A familiar establishment in Wanamingo will be getting a new look. The Wanamingo City Council approved on-sale liquor and cigarette license at the Jan. 13 regular council meeting for a new business called JB’s Tavern. The new licenses replace those previously held by Merlin Ring for Ringo’s Bar on Main Street.

Local businessman Barney Nesseth is leasing the building from Ring, and Ringo’s Bar officially closed on Jan. 12, 2014. Nesseth said he plans to remodel and make upgrades to the bathrooms, carpeting and tile among other things. Nesseth will handle the finances and his cousin, Justin Nesseth, will manage the bar. JB’s Tavern will officially open for business on January 27.

Financier George Eilerton attended the meeting to answer questions regarding the city’s public finance needs. Following receiving an A- upgrade status from Standard and Poors, the city passed a resolution at the meeting for the sale of general obligation bonds in the amount of $1,085,000. The refinance will save the city roughly 40 percent from their current interest rate. The three bond issues at hand have a potential savings of more than $92,000 for the city, according to City Administrator Michael Boulton.

Mayor Ryan Holmes made a point to address council, Boulton and members of the community and thank them for the well-being of the city this past year and the improvements in city finances. He noted that it is the people’s money and the local government looks to use it wisely. There have been tough decisions, he acknowledged, but the financial situation is improving. The city has managed to pay down approximately $3 million in debt in the past four years.

An unwelcome surprise

Thanks to the sharp eye and quick response of Fire Chief Scott Goodwin and City Works Manager Steve Haggstrom, water damage from a frozen check valve and water line was kept to a minimum. Goodwin noticed water running down the street near City Hall around 1 a.m. on Jan. 11 and immediately contacted Haggstrom. The men located the shut-off valves and turned off the water, which was coming from the city’s back-up well.

Haggstrom said he had been inside the well house earlier and noticed that it was colder than usual. The thermostat did not turn on and he concluded that the lines were already frozen and broke when they warmed up.

Haggstrom and city worker Monty Schaefer have been busy dealing with ice buildups on the streets around town. They brought in the benches and trash cans around town before the snow set in this winter.

The toilet in the Medical Center was not working well so they replaced it with another unit that was in storage.

Councilor Larry Van De Walker asked Haggstrom to check if the toilet meets codes for handicap accessibility, as he thought it looked too low profile.

Other council news

Council approved a temporary liquor license for the Wanamingo Fire Relief Association Antique Snowmobile Run on March 1 and 2.

Council passed the proposed changes to the 2014 Fee Schedule following a public hearing on the matter.

A public hearing was approved to be held in the future regarding the SEMMCHRA grant application for the small cities development program. It is a step to fulfill the application and show support from the city.

Council approved city appointments and legals for 2014, including the reappointment of Mayor Ryan Holmes and Councilor Danny Benson to the Economic Development Authority for one year. Brian Johnson and Josh Sandberg were reappointed to the EDA, each for a term of four years.

Council accepted Brandi Kyllo’s resignation as Pool Manager, and approved the hiring of Stephanie Kish for the position in 2014. Kish has five years of experience working at the pool and was also recommended by Kyllo.

Reach Publisher and Editor Terri Lenz at 333-3148, or follow her on Twitter.com @KenyonLeader.

Reach Publisher and Editor Terri Lenz at 333-3148, or follow her on Twitter.com @KenyonLeader.