A brief EDA meeting preceded Center City’s June city council meeting. Al Hohn, owner of Center Saloon, spoke with the council and EDA members about planning activities for Center City Days. Volunteers to help with this community event are welcome! When the monthly council meeting was called to order, council members and staff were eager to discuss a plan to get the city’s public works department back on track. Newly hired Maintenance Supervisor Eric Garner comes on board June 10.
Council members, who have been fielding complaints from residents regarding street conditions and city right-of-way appearance for the last few weeks, suggested providing a priority list for the new supervisor. City Engineer Les Mateffy, however, opined that health and safety duties such as water and sewer testing and reports be given first priority. He added that it will take some time to get roads and mowing back in shape. The council decided that after Garner completes orientation and new employee paperwork with city staff, he meet with council members Scott Anderson, Mark Wolcott, and the city’s maintenance assistant for a city drive-through and punch list. The city engineer will train Garner on pump house and lift station operations. On the attorney memo agenda; City Attorney Peter Grundhoefer reported that the Minnesota Department of Health is conducting a routine audit of the city’s water supply.
He suggested that the maintenance supervisor be put in charge of the audit. During discussion the city engineer remarked that in his experience, the city clerks were a better fit for the task because of the amount of ongoing paperwork involved in the audit. In Center City’s case, there is a large amount of catch-up maintenance that the newly hired supervisor will need to attend to in the next few weeks. With that consideration, the council unanimously designated the wellhead protection audit to the clerks. The report is due July 15, however the council gave permission for the clerks to request and extension, if necessary, citing the new pump house and supervisor employment as extenuating circumstances.
Under other attorney matters the council unanimously approved: • Authorization to approve a security pledge agreement as its depository (Central Bank) changes from Wells Fargo to US Bank
• Ratification of Fire Department Relief Association bylaws and investment policy. Due to several pending retirements, the association has selected a conservative investment policy
• A two-year law enforcement contract with the Chisago County Sheriff’s department at $52.28 per hour for an average of 10 hours per week during the winter and 20 hours per week during the summer
Council member Madonna Higgins asked if the city staff can (legally) contact owners of unlicensed dogs to remind them that they need to purchase a license. Clerk Terrie Trudeau reported that 30 dogs are licensed but council members suggested that there are at least 80 dogs in the city. Some occasionally run at large. Mayor Behnke said protocol is to have the police contact the owners to follow up on complaints. The council moved to reduce the license fee to $10 until August 1. After August 1 the 2013 fee schedule puts dog licenses at $25. Dog licenses expire December 31. The council approved partial pay estimate #3 to Dresel Contracting for Summit Avenue improvements in the amount of $20,908. The Downtown Improvement Project is coming in under budget from the budgeted amount of $278,000. There is about $21,000 left for additional parking lot surfacing, painting, and cleanup, according to the city engineer.
During committee reports the council engaged in a lengthy discussion on the proposed 80 acre land purchase by the Chisago Lakes Joint Sewer Treatment Commission. Council member Mark Wolcott, representative to the commission and its chairperson, explained the “weighted vote” concept that applies to the commission’s decision-making procedure. Wolcott reported that, while the six entities of the commission are in agreement on expenditures for the CLJSTC’s capital projects, one member opposes the purchase of a parcel adjacent to the treatment plant. The council supported the purchase, unanimously passing a resolution to support bonding without the land purchase, and by a second motion and vote, supported a bond plan that would allow the purchase of the acreage with the CLJSTC entities in agreement. The bonding would cost each Center City household about $17 a year for 15 years.
The Ordinance Committee meets Wednesday June 26 at 10 am. A county representative will attend to discuss parking ordinances. Council members were invited to attend the Chisago County Comprehensive Transportation Planning information meeting June 17 from 4:30 to 6 pm