6/13/2013 2:45:00 PM Shafer Council raises water/sewer rates, council member move creates council vacancy
The Shafer City council met June 4 for a regular meeting. All council members were present along with five people in attendance.
In public hearing, City Attorney Ted Alliegro told the council there were two ordinances that needed to be addressed. The first being setback distance for residential property in the commercial and central business districts. The ordinances would allow accessory buildings five feet from sides and rear property lines. The existing structures would be grandfathered in and would be consistent with the proposed ordinance ammendments for residential districts. Treasurer Richard Hill told the council the lack of building over the last five years has taken its toll on water and sewer revenues.
Water revenues decreased $14,000 from 2010 to 2013. While the city did restructure the debt with refunded bonds, the revenues are still $25,000 to $35,000 short each year to cover expenses. Hill said an increase of 4 to 6 percent in fees would decrease the shortage by $5,00 to $6,000 a year. Hill said he hopes that more homes will begin to be built so the system can pay for itself. In public comment, resident Tanya Nuss told the council she would like to serve on the planning commission.
A seat is available as council member Matt Dunham has stepped down. Mayor Kyle Johnson made a motion to appoint Nuss to the planning commission which passed by a vote of 5-0. In new business Johnson made a motion to return $128 to Chisago county for the overpayment of grant money for the upgrade of the city’s emergency siren. The motion passed 5-0 in favor. The council then was told there will be 20 middle school volunteers helping the city on July 11, 18 and 25. Students would work two hours per day and the parks committee will have a list of tasks for the students. Alliegro presented the council with a rough draft composed by the ordinance committee for city employee personnel policy. In unfinished business, city engineer Jon Herdegen told the council there are two bids for rip rap repair of the sewer ponds. RE Peterson was the lowest bid, Mayor Johnson made a motion to accept RE Peterson’s bid which passed 5-0.
Herdegen then presented bids for crack sealing. Gopher State Sealcoating was the lowest bid of $7,776 which was awarded on a motion made by Johnson that passed 5-0. Herdegen told the council if it wanted to get to the bottom of the odor problem in City Hall it would need to hire a professional. He suggested using AES and the council passed a motion to hire AES by a vote of 5-0. Herdegen then presented the council with a map of Redfield Boulevard where storm water is collecting and standing. Herdegen told the council he would like to do some investigating to see if the water can be diverted. The council agreed to allow Herdegen to investigate but expenses may not exceed $1,500. The council then voted on the ordinance change for setbacks.
The council voted in favor of the ordinance with council member Koree Denmark opposed. The council then voted on a motion made by council member Jesse Keeney to raise the water and sewer rates by five percent. The motion passed 5-0. Keeney told the council that Public Works Director Alan Anderson expressed concern over the rate of pay for on-call public works employees. Anderson also expressed concern with hours because of a shortage of manpower. Maintenance worker Gaylon Riley is on paid leave for 60 days mandated by the city. Johnson told Keeney to relay to Anderson that he would look into soliciting help from Taylors Falls and Center City until the position is filled. The council then passed a unanimous resolution declaring a vacancy for council member Corey Sellman. The council then thanked Sellman for his years of service and wished him well on his move to a new city. In open forum Keeney told the council eight new picnic tables were being built by resident Mike Haggert.