February 17, 2011 at 8:36 a.m.
City Administrator John Pechman told the council that camping isn't allowed in city parks but it is allowed within the regional park, Camp Ojiketa. Alcohol is also prohibited in city parks, but is allowed in Ojiketa at cabin and tent sites. The alcohol is limited to wine and beer, unless a special liquor license is obtained. If a community facility is rented and alcohol is to be served, a police officer must be hired for the event.
Another item addressed was Geocaching within parks. The Park Board wishes to allow Geocaching activities since the public is already partaking in the "hide and seek" hobby. Small tokens or treasures are left hidden in the park, to be found only by correctly navigating compass directions. Treasures may not be buried and no vegetation can be harmed when placing a cache. No food can be placed as a cache and the container may be no larger than 8"x12"x4", and must be marked with the word "Geocache." The Park Board prefers people get a permit to partake in Geocaching so that the city is aware of what's going on.
The hours that the parks will be open will be 6 a.m. - 10 p.m. rather than sunrise to sunset, with the exception of camping.
Another part of the ordinance was addressed by Council member Marie Rivers. She wanted information on guidelines for allowing golf carts into Ojiketa. Pechman told the council that there have been issues with people driving golf carts down city streets and county roads to Ojiketa, and then also driving them on the trails within the camp, which is prohibited. The carts must remain in the designated parking lots. The only exception would be if someone has a Dept. of Public Safety handicapped parking permit.
Council approved the changes to the Park Ordinance and staff will publish those changes.
The Finance Committee met before the regularly scheduled council meeting in order to address hours cut for employees at the License Bureau approved two weeks ago. Heather Nelson was not available to attend that meeting, and she wished to share her budget-cutting ideas with staff and council before staff cuts are implemented.
To make these changes, Council member Larry Parker's motion from the previous meeting needed to be rescinded. Parker made the motion to rescind, and the council heard Nelson's ideas. This was possible because the cuts had yet to take effect in payroll. Bringing in an ATM machine would solve the problem of insufficient fund checks at the License bureau. Better signage on Hwy. 8 would help to advertise the location of the bureau. Increasing hours, on Tuesday, while discontinuing Saturday hours would be helpful to residents taking the driving test provided at Lindstrom City Hall on Tuesdays.
Nelson said, "We have to do it and we will make it happen. We'll start from the bottom and make cuts where we can and make the number." The bureau needs to shave $15,000 off its budget.
The Fire Department was pleased to receive a $100 donation from RMG-Alerus Financial (Nick & Rebecca Warner). Council unanimously approved the resolution to accept the donation.
A review of the assessment and classification of property within the city will be held during a special meeting Wednesday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m. The Chisago County Assessor's Office provides the information for yearly review.
Council heard the second reading of the Cable Franchise agreement. The Cable Commission has reviewed and approved the agreement. The commission has been in negotiations with US Cable for this franchise agreement, available for public review at City Hall.
One resident came before the council to complain about not having local access to cable channels 10 and 20 for US Cable subscribers. Pechman told the council that when the annexation occurred, staff was told by the cable company that residents who have a Chisago City address, but live in the 55025 zip code area, would have access to the public channels. Pechman said that staff will look into this.
The council approved the agreement upon Council member Ron Swenson's motion.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Chisago City Council will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at City Hall, located on Railroad Avenue. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend. The proposed agendas and previous minutes can be found at: www.ci.chisa go.mn.us.
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