Local Gov't Accountability Roundup: 1/5/12

ROCHESTER: Take This Snow and Shovel It—Or Else The city is cracking down on sidewalk scofflaws. No more free pass for Rochester residents who fail to shovel their snow. The city council has hired a company to do the job for those who fail to clear off public sidewalks within 24 hours. The cost piles up faster than the snow itself. 

WHITE BEAR LAKE: State Grant Runs Out on Senior Help Program The end of an $80,000 state grant probably also means the end of the Senior Chore Services program. Some 200 volunteers and four businesses provided help for about 60 local seniors for yard work and odd jobs around the house.who paid a small fee. Unless a foundation or someone else comes forward with financial support, the program will be shut down. 

AITKIN: Ready, Fire, Aim! Pistols Allowed After All at Local Gun Range It turns out that guns are not banned on the premises of the Minnewawa Sportsmen’s Club gun range after all—pistols that is. At first county officials appeared to agree with some residents who questioned whether the range’s conditional use permit allowed pistol training. However, at the county board’s last meeting County Attorney Jim Ratz issued a written opinion saying pistols are covered at the gun safety facility.

WILLMAR: End of Ethanol Subsidy Means Higher E-85 Prices The 45 cent per gallon ethanol subsidy went out the window as of January lst, a $6 billion savings for taxpayers. It may cost about a nickel more per gallon for consumers of 10 percent ethanol and even more for vehicles that use E-85. Yet local producers and refineries expect ethanol demand to remain strong.

BEMIDJI: New Rental Rules Hit Hundreds of Property Owners More than 700 rental property owners have registered with the city as required by new regulations that took effect recently. Some 200 rental property owners have not responded yet to the restrictions that jack up fees and increase inspections. Bemidji is the latest Minnesota college community to tackle the issues associated with rental properties. In Winona, property owners have resisted rental limits in a potentially landmark court case over the constitutionality of limits on some property owners.

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