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December 12, 2019

11/14/2019 5:27:00 PM
Shafer City Council handles insurance, tele-work, and hears of mini-storage planned

Shafer City Council met November 5 for a regular meeting.  All members were present with city attorney James Monge absent.  

The council heard from Jim Stein of Stein Insurance. Stein was there to discuss the renewal policy for the city.  Stein said every structure the city owns will be insured at 50 percent above its value for replacement.  Stein quickly ran down the policy which only changed by $8 from last year.  The city's premium is $15,393.  A motion by council member Nick Brehm passed the yearly renewal.

The council then quickly passed a resolution establishing City Hall as the official polling place.

The council then passed changes the HR committee made to the employee handbook.  The changes were mostly wording changes.

Next, Mayor Paula Hanson told the council the Department of Labor recently passed legislation requiring exempt employees to be paid a minimum of $684 per week. This would mean city Finance Director Drew Hill would get an increase in pay.  Hanson told the council this would have to be enacted before January 1, 2020.

Council reviewed a letter submitted by Hill.  The letter states Hill is planning on moving to the state of Washington this month.  In the letter Hill says he can telecommute and working remotely would not impact his job at Shafer.  Hill would not be able to attend meetings but suggested he could Skype into meetings to be seen and heard.  Hill stated he would come back periodically for items such as Truth in Taxation, budget meetings and audits.  Hill is proposing a 90 day trial period followed by a four week window if the council decides to hire another finance director.  Hanson said she uses a telecommuting website and she loves it.  Council member Brad Swenson expressed his concerns over security of very sensitive materials.  Hill told the council the software was very password sensitive and he assured the council it would be protected.  Mayor Hanson made a motion to approve Hill for telecommuting with council member Patty Mattson seconding the motion.  The motion passed 3-2 with council members Nick Brehm and Brad Swenson voting against.

  Hill then moved to the 2020 budget. Hill told the council he has trimmed the Levy increase from 9.34 percent to 5.14 percent.  Hill said it was agreed to decrease the road fund by $15,000 and the fire fund also decreased by $7,500.  Hill noted if needed, the city could always pull from the road emergency fund to fund any potential road projects if need be.  The proposed levy for 2020 is $446,938.

  In the engineer's report City Engineer Lucas Jones told the council the city has received an application from Eichtens for a mini storage business that will encompass the existing Eichtens bistro and the farmhouse behind it.  Jones told the council it was just in the preliminary stages.

  In the public works report public works director Dan Cooper told the council he had a quote for two solar lights for the east Welcome to Shafer sign.  The quote was for $280 each and life expectancy of the batteries was between five and six years.  Council member Nick Brehm told Cooper before he voted he wanted to see the cost of battery replacement.

  Cooper then told the council the parks committee would like the ok to purchase a solar light for the pavilion in Buffalo Ridge.  The light has been installed on a trial run for the last couple of weeks and Hanson said she thought the light works great. Cooper told the council since the light was installed there has been no graffiti or vandalism at the pavilion.  Brehm said he drove past it and thought the light was too dim. He said he saw people in the pavilion and could barely see them.  Hanson then made a motion to approve purchase of the solar light not to exceed $1,150. The motion did not pass with Brehm, Smith and Swenson voting against.

  Cooper then told the council the flow meter in well house #1 has stopped working.  Cooper is looking into the cost of repair and said hopefully the issue is a bad flow detector which would be an easier fix.

  In regards to the budget, Cooper told the council he would like to replace the John Deere F1145 with a Grasshopper front mower. The cost of the mower would be $29,979.  The council had previously budgeted $35,000 for a new mower.  Cooper suggested the city could sell the John Deere for close to $6,000.

  Cooper told the council he has found a do-it-yourself cracksealing cart that he thought might be a good purchase for the city.  Cooper said the cart or the machine that puts the crackseal down costs $682 and sealant runs about $542 per 55 gallons.  Cooper told the council a 55 gallon drum would cover 75 to 155 feet of sealant. Council is considering the quipment purchases but took no action.

  The council adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

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