May 31, 2024 at 1:46 p.m.

Shafer City Council briefs...


By MATT SILVER | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment
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Shafer City Council met May 21 for a regular meeting.  All members were present.

The meeting began with a public hearing for two ordinances and a conditional use permit for the property, formerly Auto Gardens. 

The council closed the hearing and passed the two ordinances one regulating fence heights allowed in city limits. The other ordinance the council passed allows recreational equipment sales, service and allows shipping containers (20).  

The council then passed a conditional use permit for 30035 Gunflint Way.  The CUP will allow the items mentioned in the ordinance change and will be specifically tied to that address.  A boat repair shop  is going into the property.

The council then heard from resident Tina Hempel.   Hempel relayed an incident that happened recently to her daughter who was walking along the Swedish Immigrant Trail west of town.  Hempel said her daughter was followed by someone who came out of the woods where law enforcement removed squatters in the past.  Hempel relayed her daughter felt a presence and began to run while the person also began running.  She managed to call for help, and when a deputy arrived on the trail the person had left the trail.  

The talk then turned to what the city can do.  Mayor Paula Hanson said she is fully aware of the problems incurred by some properties and that was one of the reasons she ran for Mayor.  Council member Brad Swenson added he knows of problems such as the trail issue and agreed something needs to be done about it.  Swenson asked if City Clerk Valerie Fox could look back at minutes when the council granted a CUP for troubled property to see if there are any current violations. It was also asked if cameras could be installed along the trail and city attorney James Monge said it would be ok as long as signage was posted.  He added the trail was county property and camera installation would have to be cleared with the county.

Council member Nick Brehm then told the council he would be in favor of putting out a request for proposals for city engineering.  Currently the city uses MSA as their engineering resource.  Brehm stated he thought the monthly rates the city is paying are considerably high.  Clerk Fox told the council the contract with MSA goes until the end of the year.  The council agreed to look into the matter in the months to come.

The council then heard from Dennis Oberloh of Oberloh and Oberloh Accounting presenting the 2023 city audit findings.  

Oberloh told the council the city saw a decrease on the general fund of $22,604.  He pointed out the city had a $46,000 decrease in receipts which included LGA money and donations to the city.  He did point out receipts from taxes increased $30,689.  The general fund at the end of 2023 sat at $728,539. The current unassigned balance the city had for 2023 was $884,679 which represents 121.4 percent of the 2023 receipts.  “The state auditor recommends carrying a percentage of 35 or higher so Shafer sitting at 121.4 is a good thing,” Oberloh said.

The city saw an increase in gambling revenue of around $42,000 in 2023.  Oberloh noted the operating income for the city saw an increase of $16,000 compared to 2022 which showed a loss of $159,025 because of the water tower project.  

Oberloh assured the council the city was in good financial condition.

The council then discussed pay raises.  Mayor Hanson pointed out there had not been increases since 2005 to either council nor the mayor position.  Council member Nick Brehm made a motion to increase the mayor’s pay from $75 to $100 per meeting or committee meeting and the council’s pay be raised from $50 to $75 for meetings.  The council will officially act on the raises at the next meeting and raises would go into effect on January 1 of 2025.

In the maintenance report, maintenance supervisor Dan Cooper told the council he would like permission to hire American Environmental to  begin televising and jetting of sewer lines.  Cooper told the council he would like to begin with 6,000 linear feet that would cost the city $16,500.  When asked how much it would be to do the entire city, Cooper thought around $150,000.  The council approved the jetting and televising of 6,000 linear feet for $16,500.

Council adjourned at 7:35 p.m.


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