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October 18, 2019

9/19/2019 3:56:00 PM
Citizens have a few questions for council Sept. 10

Stacy City Council met Sept 10 for a regular meeting. All were in attendance except for engineer Dan Boyum.  

In public comment, Jim Ness told the council he read the solar garden proposal by New Energy Equity from the last meeting and the numbers didn't add up.  The council thanked Ness and had planned on discussing later in the meeting.  Tim Sawatzky then asked the council if the city pays for uniforms, and if so, what employees if any wear uniforms?  Mayor Mark Utecht told Sawatzky there was a uniform stipend and as far as he knew, the liquor store was the only group wearing uniforms.  

City attorney James Monge told the council that he went over the proposed subscription for solar gardens and the agreement is for 25 years.  Monge told the council the city could be on the hook for a lot of money if the city were to default on the agreement. The high cost of terminating the agreement is due to the high outlay costs of New Energy Equity.  Utecht added that the city would not even show interest until everything is presented to the council.  The council agreed with the mayor.

Monge then told the council he was made aware of litigation by municipalities against the FCC under a 3-2 vote by the FCC in August, most franchise fees collected from cable operators will decrease.  The max will be five percent for franchise fees.  Utecht told the council that he would like to see Midco expand their coverage to 100 percent of Stacy instead of mainly downtowns. Utecht said he was disillusioned with his current provider Frontier and would like to see Midco available at his property.

The council then was notified that city liquor store bookkeeper Michelle Hayes would be resigning.  City Clerk Sharon Payne told the council Hayes had agreed to work under a 3 month contract and then month-by-month from there until the position was filled and trained in.  Mayor Utecht told the council he was very appreciative of Hayes' work and her gesture to make the transition easier.  Utecht then led a brief discussion about possibly melding the position of liquor store bookkeeper and utility billing because that position would be opening up in the future. The council agreed to discuss more in the future.  

The council heard from a different solar company Novel Energy Solutions approved for several solar gardens. The representative said Novel constructed over 500 gardens last year alone.  The council was told the credit offered to them from Xcel would be $27,380 less the cost of the subscription to Novel being $24,574 leaving a $2,805 savings on Stacy's Xcel Energy's utility bill.  The council was told there was only five subscribers allowed per garden with only one being a business.    Mayor Utecht told the representatives "On the surface, your presentation and offer is much more attractive.  If you are honest with us, we will be more apt to work with you" Utecht added.

The council then passed a motion to allow Novel to access the city's utility bills to do detailed calculations.

The council then addressed the budget.  City clerk Payne noted that $8,000 had been added to the fire department budget for a phone upgrade.  There was also $6,000 earmarked for tree trimming in Lions Park as a line item.  Council member Mark Ness asked council member Dennis Thieling if that was the only bid he received for the trimming to which he said yes.  The council agreed the city should attain more bids in a timely manner to compare at the next council meeting.  With all of the current numbers the levy increase for 2020 would be 3.31 percent.

The council then discussed lowering the amount it pays against its bond which sits at $665,137.  Stacy paid $90,000 in 2019 and discussed lowering its payment for 2020 to $55,000.  The council discussed lowering its payments as low as $40,000 before settling on $50,000.  The council then discussed the sewer balance.  Mayor Utecht then made a motion to approve the preliminary levy at $438,170 which translates to a 2 percent  preliminary increase over last year. The motion passed unanimously. Final action will take place in December.

The council then agreed to let the maintenance department cut the weeds surrounding Dollar General.  The bill for trimming will be passed along to the store.

The council appointed Tim Sawatzky to the parks and rec committee.  Council member Paul Authier then was appointed to the public information committee.

The council then passed a resolution allowing Stacy Lions to sell liquor at the upcoming Stacy/Lent firehouse bash.

The council adjourned at 9:34 p.m.

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