HALLOCK CITY COUNCIL MEETING
JANUARY 2, 2013
Pursuant to due call and notice thereof, a regular meeting of the Hallock City Council was held on Monday, January 2, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. in the city hall.
Members present: Mayor Paul Clay, Alex Gustafson, Laura Reese, Michael Totleben and Kevin Waller.
Members absent: none.
Totleben moved to approve the minutes of the December 3, 2012 regular meeting. The motion was seconded by Gustafson and carried.
Mayor Clay welcomed our new council member, Kevin Waller. Kevin has been appointed to fill the vacancy left from the November election.
The council discussed a request of some employees to deal with unused vacation. Noel explained the current policy which allows employees to carry over a maximum of 30 days of unused vacation. Noel noted that we’ve kept a memo of additional unused vacation because some of the city crew, for a number of reasons, hasn’t managed to take all of their vacation. Officially, though, we have booked the maximum of 30 days carryover at the end of each year.
It’s an old problem that dates back to the 1995 tornado, a year when almost no vacation was taken. Because of floods, major street projects and employee injury and illness, there always seemed to be an excuse to not take vacation. There was always an intention that this would some day be addressed.
As it stands, individuals have lost as much as 54 days of vacation, even with the 30-day carryover. Noel has suggested a one-time additional 14 days carryover, to be treated separately and “use it or lose it” over the next four years.
This involves only the three veteran city maintenance crew. Reese commented that these additional days could be taken a few days a year, but it would be understood that they are used or lost and not paid out upon an employee leaving employment. Reese suggested that we consider addressing a potential maximum payout at severance time because, theoretically, an employee could carry over 30 days, earn 20 days and have a December 31 payout of 50 days. This seems excessive and should be addressed another day. After much discussion, Reese moved to approve the additional 14 days of carryover for the three city crew involved with the understanding that, if these days are not used within the four years or upon leaving employment (whichever is sooner), they would be lost. The motion was seconded by Clay and carried.
Noel asked for authority to purchase a lateral file for the city shop, suggesting that there are some good opportunities to find good used office equipment. Totleben moved to approve the purchase. The motion was seconded by Reese and carried.
Mike Docken asked the council for some compensation for his cell phone. Noel commented that, since 1997, the city crew has received a $100 annual clothing allowance and a $20/month cell phone allowance. Docken asked to have his monthly phone charge paid at $75/month. After brief discussion, Totleben moved to approve a $50 phone allowance for Docken. The motion was seconded by Gustafson and carried.
Reese moved to authorize Noel to attend the MN Clerks and Finance Officers Assoc. meeting in St. Cloud in March. The motion was seconded by Totleben and carried.
Totleben expressed concern about animal tracks coming from the vacant trailers east of his property. The council discussed the protocol for identifying and mitigating potential public safety hazards on private property. Annually, the police chief surveys the entire city and, in June, presents a “List of Probable Hazardous Properties.”
The council reviews the list and orders further inspection to determine if any of the properties constitutes a public safety hazard. The council suggested that our police chief survey this property at that time.
Mayor Clay reminded the council that we had tabled discussions about a Special Deer Hunt program until the January meeting. If the council chose to apply for such a hunt from the MnDNR, the deadline for applications is mid-May. Noel reported on some recent research of four cities who have conducted these hunts.
There are several examples of rules from these cities. Anoka County does a deer population survey and has identified a population objective which then dictates the harvest objective. The city would need to provide archery training and proficiency tests to all hunters involved. The City would only designate public properties as hunting areas. Hunters would be required to complete a written permission form to hunt on private property. Gustafson suggested that we contact the
MnDNR and have them take care of this deer population problem. There seemed to be no consensus as to how much of a problem the deer really are and what the deer population objective would be. Noel and Docken were instructed to do further research.
Noel noted that Shirley Rydberg has offered to donate funds to install new flooring in the city hall kitchen. Noel commented that, since we have solved all of our underground issues in the building, it would be a good project. Vagle suggested that we could order enough extra flooring to have on hand when the time comes to replace or remove some of the old cabinets. Totleben enthusiastically moved to proceed with the project. The motion was seconded by Gustafson and carried.
The council discussed the need for some tuck-pointing on the city hall brick. Ron Jasmer, of Widseth-Smith-Nolting has suggested using a budget of $12 per square foot. Noel stated that this means a project from $72,000 to $100,000. Noel commented that companies who do this work can’t give solid quotes without a site visit. We have a short list of contractors. Noel will contact several to see if there’s any upcoming projects in our area.
Reese moved to sell Lots 10, 11 and 12 of Block 6, Southeast Addition, to Warren Lungstrom. The motion was seconded by Clay.
Gustafson stated he opposed selling the lots with the planned reimbursement from the Hallock EDA. Voting in favor: Mayor Clay, Reese, Totleben and Waller. Opposed: Gustafson.
Noel mentioned the need for a written agreement for our police department to continue to occupy office space in the courthouse. When this started, no formal agreement was ever written. County Administrator Eric Christensen will draft something for city and county approval.
The council reviewed and adjusted a list of various committees and fees. After some discussion, Gustafson moved to approve the list of appointments and fees as discussed. The motion was seconded by Reese and carried.
Totleben moved to approve a “Resolution Authorizing The Hallock Eagles Club to Dispense Intoxicating Liquor at a Convention Facility” (Res. #2013-01). This is for an event on January 24, 2013. The motion was seconded by Reese and carried.
Gustafson moved to approve a “Resolution Decertifying TIF District B, Hardware Store” (Res. #2013-02). The Resolution states that the principal balance of the interfund loan has been paid in full as of December 31, 2012. The motion was seconded by Reese and carried.
Noel stated that Matt Kuznia is interested in some industrial park property north of his current bin site. If the city is interested in selling, his long-range plans would be to install some hopper bins and possibly a shop. Gustafson expressed concern about allowing an agriculture use of our limited industrial park acres. The council also deliberated as to the intended purchase price. Waller suggested that there might be quite a variance in property value throughout the 32 acres. Noel was instructed to contact Kuznia for more detail of his potential plans.
Reese moved to approve the zoning permit of Matt Kuznia for the installation of one 50' diameter grain bin. The motion was seconded by Totleben and carried.
Noel mentioned that the City of Hallock has been approved to submit a final application for a Small Cities Development Block Grant. We need to conduct a public hearing to proceed with the final application. John Wynne of Northwest Community Action (NWCA) will be present to assist at the hearing. Totleben moved to adopt a “Resolution Calling For Public Hearing on Small Cities Development Block Grant Application” (Res. #2012-03). The resolution calls for a public hearing on Monday, February 4, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in the city hall. The motion was seconded by Reese and carried.
Noel described a glitch in the 2011 Refunding Bond, a bond which paid off three improvement bonds dated 2001, 2002 and 2003. There’s going to be a question as to why we continue to levy for the 2001 Improvement Bond. Noel explained that the levies for the 2002 and 2003 Improvement Bonds were properly canceled. When the 2011 bond was adopted, our finance people read the 2001 Bond as a Revenue Bond when, in fact, only about 25% of the bond was funded by water revenue. No one looked at the 2001 ad valorem levy, so it was left in place. Since revenues have not been pledged for this new refunding bond, we need to leave the 2001 levy in place for the duration. There’s a much more expanded explanation in the 2011 Refunding Bond file for future reference.
Reese moved to approve payment of the bills. The motion was seconded by Totleben. Motion carried. The check numbers included in the motion include: General Fund From 7275 to 7306; Water Fund from 8880 to 8886; Sewer Fund from 3888 to 3891; Gas Fund from 8148 to 8153; Fire Fund from 3374 to 3377.
Henry P. Noel, City Clerk
(Jan. 9, 2013)