swept and the plow had been installed on the one-ton pickup. 

Thompson reported to the Council that the city received no applicants for the position of Public Utilities Supervisor and based on feedback from the industry it was unlikely the city would receive any application in the future. Thompson said the day to day operations were being covered through additional part-time help and overtime and that licensing could be covered via a service contract. He recommended the council accept the proposal by PeopleService to provide 10 hours/week for licensed sewer and water service at $2,535 per month, the city advertise for permanent part-time or full-time help to assist Jenniges who would manage both the Street and Public Utility departments. "Mr. Jenniges has really stepped up to the plate and is recommending a number of labor savings initiatives, as well as settling into the day to day tasks," said Thompson.

Jenniges submitted a proposal by Quality Flow for the water treatment plant controls and high service pump replacement the was included in the budget, plus an add on for a cellular monitoring system for the water plant, wastewater plant and lift station. Councilor Olson asked how the monitoring system was to be funded. Thompson said it would be financed from the fund balances. 

The Council approved the purchase of the water panel and high flow pumps ($63,730) and cellular monitoring system ($10,740) from Quality Flow. The Council also approve that the city advertise for a full- or part-time person to assist the Street Maintenance Superintendent.