7/11/2013 3:40:00 PM Center City Council hears about public works 'catch up'
After the council's monthly meeting members climbed into the Adirondack Chair on the west side of Highway 8 near City Hall to endorse the "Life is Great on Highway 8" promotion.
by COLLEEN KASTANEK
The first item of business at the Center City council meeting July 2was a review of the newly hired public works director’s first report to the council. In a two-page letter, Eric Garner stated that he and his part time assistant are “catching up” on city grounds maintenance. He has purchased personal safety equipment such as eye protection for use in pump house #1 and requested a dehumidifier for that building to protect the equipment from moisture and corrosion. The council unanimously approved the purchase of a household dehumidifier for $168. Staff notified the council to put the purchase of a new computer for the maintenance department on its horizon.
The council asked about the status on quotes for gravel and grading for city alleys, as mentioned in Garner’s report. City Clerk Terrie Trudeau said that requests were sent, but no contractors have responded. The council directed the maintenance department to get quotes for the council to consider at its August meeting. Chlorination and hydrant flushing is scheduled for July 8-16. The council went on to address the city engineer’s written report. Per Les Mateffy’s recommendation, the council unanimously approved a 90 percent reduction to the Smith Metal letter of credit on its construction site in the industrial park. The reduction to $4500 remains until a minor repair to the entry of business’s facility is completed. The council directed city staff to contact the Minnesota Rural Water Association to get a price on a video read through the culvert under North Main Street between North Center and Pioneer Lakes. When the culvert becomes plugged, or runs slow, it acts as a dam and Pioneer Lake runs over the road into North Center Lake. City staff reported that they are working extra time on the Wellhead Protection Plan update due to the Minnesota Department of Public Health, but they will meet the July 15 deadline.
The city attorney offered a draft for an easement through Marine Dock and Lift property for the drainage trench to the rain garden. The council unanimously approved the easement. In another motion, the council unanimously approved another $2325, in addition to last month’s expenditure of $5675 for the construction of the trench. The council was hesitant to offer a letter of support for an application for a 2013 Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant in collaboration with cities along the Highway 8 corridor . Council members had not read the document. After Clerk Trudeau commented that council approval would mean no more than a copy and paste of that excerpt of the council’s action from the meeting minutes in an email to The Chisago Lakes Initiative Foundation, the council approved supporting the application. Mark Wolcott abstained from the vote for lack of information.
Several times during the meeting, while discussing purchase approvals for items such as the maintenance department’s requests and flags, the council wondered about the sales tax being lifted on city governments in the 2013 omnibus tax bill. The council approved the motions on the condition of consideration of timing the purchases, as practical, to take advantage of the changes. The League of Minnesota Cities website lists the exemptions and states that The League continues to work with the Minnesota Department of Revenue to clarify the tax bill.
In other business the council: • Received notice that the city is in compliance with the Local Government Pay Equity Policies and staff is up-to-date with OSHA training • Noted that the clerk’s pursuit of billing accuracy resulted in a $1300 credit from Xcel for previous overcharges • Approved an ordinance regulating signage for adult establishments • Approved a resolution to have the city attorney draft the documents for the city’s participation in Chisago Lakes Joint Sewer Commission borrowing • Approved the purchase of 24 flags and poles for $1241 and will send out requests for donations from local civic organizations • Approved street closures as necessary for Center City Days activities • Noted that EDA meets on August 6 at 6:30, prior to the monthly meeting • Scheduled hearing for delinquent water and sewer for 7:15 at August 6 meeting