February 17, 2023 at 3:07 p.m.
Vacant lot in downtown going back to square one
A closing was originally set for spring last year, and when soil borings were delayed and other factors were holding up site analysis the council gave Amy Dill an extension to September 2022. Another extension to the final council session of 2022 was granted but that date came and went.
Attorney Fritz Knaack cautioned the council, “Don’t put the (deposit) money in the budget yet,” saying the process to press the restart button has a ways to go. He said he would draft the purchase agreement default letter immediately.
In other lingering business, it’s possible a temporary employment agency that the personnel subcommittee has met with, could provide staff soon to help alleviate city hall office pressures. Council members Tim Grote and Larry Julik Heine were tasked with looking into staffing issues and creating a simple agreement for two very part time employees who have been helping in the interim. Both Lynn Longnecker and Molly Nelson are putting in minimal hours when they are able just to be contacts and handle administrative-clerk tasks.
Council member Grote said two potenial hirees are lined up for interviews, and they have been advised they could work Monday through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The temp personnel agency multiplies their wages by one-and-a-half and this becomes the fee to handle the withholding, income taxes, any nescessary reporting and scheduling.
Grote and Julik will follow-up on the candidates and report back.
Also, only two have expressed interest in the vacant public works superintendent slot. No resumes have been accepted yet for the open zoning administration post. Taylors Falls residents are reminded Chisago County is providing building permit and related response and the county Environmental Services Department is the contact.
There was lengthy review of the claims action on the agenda, when Council member Troy Aanonsen balked at approving payments by check for expenditures already approved.
He said the current 2023 council ought to not be signing off on spending the “old’ council authorized.
It was explained to him the checks have to be paid by sworn-in officeholders so as frequently happens— some billing spills over into the first or second month of the year after.
Aanonsen also asked to set a date for a closed meeting with each Taylors Falls employee. He described it as an informal get to now each other type format, but when the city attorney advised him this isn’t done, except in cases for performance reviews, he suggested council should just call it a performance review then.
Attorney Knaack reminded the council member of Open Meeting Law conditions, including that the employee may opt to meet with council in open session, as it’s the employee’s decision. Open Meeting Law protects public sector staff from harrassment as much as it protects the citizens’ right to know.
Council member Larry Julik Heine noted that reviews are set up for twice a year and he asked why the city wants to be doing “random” reviews.
Ultimately Aanonsen withdrew his suggestion.
He also withheld checks for a bill for a computer until he was informed who got the unit and where it is, he refused to okay payroll without seeing specific checks for each allocation, which he was advised he can see in files at city hall.
Aanonsen also wants to renegotiate the fire territory agreement with the township. He said Shafer supervisors balked at the amount being asked for 2023, saying he is “not sure how well it (formula) is working.” He added he will be returning to the township for more discussion in March as the Taylors Falls fire service representative.
Council also approved sale of a townhome neighborhood, located next to the Lutheran church, that was constructed under a Tax Increment Financing contract 25 years ago. The TIF is completed and the owner needed city authorization to sell.
Fire Chief Jake Vodenka Reed was authorized to get quotes for cutting a new access into a cement wall at the fire hall. He will present the quotes for the council to choose one at the next meeting.