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Hallock City Council holds public hearing to set fire call rates

By Margie Holmgren

A public hearing was held during the June regular Hallock City Council meeting to receive input on the ordinance allowing the fire department to bill for fire calls.

No one from the public attended but discussion between the council, Fire Chief Kevin Klein and attorney George Hanson was held on the amounts to be charged for various fires.

The council agreed and approved charging $1,000 for a residential fire, $500 for a motor vehicle crash and Department of Natural Resources rates for all other facilities. The full ordinance can be found in the legal section of this paper. In its regular meeting, the council approved hiring summer employees.

Nicholas Johnson was hired as the summer rec instructor at $11.40 per hour. Lifeguards hired include Taylor Davis, Jenna Davis, McKenna Peterson, Morgan Hanson, Allie Kassels, Morgan Olson, Cheyanne Scalese and Megan Larson, pending completion of her background check. Returning lifeguards, Peterson and Hanson will be paid $10.45/hour. Taylor Davis will get $10.80/hour for lifeguarding and $13.50 for water aerobics instruction. Peyton Klein was hired to be the pool manager at a rate of $13/hour.

Discussion was held on the decision made at the last meeting to pay the lifeguards $12/hour when giving private swimming lesson. Private swimming lessons are $50 for 2.5 hours of lessons. Pool manager Peyton Klein had sent a letter to the members of the council in regards to the pay rate for private lessons. The letter was not sent to the city administrator Angela Grafstrom.

Council member Jen Peterson explained she had been unable to attend the parks and rec meeting when the decision was made to give the lifeguards $12/hour as opposed to the full $50 for the private lessons.

Kevin Klein as a parent spoke up stating he felt his daughter’s letter was well written and “she had very good points.”

“The pool is a community thing,” Klein stated, “it’s not about trying to turn a profit.”

He further stated he felt the rates that are charged for public lessons is really cheap.

“Who ends up paying for the pool?” Klien asked. “It’s the people in this community.”

The taxpayers of Hallock are the ones who pay for the majority of the pool not those that come from other areas to swim for the day or take lessons, he explained. Lessons are only $25 for two weeks and it costs you $5 for a day pass.

“I agree it is cheap but I want our kids going out here knowing how to swim,” stated Peterson.

“I’m an advocate for public swimming lessons.” Mayor Treumer stated, “we are here to discuss the lifeguards getting paid more for private lessons not on pool rates. I don’t want to get sidetracked.”

Klein stated that the way he understands it is that the kids are going to be charge $6.50/hour to use the pool to give private lessons. He stated there were two 18 year olds that were close to going to work somewhere else.

“I am really disappointed in charging $6.50 for those kids to use the pool. Then their pay is only $13.50/hour less tax.”

Peterson stated she wishes she had been at the parks and rec committee meeting and knew the lifeguards were all disappointed.

“Peyton has made less money every year she’s worked there,” added Klein. “She did all the managers stuff last year and never got paid for any of it. What’s she’s being offered this year is less than she was paid last year and what she made last year was less than the year before. Would you work somewhere where you make less money every year?”

One of the changes the city has made is they now pay for the lifeguards to get certified and also has begun purchasing their swimsuits. Council member Naomi Larson stated this decision was made by the council not requested by the lifeguards, “we decided to do this for them.”

Klein stated he’s OK with the taxes but the $6.50 out of the wage was not OK. Mayor Treumer made the motion to pay the lifeguards the full $20/hour for private lessons less taxes, seconded by Council member Mike Totleben.

Peterson abstained since her daughter is one of the lifeguards and the motion passed reversing their decision from last month to pay them only $12/hour.

In other business:

Police Chief Mike Docken asked for permission to work part-time for the county since they are short handed. The council felt they couldn’t dictate what Docken does on his off hours. They also stated if he wanted more hours, the city needs more help to get projects done this summer.

Klein reported the fire department has had seven calls last month with only two in Hallock district. The fire truck was ready and they were going down the next day to inspect it and bring it back.

The council approved offering comprehensive dental insurance with the city paying 80 percent of the premium and employees paying 20 percent. Mayor Treumer voted against as he felt the start date should be January 1, 2020 and not July 1, 2019. Peterson abstained since her husband is an employee of the city.

The Hallock EDA approved giving the Last Chance Trading Post LLC a $5,000 loan but tabled giving money to the Ship Shop Hallock business. They requested owner, Corey Lundberg, provide the committee with more information.

The council approved the deferred loan to the Last Chance Trading Post LLC.

Building permits were approved to Justin Turner, Dean Wilson, Todd Johnson, Shamrock Lanes and Grill and Shirley Rydberg.

The council adjourned and will meet again Monday, July 1, 5:30 p.m.

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