December 15, 2023 at 1:46 p.m.

Shafer City Council finds common ground on joining of two lots


By MATT SILVER | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment
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Shafer City Council met December 5 for a regular Council meeting. All members were present.

The council opened the meeting discussing the final levy and budget for 2024. The council agreed unanimously to pass a budget and property tax levy of $550,880.  The levy has an increase of 4.4 percent above 2023’s levy. 

The council then officially made Richard Hill City Finance Director.  Hill had been serving on an interim basis.  

The council then waived a payment for voting operations, technology and elections resources given by the MN Secretary of State in the amount of $59.39.  Most if not all surrounding municipalities have directed their payments to the county.

The council then heard from Sam Ashkar of Hometown Internet.  Ashkar is seeking to increase tower locations for underserved areas of Chisago County.  Ashkar told the council the county had approved ARPA funds to assist with the internet venture.  

Ashkar told the council Shafer had 519 out of 900 homes needing high speed internet.  Mayor Paula Hanson quickly pointed out there were only 450 households in Shafer.  Council member Nick Brehm estimated 85-90 percent of homes were currently serviced by Midco and  were satisfied with their services.  Ashkar pointed out on a map the areas he was referring to were outside of Shafer city limits but close to the border.  

Ashkar said he was looking for a sponsorship from the city and a spot on top of the water tower.  Council member Brad Swenson reminded Ashkar the council told him no the last time he attended a council meeting.  

Ashkar’s business partner  John Helgeson then spoke to the council. He clarified to the council that Hometown Internet was not seeking city funds, rather just a support application to the County which other municipalities have already submitted.  He told the council all the funding will come from Hometown Internet and the County’s ARPA broadband funds.  Once clarified, the council agreed to seek the county’s advice and vote at a later date.

The council then discussed the potential joining of lots at Birddog Farms.  The council has been in talks with the owners who are seeking to sell two parcels (a 9 acre piece and a 14 acre piece) of the 49 acres they own.  One piece is a metes and bounds parcel and the other is platted.  

Attorney James Monge reiterated the county does not permit the joining of metes and bounds with platted lots.

One option would be for the property owner to have the land replatted which would be quite costly for the homeowner.  Engineer Lucas Jones told the council can do  an exemption and allow the sale of a metes and bounds and a platted parcel giving the property owner two PID’s.  The council was in agreement that filing an exemption would open a can of worms for future developments.  

Jones then told the council the property owner could just pay to have the nine acres platted thus leaving only a subdivide process for the other 5 acres. The council was in agreement as was the representative for the property owner who told the council he would see if the property owner would agree to that.  

In the maintenance report, maintenance supervisor Dan Cooper discussed some potential purchases for the maintenance department. 

The council agreed to purchase alarm locks for city hall and the maintenance department for $8,000.

The council authorized a new chemical feed pump for well house #2 for $5,000.

 The council also agreed to the purchase of extended pallet forks for $510.  

Lastly the council agreed on the purchase of a 13 foot snow pusher for $25,606.  

In her report, city clerk Valerie Fox told the council the city is legally bound to refund the $4.50 per quarter in sales tax the city charged erroneously to four properties.  Fox said the best solution is to credit the water bills for those who still reside at those addresses and the city will have to locate the residents that have moved.

Council adjourned at 8 p.m.

    

    


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