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Council wrestles with permits

The Wadena City Council deliberated on several business license issues during its monthly regular meeting on Tuesday.

Some Wadena residents received flyers from City Sanitary Service, but because of licensing issues, the service will not be immediately available.

Nick Davis of City Sanitary Service, based out of Park Rapids, said he had handed out flyers not realizing he needed a license. At the council meeting, he requested a license to haul residential and commercial trash in Wadena.

"We do all of Hubbard County and some of Wadena County," Davis said.

City Administrator Brad Swenson said that the application was filled out and in order.

Two other haulers operate in Wadena: City Dray and Waste Management.

Davis said Park Rapids had five haulers.

Davis said that City Sanitary Service would also offer recycling once a month.

The final price including fees would be $20.30 a month.

Mayor Wayne Wolden said he heard concerns that a third hauler might cause existing haulers to leave.

"Our ordinance doesn't have a cap on the number of licenses," he said, adding that the League of Minnesota Cities best practices recommends a public hearing and reference checks.

The council made a motion to table the discussion until the next regular council meeting at 5 p.m. on March 8.

The council approved a snack stand for Alicia Jones of Wadena in order for her to operate on city grounds.

"We need something to offer families when they come to Wadena when they're at Little League games, when they're at the softball complex, because we have nothing," Jones said.

She said she talked with Kyle Dykhoff and had been on the summer recreation board, and said she would be going through the Wadena County Public Health.

The water and electricity would be self-contained, Jones said.

"I told her that we would need to have defined dates and times, which she did in her letter," Swenson said. "I don't see that it falls under our peddlers or transient merchant ordinance. It's not the same because it's on city property."

"I think this will be a real nice feature for the kids playing baseball this summer," council member Don Niles said.

Frank Orsello, owner of Tattoos By Frank, and Deno Orsello asked the city council to drop the city ordinance and license fee, tentatively set at $30, since the state regulations and license fees were already in place.

The state of Minnesota started licensing tattoos and charging license fees as of Jan. 1.

Frank Orsello said the total state-imposed fees were already about $1,500 to keep doing his job.

Deno Orsello said the state license fees were making it hard to keep prices affordable, and potential customers might be drawn to cheaper unlicensed tattoos.

"To my knowledge, I'm the only licensed tattooist in the [Wadena] area," Frank Orsello said, adding that he is active with community events and benefits.

Minnesota law no longer allows minors to get tattoos, even with parents' permission.

"Some kids are still getting tattoos, and they're not getting them out of Tattoos By Frank," Deno Orsello said. "It's happening. It's happening in Wadena, it's happening in Perham, it's happening in Staples. They're out there."

Council members said one of the main purposes of the city's ordinance was meant to help reputable artists by covering enforcement gaps in the state law.

"If there's somebody doing something out of their garage, and you call the police, but for the local ordinance, nothing's going to happen," Wolden said. "Now if you find something out, you call the police department and say hey, somebody's giving rotten tattoos, they're working out of that garage, and guess what, Bruce [Uselman] can go and charge them with a misdemeanor, and they go to court."

Swenson and council member Kay Browne said that $30 was consistent with other processing fees charged and was fair to everyone.

Council member Toby Pierce said that dropping the fee would help a small business which was already charged by the state.

The council decided to table the discussion, since city attorney Jeff Pederson was not present.

The city council approved a license for Kimberly Sue Johnson, who operates Kim's Taxi Service in Menahga.

The council also decided to update the limits of liability insurance for the next regular meeting.

"We in the past have had taxi business in town. The most recent one was Stoneman's Taxi," Swenson said.

He said that Johnson's references were good and she had complied with licensure requirements.

Swenson said that there was a city ordinance allowing only one taxi cab operator per year, and that another person had approached them a few weeks ago. Swenson said he had showed that person the guidelines and hadn't heard back afterward.

"I was on that council at the time we did this, and the issue was subsidy," Wolden said. "Now there's no subsidy. I don't know that we need the restriction for the number of licenses."

"We should amend it before somebody else comes on," council member Jeanette Baymler said.

Niles said that the city should also raise the insurance requirements, which had not been updated since 1981.