September 17, 2009 at 7:50 a.m.

Lawmakers stop by Chisago City Council meeting, DNR dock placement questioned and 2010 budget approved; council sets public hearing for December 8

Lawmakers stop by Chisago City Council meeting, DNR dock placement questioned and 2010 budget approved; council sets public hearing for December 8
Lawmakers stop by Chisago City Council meeting, DNR dock placement questioned and 2010 budget approved; council sets public hearing for December 8

An "up-tick" in the economy leading to a slowing in job loss was part of the message from Representative Jeremy Kalin and State Senator Rick Olseen at the September 8 Chisago City Council meeting. Both legislators brought to the table encouraging news. Olseen also remarked that he was excited to build a coalition with Sweden. He is very interested in using their technology, such as the burning of pellets for fuel. Olseen commented about how much he really enjoyed KiChiSaga Days, and gave congratulations to all those involved in the planning and volunteering process. He especially was amazed at how fast Camp Ojiketa was up and running and open to the public this summer. "I'd really like to congratulate the person who came up with the idea to hide (Moberg's) horn in Ojiketa! That was great!"

City Administrator John Pechman laughed and told Olseen that the person's identity must be kept a secret.

Olseen had a list of interests in the county:

• He would like to continue keeping stimulus money within the county, and County 26 and Hwy. 8 continues to be a source of concern and safety.

• Olseen feels that negotiations are going well with LS Power regarding water usage. He believes that both the Department of Natural Resources and the MN Pollution Control Agency will keep the project safe environmentally. Olseen stated that he believes that information in the public has been "misleading". He has toured an electricity facility himself and was very impressed with it.

"LS Power will balance the grid, operating 30-50 percent of the time to produce electricity," he said.

During Public Comment, Mark Hanson, resident, requested that the Green Lake dredge be removed if the work has been completed. Hanson also commented that he would not like to see a dock installed at the site due to the number of the non-local fisherman that the site draws now. Council member Greg Freer addressed Hanson's concerns stating, "The neighbors are the ones that approached us and requested a dock. The dock would allow for people to park their boats and walk up into town. It would add to our business." Freer told Hanson that the dock could be ready to be installed next year.

Council next heard about amendments to Ordinance Chapters 2 & 8 regarding non-conforming structures and uses, and public hearing notices. Assistant Planner Courtney Wiekert informed the council as to the changes.

MN state statute changes require public hearing notices to be sent to properties within 500 feet; the city's current ordinance only indicates 350 feet.

The DNR made recent changes concerning non-conforming buildings, uses and lots in the shoreland district.

The Planning Commission approved the proposed changes at its September 3 meeting; Council members Skow and Parker made the motions to allow the changes to the amendments.

A Public Hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m Tuesday, December 8 during the regular city council session to discuss the 2010 budget and 2010 taxes payable levy.

The proposed levy represents 2.51 percent increase in the tax rate for Sub district B parcels, when compared to 2009, and a 1.69 percent increase in the tax rate for parcels located within Sub district A, former Chisago City.

City Administrator Pechman explained to the council that point-eight percent is the maximum levy limit allowed. The city had lost $60,000 in funding in 2008, $120,000 in 2009 and expects elimination of all aid by 2010.

Eagle Scout Matthew Kramer, a Chisago Lakes High School sophomore, appeared before the council to present the final details regarding the completion of his Eagle Scout project. Kramer had designed and supervised the building of a staircase at Rotary Park.

Kramer had been approached by a former member of the Park Board two years ago about being a part of a trail head project that will be linked to the Swedish Immigrant Trail. Kramer designed and built a 77 foot long natural hardwood timber staircase down to the south end of School Lake. The stair case consisted of three landings and 52 steps.

Kramer remarked that he was very busy this week, with the start of school and soccer, plus his presentations to the Council, the Rotary Club and the Park Board.

When asked by Council member Freer what difficulties he encountered while working on the project, Kramer laughed, remarking that he had had 52 volunteers assist him with the project, but only 11 people came back on a regular basis over the 1 1/2 year building process. "The work was just too hard and physical. My mom tore her rotator cuff and my dad finished off his."

Kramer thanked the council for its interest and support, as well as the Rotary Club for funding his project, and especially Bill Mack, Park Board Chair and Kramer's site manager and landscape liaison.

Mayor Taylor congratulated Kramer on attaining the Eagle Rank and then presented him with a Chisago City pin, which he said, "Can only be granted by the Mayor."

In Other Council Business:

Chris Pitzen, owner of Embedded Design Solutions, Inc. requested an Interim Use Permit for a business that he is hoping to purchase on Old Towne Road. Pitzen's business will have office space in the front of the building and light assembly in the rear. The business will be operated in the Central Business District.

Council members Skow and Freer made the motions to grant the permit with the eight conditions from the Planning Commission and City Attorney Tom Miller. Council agreed 5-0 and welcomed Pitzen and his family to the city.

The next meeting of the Chisago City Council will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22 at City Hall on Railroad Avenue. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

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