6/15/2020 10:14:00 AM Center City Council ok's outdoor seating plans, posts job opening
The pandemic could turn this summer into the year that Center City became known as the place to go for outdoor food service.
With the Governor opening up hospitality business for exterior food service only as of June 1-- and then this week for restricted inside occupancy--plus social distance guidelines, Center City council last week approved requests to greatly expand outdoor tables and chairs for Pizza Pub and new patio space at Phil’s Grill. The Grumpy Minnow has already opened its good-sized patio.
Accompanying the action the council okayed pulltab activity outdoors as well. The pulltab box will be secured in a space visible to those outdoors who participate, keeping the charitable gambling set-up visible to patrons, as required by state laws.
Fire Department spokesperson Jim Marxer said the department is supportive of the outdoor space plan, as long as the eating areas don’t conflict with the close-by fire hall traffic flow and functions.
The temporary exterior food service spaces will need to comply with conditions like no glass containers, perimeter barriers, insurance, etc.
In a different aspect of the coronavirus outfall--there will be clear protective panels in use at Center City’s polling place. Council okayed an expenditure of about $400 to order plastic shields to seperate polling judges from voters, similar to what’s in use at grocery and gas station cashier stations.
Center City Clerk Norma Anderson said the recommendations on creating safer polling places are coming from state and county elections officials. As of last week the voting process in Minnesota had not been addressed to require mail-in ballots. The absentee voting process is being encouraged as an alternative.
The year-round maintenance employee resigned from half of her job. Jodi Marxer will still do parks maintenance as a part time seasonal position.
The council approved advertising for a 20 hours per week, maintenance-public works person to work with supervisor Eric Garner. Hopefully a hire can be finalized soon, application deadline is June 22.
Garner was also advised of a number of items in town that need addressing and he pointed out that being the sole employee in this department is difficult and sometimes tasks need two people.
His concern about aging remote-read water meter devices was alleviated, however, when council approved a $9,000 expense for new water meter readers. Reader device/software parts are no longer available for the transmission and reception system Center City uses to get water usage readings from outside of structures.
Half the cost comes out of the water fund and half out of the sewer account.
Garner said this new software program will collect data from the existing brand of Center City meter and from newer models. It also has useful features like water consumption trend data and a GPS that lets the device operator identify which addresses data have been downloaded from. Garner noted that, the alternative of changing out all the meters themselves, to go to a new system, could have been a $100,000 project.
In other business: An item on the agenda for a look at the speed limit on 318th (off County Road 9) was tabled because the requester did not show-up. A minor slope subsidence at the rain garden at the end of Mobeck Avenue will be repaired.
Also, at 133 Mobeck, application has been made to construct a garage, and a planning commission hearing is Monday June 15.
The paving project near the fire hall and rear of the post office late last fall resulted in a long forgotten (never documented) water pipe being breached by a contactor preparing the terrain.
Bruce Nelson, private property owner in downtown, had hired R.E. Peterson to do infrastructure work underground before the paving.
The city admittedly did not show the existence of a waterline there on any maps and so it was not marked prior to excavating, and the contractor broke it. It was not a through-pipe and could be cut off and capped.
The council voted to pay the approximately $2,500 extra cost incurred by Nelson based on the finding that everybody did what was required, and it was just one of those things.