Open Public Forum
Jesse Job addressed Council about a situation of citations and warning given out by the Stearns County Sheriff on Main Street regarding the Cityâ€™s Winter Parking Rule. Job requested if the times could be more accommodating for patrons and employees to park on the street or if greater discretion from the Sheriffâ€™s Office could be exercised. It was suggested that the time change to 6:00 A.M. as the end time (from 2:30 A.M. to 7:00 A.M.). Clerk Hetland noted that snow clean in the Main Street area is among the first areas addressed by the Public Works Department and the time would clearly work in that area. Mayor Worms discussed the possibility of having snow emergencies but it would be the responsibility of the vehicle owner to be mindful of the announcements. It was further mentioned that other cities execute an administrative fine for violations in addition to towing charges for violations during a snow storm. In the events Job was referring to, there was not a snow storm or one even suggested, rather a lack of discretion on the part of the Stearns County Sheriff and was not endorsed by the City of Freeport. Hetland was asked to draft an ordinance to address the change in time and make the necessary arrangements for a future hearing for Councilâ€™s review.
Job also brought forward a concern that the sidewalk south of County Road 11 on the east side is in need to having the snow removed, making walking on that road hazardous. Hetland noted that that it would be addressed. It was also discussed that the sidewalks on the north end of the City along County Road 11 are being heavily used by snowmobiles and the residents find it difficult to keep the sidewalks clean due to the traffic. Worms mentioned that these areas could use signs, but due to the low pedestrian traffic, that these areas could be simply used as snowmobile trails in the winter, negating the need of property owners to clear the sidewalks of snow. Due to the snowmobile traffic on the north end of County Road 11â€™s sidewalks and lack of signs or reasonable enforcement of preventing snowmobile traffic on sidewalks it was agreed that sidewalk clearing for those sidewalks would be suspended for the season.
Goebel moved and Humbert seconded a motion approving the Consent Agenda which included the following: Approval of the agenda; approval of the minutes from the December 29, 2009 Regular Meeting; approval of the agenda; approval of the minutes from the December 29, 2009 Regular Meeting; approval of the claims distributed on December 30, 2009 in the amount of $10,914.29; approval of the claims distributed on December 30, 2009 in the amount of $110.75; Approval of the claims distributed on December 30, 2009 in the amount of $1508.46; approval of claims in the amount of $381,356.83; close â€ś2005 Main Street Projectâ€ť capital projects fund #405 to â€śG.O. Improvement Bonds of 2005â€ť debt service fund #325 in the amount of $153,858.61 (excess due to receipt of county reimbursement); close â€ś2006 Industrial Park Projectâ€ť capital projects fund #406 to â€śG.O. Improvement Bonds of 2006â€ť debt service fund #330 in the amount of $224,692.72 (excess due to under-spending on project and receipt of Whirlwind loan repayments); Resolution 2010-001 â€“ Freeport State Bank as an official depository; Resolution 2010-002 â€“ Central Minnesota Federal Credit Union as an official depository; approval of the 2010 Fire and Rescue Department Officers: Fire Chief Noah Van Beck, 1st Assistant Fire Chief Wayne Revering, Second Assistant Fire Chief Dean Jungles, and Secretary Loren Goebel; setting February 23, 2010 as the Annual Area Fire Service Meeting; approving the 2009 Pay Equity Report as required by Minnesota law every two years (due by January 31, 2010); and 2010 Appointments as recommended by Mayor Matthew Worms. Discussion offered. Motion carried 3-0 and Charles Balderston abstained.
Council Member Vacancy â€“ declaration and consideration of appointment
Per advice from legal counsel, Worms declared that a 90 day period had lapsed from which Charles Balderston was no longer eligible to hold his Council seal due to moving out of city limit; therefore, that the seat was officially vacant. Worms moved and Humbert seconded a motion declaring that the Council Member seat of which Charles Balderston was elected to be vacant. Discussion offered. Motion carried 3-0 and Charles Balderston abstained. Worms, on behalf of the City and its People, thanked Balderston for his service as a Council Member and presented him with a service award.
Worms moved and Goebel seconded a motion approving Ron Ritter as the appointee to fill the open position until December 31, 2010. Discussion was offered and Worms explained that there were many qualified candidates he understood that were interested in the position and believed that the best person was the Peopleâ€™s next choice in the last election which was Ron Ritter. Worms stated that he met with Ritter and that he was humbled and agreed to take the position if offered. Motion carried 3-0. Hetland, as the City Clerk and the election administrator, per Minnesota law, officially administered the Oath of Office for Ron Ritter. Worms and Council welcomed Ritter to his position.
USDA Rural Development Projects Update â€“ Scott Lange and Todd Hagen
Todd Hagen addressed Council about the bonding plan for financing the USDA RD projects. He reported that the loan would be for 40 years and it is yet to be determined by the USDA of the grant amount. In the planning process, City Engineer Scott Lange mentioned that he has been hoping we receive approximately $780,000 in grant money but budgeting only for $600,000. Hagen noted that by State law the Council will need to approve the bond by a 4/5th vote. It was suggested the bond sale be in February or March. He also mentioned that the City can expect a A bond rating and Hagen publicly thanked the work of Hetland for keeping the Cityâ€™s funds in good condition.
Lange distributed a draft agenda for the upcoming Water Tower public hearing for review and consideration. He also mentioned that the suggested power line relocation could be substantially completed in 2010 by Xcel Energy, yet to determine the amount of the project, Xcel requests that a $5000 retainer.
Revised Assessment Policy â€“ Re-review and request for approval
Lange distributed the revised assessment policy discussed over the last several months. He and Hetland noted that the policy can be amended by Council at any time, but its intent was to bring greater consistency and equity in applying City assessments. One of the changes noted was to add a percent onto to a bond rate for assessments to cover administrative expenses. Humbert moved and Goebel seconded a motion approving the new assessment policy as presented and Resolution 2010-003 Providing for the Sale of $2,860,000 General Obligation Temporary Bonds, Series 2010A. Discussion offered. Motion carried 4-0.
Island Paradise Plat Consideration
Lange noted that he requested drainage information from Duffy Engineering regarding the proposed plat and should be February once it is received.
Sales Tax Considerations and Audit on
Hetland brought forward information regarding a recent, random sales tax audit from the Minnesota Department of Revenue. Information from Revenue and confirmed by the League of Minnesota Cities determined that all water that the City pumps (which is provided to the State to the Minnesota Department of Health) minus the water billed to residential units (which is not subject to sales tax) the remaining difference is subject to Minnesota State Sales Tax which prior to July 2009 was 6.5% and afterward was 6.875%. The City of Freeport has always paid sales tax on commercial water sale to exclude residential sales, but not on the remaining water pumped which includes water tower clean out, water line breaks, hydrant flushing, use at City buildings, and fighting fires. Hetland noted that he has yet to find a city that pays sales tax on the remaining water pumped. Worms stated that the issue will be further investigated.
City Clerk/Treasurerâ€™s Report, Paul Hetland
Hetland provided a written report that is on file for review.
Hetland also noted that he and Council Member Humbert attended a meeting that day regarding a State community grant opportunity encouraging wellness. They will continue to work on the grant prospect and report back at a future meeting.
City Engineer, S.E.H. â€“ Scott Lange
Lange mentioned that 14 light poles arrived the day before and he is investigating the installation cost from Design Electric.
He also reported on the status of the trench settlements on the east end of Main Street. He said that the warranty bond ends mid 2011 and will be following-up with the County Engineer and the contractor about the matter.
Hetland reported on the EDA Special Meeting from January 20, 2010.
Worms reported on the Stearns County Municipal League Meeting from Tuesday, January 19, 2010. Worms asked Hetland to obtain a map of the tax delinquent properties as presented at the meeting.
Council and the public were reminded of the upcoming USDA project hearings dates and times.
At 9:40 P.M. Worms moved and Goebel seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting. Motion carried 4-0.