12/27/2012 9:37:00 AM Leadership change for Chisago City
public works, director steps down
BY PAUL RIGNELL
Chisago City Council members accepted a resignation from one official and promoted another worker during the final business meeting of 2012. The letter of resignation came from Public Works Director Ken Novack, who was hired in February 2009. He came to Chisago after nine years in public works for the city of Woodbury. His other work in the field has included service at St. Paul Technical College and for the city of St. Paul. The public works department covers operation and maintenance of the city water and sewer systems, streets, equipment, parks and other facilities. The emergency nature of some calls requires the director, who also oversees the work of three maintenance staff, to be available around the clock. “It’s a difficult job to do,” Novack told the Chisago County Press from his home in Franconia Township, where he has lived since 2002. “The job started to come home with me.” The council voted Dec. 18 to appoint Jason Lind, a city maintenance worker since August 2006, as a public works superintendent and essentially the city’s new department head. City Administrator John Pechman explained that one distinction between a public works director and superintendent is that a director would participate in department employee reviews. Council voted also to advertise for a new maintenance worker to bring the department’s staff back up to four. “There will be a learning curve for him,” Novack said of Lind. “I’ll wish him nothing but the best of luck. He’s got experience with the city. That will help.” TIF approved for Kwik Trip Council voted Dec. 18 to create a tax increment financing district for Kwik Trip’s anticipated redevelopment of the former M&L Gas site at Highway 8 and Sportsman Drive. Pechman reported Kwik Trip was planning to close its purchase of the property Dec. 28. Kwik Trip asked for tax abatement of $200,000 to offset its costs for removing the existing buildings and cleaning contaminated soils. The company would remove all of the M&L buildings plus has negotiated for buying two homes on Stinson Avenue behind the gas station site for a larger lot. Councilmember Don Taylor asked if the $200,000 figure was final. “Is there a chance they’ll never get up to $200,000?” he asked. “Do they have to prove (their costs)?” Pechman said Kwik Trip’s private developer is actually estimating $260,000 in remediation costs. City Attorney Tom Miller noted that based on fluctuations in commercial property values and a maximum TIF agreement of 16 years, Kwik Trip may not realize as much as $200,000 in tax abatement for those reasons.