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City, county each give WOLTRC $8,250

The Wadena City Council pledged $8,250 toward the Wadena-Otter Tail Long Term Recovery Committee (WOLTRC), matching the same amount from Wadena County.

Wendy Molstad and the Rev. Del Moen approached the council about the matching pledges and gave updates on the progress of recovery.

The WOLTRC had previously received funding from Otter Tail County, and this year they have received a pledge from them for $28,500 for staffing through August 2012 contingent on Wadena County pledging some amount.

In turn, Wadena County pledged $8,250 contingent on the city of Wadena matching that pledge.

With the money dedicated to staff dollars, donations from the general public go directly to unmet needs of people affected by the June 17, 2010 EF4 tornadoes.

Mayor Wayne Wolden said that municipalities and counties don't donate - they contract with expected results.

City Attorney Jeff Pederson said that entering into a contract is allowed in an emergency management aspect of a statute which does not have a time limit aspect for a disaster.

Moen said they hope to wrap up the WOTLRC by Aug. 1, and 11 people have applied for the small cities grant which will reduce unmet need in Wadena County.

In a separate agenda item, it was addressed that one of the tornado survivors applying for the grant, Pete Phillips, is also on the Housing and Redevelopment Authority and that it needed to be on the official minutes for conflict of interest possibilities.

The letter from Molstad to the city detailed some of the progress of the committee.

They have helped build 18 new homes, helped repair 87 more homes, put new roofs on 29 structures and painted more than 40 buildings.

Thirty-two households in Wadena County have some unmet needs to the tune of $234,900 as of Dec. 1, 2011, and the committee is hoping that the Small Cities Grant will reduce that to $25,000.

Thirty Otter Tail families have some unmet needs totaling $225,547, and $150,000 of that is farm related to related to tree removal.

Before it was amended by the other four council members, the original motion by Toby Pierce was contingent on the county restoring the $10,000 which was cut from the Kitchigami Regional Library.

In other tornado recovery items, the council terminated the lease agreement with the community center, which the community center board had agreed to. The purpose of the original 1986 lease agreement was to exempt the community center organization from property taxes.

The community center was destroyed in the tornado. A hockey rink has been built on top of the site separate from the proposed replacement wellness center project, and the community center itself is located temporarily on the east side of downtown Wadena until the wellness center project goes through.

A meeting to discuss the wellness center plans was scheduled for March 7.

The council also approved a proposal from Ulteig Engineers with City Administrator Brad Swenson including a written opinion requirement.

Swenson said the sewer report for southwest Wadena had been basically denied but with the chance to appeal. He said Homeland Security was asking them to provide more detail. Swenson said they have pictures showing the roots getting into the sewer lines following the tornado.

Wolden suggestted sending a carbon copy to Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Al Franken and Congressman Chip Cravaack.

In department reports, economic development director Dean Uselman said Wolden received a letter from DEED confirming a $350,000 DEED grant.