August 25, 2023 at 1:50 p.m.
Shafer Council briefs...
Shafer City Council met August 15 for a regular meeting. Council member Nick Brehm was absent.
The council began by hearing from a disgruntled citizen Laura Johnson who resides in Shafer. Johnson was there to discuss a fee attached to her water bill. Johnson said the city assessed a fee on top of a fee which Johnson referenced MN statute 462.353. Johnson said she paid the bill then was charged a fee after the fact.
Johnson went on to call Shafer a “God forsaken place, full of methheads and a ghetto.” Mayor Paula Hanson asked if Johnson has ever called the Sheriff’s Office to report drug deals going down near Johnson’s home which she replied “Many times.” Hanson said the city is working hard to clear problems from the city.
Johnson ended the conversation saying she would pay the bill under protest and the city will “See her in court.”
The council then heard from Sheriff Brandon Thyen who was there to discuss the contract for patrol in Shafer. Thyen sent a letter prior (to the council) notifying of a rate changes for 2024. Thyen said the new rate will be $69.17 per patrol hour. That’s an increase of 7.9 percent. Thyen said they recently completed a staff and usage study and the new price reflects costs, not making a profit. Thyen said the difference in price if the city keeps the same 980 patrol hours would be an increase of $4,848. Thyen then told the city it would be receiving around $51,000 in December from the State of Minnesota to be used for public safety, passed at the legislature this year. Thyen told the council the funds do not have to be used all at once and could be used for patrol hours if the city chose to.
Council member Brad Swenson asked Thyen if the city upped its hours could the Sheriff’s Office supply the manpower. Thyen said he hopes so, his office is currently trying to hire.
Thyen said Shafer averages about five calls per day. Council member Patty Mattson said she would love to see the hours bumped up. The council was in agreement.
The council thanked Thyen for his time and will discuss the contract and number of hours at upcoming budget meetings.
Before Thyen left, the council asked what the Sheriff’s Office should enforce with ordinances. Thyen said vehicle matters such as parking, expired tabs and vehicle storage but he suggested the city not waste expensive valuable time having them enforce land use issues.
In the engineer’s report city engineer Lucas Jones told the council a representative from Shafer Oaks development had asked the city to assume the responsibility of the HOA including plowing and maintenance of Riley Lane and Revere Avenue North.
Jones told the council neither of the roads meet the city’s requirements of 24 feet width (Shafer Oaks are 21.5 feet wide). This would create plowing issues in the wintertime. Another concern is the lack of right of way. City’s guidelines are 66 feet dedicated for right of way. Currently there is only close to 28 feet of right of way and only one foot of easements on the back side of the curb. Snow storage after plowing is not possible.
Lastly, Jones pointed out there is a shared irrigation system among all the residents in the development.
The council agreed there were just too many roadblocks for the city to take on the private development.
Jones then told the council he received an inquiry about phase 2 of Shafer Meadows. Jones said it was only initial but he was in communication with the developer.
The council then heard from maintenance supervisor Dan Cooper. He was asking for money to fix the city’s Polaris Ranger which currently is at Stacy Hardware in need of to shocks, struts and tie rods. Cooper said the estimate (which could climb higher) sits at $1439. Council member Patty Kowalski made a motion to pay for the fixes and not to exceed $2,000. If charges are higher, Cooper would be required to get an ok from the council prior. All passed.
Council adjourned at 8 p.m.