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WIld Mountain 12-8-13

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December 1, 2021

10/15/2021 10:57:00 AM
Taylors Falls tables license for Springs Inn; ups budget for park restroom

Taylors Falls City Council faced a standing room only council chambers Monday night.  A hotel license for the Springs Inn was on the agenda and owner Richard Berget and his on-site manager were interrogated before the issue was tabled on a 5-0 vote until the next council meeting.

Council had questions about available rooms and if there are equivalent parking spaces and also questioned the order of how to do things. Does the state issue a license and the city is second or is a city license followed by the state.

Mayor Mike Buchite had some trust issues as well, and asked Berget, if we don’t issue a hotel license will you just open up anyway?  The reference was to a sign posted at Berget’s Lindstrom motel property,  advertising the Springs Inn as open, which was premature.

Berget responded that he was provided a list of what he needed to do so that people could stay at Springs Inn and license was not on the list. “I am sorry. I made a mistake,” he stated.  He added that he has pay-to-stay properties elsewhere and he never had to get a motel or hotel “license” before.

In the meantime, Mayor Buchite told audience members that there ought not be any Springs Inn guest activity observed.

In another matter: the new restroom structure going in at Heritage Park (the overlook) needs a budget boost.

City Zoning Administrator Steve Heth reports delivery charges have increased and he wanted some more cushion in the sitework budget as well. He spoke with Three Rivers Park District which has installed a similar heavyduty enhanced latrine-style building and he feels his estimate could be in jeopardy.  The installation has been scheduled for next spring, Heth said, however, he can lock in certain costs now.

His request for $8,000 additional was granted and the project now sits at a not-to-exceed budget of $54,000.  The basic cost for the heavy duty structure is $36,000 approximately,  plus there are excavation and site restoration expenses and delivery alone is $9,000 to $10,000.

Council agreed the extra comfort station for visitors and townspeople alike who enjoy the Heritage Park area will be a real benefit.  Mayor Buchite said he checked with the city audit firm and was assured balances and reserves are strong and there’s $50,000 in the parks fund as it is.

Council put the sheriff contract debate to bed— at least for 2022. The vote was unanimous to accept the county law enforcement contract for 40 hours per week (with hours actually used when activity warrants, more in summer, fewer hours in winter.) Sheriff Brandon Thyen attended the meeting and said the city and county make a good partnership and he looks forward to personnel serving the city in 2022.  

~ Lighting Festival coordinator Geri Aanonsen reported the winter celebration is coming together and is slated for November 26, 27 and 28. The theme is the Swedish Immigrant Regional Trail.  Annually the festival features an ornament based on a theme.

The city public works superintendent Mike Kiriz has retired, so Aanonsen said volunteers will be especially needed and have important roles in getting the town ready.  Check with city hall for how to get involved.

In a unanimous vote council agreed to pay accrued un-used benefits owed to Mike Kriz upon his retirement, which amounted to $19,134.

Mayor Buchite noted the employment agreements and policy have changed since  when Kriz was hired, so there won’t be large cash payments for staff in the future.

The payout will be covered by sewer and water accounts as the year progresses,  but the General Fund is providing the immediate retirement reconciliation.

Taylors Falls is advertising the Public Works Supt. position for three weeks. The personnel committee will review applications and forward a recommended candidate to council.

Council authorized a re-assignment of committee roles. The personnel committee is now Larry Julik Heine and Ross Rivard. The Mayor and Mary Jo Murphy went to Public Works.  Murphy also switched from HPC to Parks and Heine shifted to HPC from Parks.

There was a streetlight taken out by an unknown vehicle and council okayed buying two lights, so there’s an extra in storage should the need arise. Insurance will cover the damaged one. The two lights are $10,630.  Delivery is six months to a year.

Pastor Kevin Schumann has offered to develop a peony garden at Cherry Hill Park and council agreed this would be a nice addition. He is donating seven bushes from his extensive garden and it was agreed another 30 will be purchased for a cost for the whole garden creation of $1,524.

Autumn is a good time to split/transplant the flowering plants and Pastor Schumann said he is was hopeful to get transplanting started this fall, but the beds have to be prepped, etc.

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WIld Mountain 12-8-13

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