1/10/2019 4:45:00 PM Center City Council fills seat with former Mayor Behnke
Center City Council appointed Jill Behnke to the vacant council seat, created by Mark Wolcott’s winning election as mayor in the last election. (Incumbent Larry Houger did not file.)
There were three applications submitted to city offices for consideration for the empty seat. Behnke, who has experience as mayor herself, took the oath of office and jumped right into the council meeting.
Council member Scott Anderson had requested secret paper ballots for choosing the new council member from the applicants, but City Attorney Ted Alliegro advised against this, explaining it violated open meeting law calling for open action on appointments.
There was discussion about another open meeting law aspect, on how members could participate remotely in meetings.
Council member Lloyd Vetter is considering using an Internet connection so as to not be absent at upcoming meetings. City staff will try a practice run with Skype and a laptop computer feed-- and see how things go with images and system workability. Council was agreeable for Vetter to later participate electronically.
Fire Chief Jim Marxer asked council to pay him for fire hall expansion and improvement projects he’s been doing. He’s been a citizen on-site construction manager/contractor at the fire hall for a few months now.
There was discussion about how this arrangement can be made more formal. Council approved the pay request with staff direction that the city “contract” or document the agreement, and Marxer is to submit a proposal for his involvement in the remainder of the fire hall project, ie: tiling, insulation installation, etc.
Payment will come out of budgeted monies in the project account. Marxer was approved for approximately $15,000 for hours through November.
Council was told the tiling quote and insulation quote were pulled when an issue with the trusses delayed the timeframe. Marxer will provide these services and others that he can do legally. He will save the city thousands of dollars, according to the city engineer, who added that Marxer is working at an hourly rate well under what had been quoted last fall.
Marxer also reported the roof truss windspeed rating and load question appears to have been cleared up. Calculations discrepancies due to the proximity of the fire hall to an area of open water had delayed the truss erection while inspectors and civil engineering advisors came to consensus.
Completion, which had been tentatively put for October 2018, will be in April sometime, council heard.
Water line resolution The issue with being unable to locate the old jail water connection to city water service is on-hold for now.
The city couldn’t find a shut-off for a waterline and there was concern about freezing, as the old jail has been put into “cold storage” due to the new public safety center opening. County officials have wrapped the visible portion with heat-tape and the matter is awaiting word on how to proceed from the county.
The city public works director did not have the money or authorization to excavate to find the shut-off underground and it appeared the line was undocumented due to an addition the county built-- so extra costs for finding and closing the waterline are in the county’s lap for now.
Residents presented complaints about the condition of sidewalks. Lynn Karwand said there’s an ordinance in place-- but the city never seems to do anything beyond writing a letter to property owners who aren’t clearing their abutting sidewalk. The ordinance allows clean-up to be assessed back to property owners on taxes, like a delinquent sewer and water bill collection process. She said the city needs some “teeth” in its follow-up.
The church and the county (government center to old jail parcel) were cited as having the most obviously un-maintained sidewalk segments, according to what was discussed at last week’s meeting.
Staff will send a more strongly worded letter reminding those with adjacent sidewalks of their responsibility to clear them, and sidewalk regulations will be put on the ordinance subcommittee for review and clarification needs at an upcoming meeting.
As for snowfall and a special downtown street parking request, this was denied.
The city has a November to April ordinance that does not allow overnight parking downtown. A rental building owner asked if the public works snowplow operator could text one of his tenants alerting her of the need to move a vehicle.
Eric Garner, public works, said there are signs posted downtown and everybody is aware that there is no downtown overnight parking when plows are going to be out, and he is not taking on texting people individually. Plus, there are other spots where parking is okay, nearby this rental unit, so this is not an aggregious situation.
Icy amusement Chisago Lakes Rotary was approved for a beer sales permit for a “ride” the club is doing as a fundraiser during the “WinterBlast” fishing tourney, on North Center Lake, January 26.
Representing Rotary, Chris DuBose told council the Rotary is cutting an ice carousel off Calendar Isle, in the main lake. Access will be from the public boat landing by the middle school.
An ice carousel is a large circle cut with a chainsawpropelled by a small motor like a trolling motor. It rotates in its own hole.