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October 3, 2022

9/23/2022 12:09:00 PM
Stacy City holds annexation comment session with Lent Twp.

Stacy City Council met September 13 for a regular meeting. All members were present.  The meeting began with an open hearing to the public for the future potential annexation of a portion of Lent Township.

There were 23 residents in attendance and the majority was given a chance to speak.  Supervisor Rick Keller told the council he had issues with MnSpect Inspections who Stacy currently uses.  Keller said the company can’t keep up with the workload.  Mayor Mark Utecht told Keller MnSpect was on the agenda later in the meeting.

A resident asked if his taxes will be going up after the annexation.  He also asked about the capacity of the water and sewer systems in Stacy.  Mayor Utecht told the audience the city sits at less than 50 percent capacity right now and had planned on expansion when it connected to the new plant.  “We have no plans of putting pipe in the ground and charging people” Utecht said.  “I can’t speak for future councils only this one”.
Lent supervisor Carolyn Cagle asked if Lent’s current employees will be held to Stacy’s pay matrix.  Utecht replied it would be illegal to hire off the matrix.  Utecht assured the audience the pay matrix will be one of the first issues addressed when a new council is seated.

Stacy clerk Sharon Payne added that she was a bit tired of hearing about Lent employees pay with little attention being paid to Stacy employees and how the merger will affect their livelihood.
Utecht told the audience all Lent employees are guaranteed in the orderly annexation agreement, a year of employment as Stacy employees unless fired for cause.  

The council and most of the supervisors present agreed once the merger happens they will all be in the same pool and considered equals.

Currently Lent employees earn more than Stacy pays theirs.  Utecht told the audience Lent employees will automatically qualify for Stacy’s benefit package which is better than Lent’s.

Mayor Utech told the audience he would be in favor of five at large council members when elections are required 45 to 60 days following MN Boundary Adjustments ruling, to which council member Mark Ness gave an emphatic no.  Stacy will have two openings on the council with Jennie Carlson and Mark Ness not seeking re-election.  Mayor Utecht said he would be in favor of a council made up of five individuals who want to be there.

There was then a question about police patrol.  Lent currently has no police patrol and Stacy contracts with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office for 30 hours a week.  It was agreed that the future council will look at patrol hours.

Utecht said the annexing resolution could be signed tonight but added that it is prudent to wait until Chisago City and North Branch have signed theirs to determine exact boundaries.

The council then voted unanimously to approve the orderly annexation of Lent Township contingent on North Branch and Chisago City signing theirs to determine boundaries.

The council approved a purchase agreement from Equipment Transport LLC for $380,755 for a new transportation hub to be built in Stacy Ponds industrial park.

The council then heard from multiple residents of the Sunrise Estates mobile home park.  They were there to find a solution for a feral cat population problem.  A resident asked if he can shoot the cats that are causing damage to skirting on homes and becoming a health concern due to fleas, lice, feline leukemia to name a few.  The resident was told it is illegal to discharge a firearm in city limits.  The manager of the park has told the city he is live trapping the cats.  The residents disagreed that anything was being done. Mayor Utecht urged  the residents have to get the county involved.

In other business a resident from Lent Township submitted paper work to the council.  Hoping to build a 1,364 sq ft garage.  He received a quote from MnSpect for permitting and inspections totalling over $1,800.   He told the city he contacted the county and asked them for a written estimate of permitting and inspection costs they would charge and the total came to $563.  

The council then discussed the lighting issue at the Rupp Mini Storage. The city asked Rupp to fix the issue of LED lighting casting bright lights into the adjoining neighborhood.  City engineer Dan Boyum went to the site and took photos of the same fixtures but someone had put some black duct tape to try to create a makeshift hood over the lights.  Mayor Utecht said he was insulted by the gesture and something needed to be done.  MnSpect went to the property recently and reported it found no violations of the city’s lighting ordinance.  
Mayor Utecht then made a motion to terminate MnSpect’s contract with the city as it is within the 90 day window.  Utecht said he has spoken with the county and feels they will do a much better job than MnSpect.  The council agreed.

The council then passed the preliminary Levy for 2023 for the amount of $367,862.  This is a 3.08 percent increase over 2022.

The council adjourned at 9:56 p.m.

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