Oath Of Office
City Clerk Paul Hetland administered the Oath of Office to Mayor Matthew Worms, Council Member Joseph Hennen, and Council Member Kenneth Goebel.
Open Public Forum
No one addressed City Council.
It was requested to remove the claims from the Consent Agenda. Joe Hennen moved and Balderston seconded a motion approving the Consent Agenda which included the following: Approval of the agenda; approval of the minutes from the December 30, 2008 Regular Council Meeting; approval of employee payroll including over time hours payout to the Public Works Director in the total amount of $9435.63; 2008 Tax Increment Financing payments (included in claims); Resolution 2009-001 designating Freeport State Bank as a City depository; Resolution 2009-002 designating the Central Minnesota Federal Credit Union as a City depository; Resolution 2009-003 Lake Wobegon Trail signage support; the 2009 Appointments as recommended by Mayor Matt Worms; and the 2009 Fire and Rescue Department and Fire Relief Association Officers. Discussion offered. Motion carried 5-0.
Balderston moved and Humbert seconded a motion approving the claims in the amount of $411,792.65. Discussion. Motion carried 5-0.
Hearing Wood Burning Stoves
Hetland reported that the City of St. Martin provided information of their recently adopted ordinance prohibiting exterior wood burning stoves. The information will be reviewed, an ordinance drafted and reviewed by the City Attorney, and brought for Council's consideration at a future meeting.
Stearns County Lieutenant Sheriff Jon Lentz gave the December 2008 report and also a review of the reports from 2008. Lentz gave a verbal report of a car that was towed the early morning hours of December 24, 2008 and the City Code exemption for Christmas Eve. The ticket was dismissed and half of the towing costs were paid by the Sheriff's Office due to the fact that the dispatcher used a towing service from St. Cloud but the driver was close in the area at the time of the removal request. Council discussed changing the ordinance at a later time to clarify the exemption for Christmas Eve to be defined as the early hours of December 25.
Worms noted to Lentz that he had received complaints about a purple colored pick-up truck traveling at excessive speeds in the City. Lentz noted the concern and stated he would investigate the matter.
Goebel requested that timely reports be submitted to the City for public review opposed to monthly reports of the activities the month prior to the meeting month. A discussion followed to try and provide more timely information balanced with protecting the privacy of citizens.
Council discussed various ways to assist in saving money for the City. Included in the discussion were reducing informational expenses that did not aid Council's decision making processes. Such examples were the audited financial statements and Council packet reports such as employee payroll information. Hetland stated that he would work on the suggestions and implement the packet ones for the next meeting. He suggested the possibility of using electronic Council packets to further reducing copying and paper costs. Council appreciated the suggestion and three Members requested electronic copies for the next meeting.
Worms, with apparent Council and Staff agreement, also noted in the conversation that the City of Freeport should be concerned with the unfunded mandates from the State of Minnesota and the duplicative services from other governmental units, especially those pertaining to environmental services.
City Clerk/Treasurer's Report, Paul Hetland
Hetland provided a written report that is on file for review.
Public Works Director's Report, Keith Koehler
Koehler provided a written report that is on file for review.
Humbert commented that perhaps more sand and salt was needed on certain street corners. Koehler noted that all street corners in the City were being covered but noted that he will give more attention to them. Worms commented that the streets in other cities similar to the ones in Freeport.
Koehler also noted that he and Voss recently performed a winter and snow safety program to the children at Sacred Heart School. He noted that 71 kids were present and that their program was well-received by them and the teachers.
He also noted that it was requested on the water and sewer bill cards that citizens clean out the snow around their nearby fire hydrants. Hetland noted that his recollection was no city code exists prescribing responsibility for hydrant snow removal, but he would report back with that confirmation.
City Engineer, S.E.H.
April Bielejeski brought forward a proposal for completing the Capital Improvement Plan for the City's Comprehensive Plan. It was noted that the proposal was previously reviewed by Mayor Worms and Clerk Hetland. The written proposal, which is on file for review, included gathering information, rating of the street and utilities, project and priority identification, and mapping with a estimate not to exceed $3200. Worms noted that the work was needed and Hetland noted that the budget would accommodate the expenditure. Hetland further noted that the Comprehensive Plan process to date was entirely internal and this was the first and only expected external cost, which was previously estimated in 2007 as a $20,000 process. Balderston moved and Goebel seconded a motion approving the S.E.H. Capital Improvement Plan proposal. Motion carried 5-0.
Bielejeski gave a brief update of the USDA project reporting that information is being complied and a full presentation of the potential grant, loan, and costs would be coming in the near future at a City Council meeting.
Fire Chief Report
Noah Van Beck, Fire Chief stated that Whirlwind Steel Buildings donated steel to complete the back of the Fire Hall. He noted that the windows are in good condition and not in need of repair or replacement.
Van Beck and Hetland requested approval of the Annual Area Fire Service meeting. Humbert moved and Balderston seconded a motion setting February 24, 2009 at 7:30 P.M. for the Annual Area Fire Service Meeting. Discussion offered. Motion carried 5-0.
Worms called a recess at 9:10 P.M. to repair for the posted closed session to conduct the six month review of Keith Koehler. Worms called the meeting back to order at 9:16 P.M.
Closed Session: 6 month review of the Public Works Director Keith Koehler
Humbert moved and Joe Hennen seconded a motion to move into a closed session per the request of Keith Koehler for his six month review. Balderston moved and Worms seconded a motion to approve a cost of living adjustment and merit-based wage increase from $18 per hour to $19 for Keith Koehler. Hetland and City Council gave an excellent six month review to Koehler and he is in good standing with the City. Motion carried 5-0.
At 10:09 P.M. Humbert moved and Goebel seconded a motion to adjourn the closed session and meeting itself. Motion carried 5-0.