Council Minutes, August 8, 2023

Posted: August 8, 2023

City of LeRoy MN – Council Meeting Minutes, August 8, 2023

A regular meeting of the LeRoy City Council was called to order by Mayor Ed Koppen on Tuesday, August 8, 2023, at 6:30 PM at the LeRoy Community Center with the following members present:  Mayor Ed Koppen, Council Members Harold Shipman, Gerald Payne, Brian Thiel, Maintenance Employee Nick Sweeney, and City Clerk Patty White.  Council Member Ashley Huntley was absent.
Also attending: Cole Wilcox, Don Wells, Trish Bundy, Ron Purkapile, Russ & Nel Rudlong.  All stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Consent Agenda:

  • Council reviewed the items included in the consent agenda. Thiel reported that Cole Wilcox has passed his Class D water license.  An increase in pay will be discussed later in the meeting.  Payne posed one question and requested to include Nuisance on Agenda item 12B; this would read 12B-Vacant & Nuisance Properties.
  • Motion by Shipman, second by Thiel to approve the consent agenda. Motion carried 4-0.

Police Report:

  • There was no police report with the absence of a deputy.

Public Input Time:

  • Don Wells noted a concern he had with a letter he received pertaining to him and his brother housing chickens at their residence. Wells noted these are not his chickens; he noted these chickens belong to a neighbor that lives across the alley from him.  He questioned how long people have been driving the alleys looking for nuisance properties and other issues.  He noted concern with the two properties in his neighborhood that are vacant.  Mr. Wells questioned council what the issue is with having chickens.  Payne apologized to Mr. Wells; Payne was the council member that directed White to send the letter to Mr. Wells.  Payne answered Mr. Wells question pertaining to why chickens are not allowed.  Payne noted some people would take care of the chickens where others let their chickens run free-range.  Shipman noted farm animals are not allowed within the city limits; chickens are farm animals.  Mr. Wells questioned if a waiver could be granted for someone housing chickens for a 4-H project.  Council noted there is no waiver for 4-H projects.  Payne also noted the council is working on the two houses Mr. Wells also discussed.  Mr. Wells also questioned about golf carts.  Mr. Wells was thanked for bringing these concerns to the council.

Standing Committee Reports:

  • Shipman reported Prairie Visions met in July; Prairie Visions will next meet in September.

State Highway 56 Project:

  • It was noted MnDOT had conducted an open house earlier today to relay information about the Hwy 56 project to those attending. Shipman noted he had discussed the large electrical transformer located near 401 East Main Street with MnDOT.  Shipman was told this transformer will need to be moved by the electrical company.
  • White explained the timeline for the project funds. The thought is that MnDOT will request the city’s share of the project funds by mid-December.  Preliminary work with bond counsel is being done.

Rate of Pay Adjustment-Cole Wilcox:

  • Koppen noted Wilcox should be entitled to an increase in pay of $1.27 per hour with his passing his Class D water licensure test. This increase would be in accordance with the pay schedule currently in place.
  • Thiel had prepared a revised pay scale/point schedule form. This revised scale would add another category to the public works section to better align with scales/steps when a public works employee passes the wastewater or water tests.  Koppen suggested following what was discussed at a previous meeting when Wilcox had received his Class D wastewater license and review this revised schedule at upcoming meetings.
  • Motion by Payne, second by Shipman to approve an increase in pay of $1.27 per hour to Cole Wilcox retroactive to the date of him receiving his Class D water license. Motion carried 4-0.

Land Use Permits:

  • There were no land use permits for council review.

Communications File:

  • Council reviewed the information from the Minnesota Association of Small Cities. Thiel noted this organization advocates for Minnesota cities with a population of 5,000 or fewer.  Thiel reported on a conversation he had with Joel Young, the city administrator from Chatfield, on the benefits of this program.  Payne noted the city probably doesn’t utilize the League of Minnesota Cities as much as they could.  The council noted they would like to hear a presentation from this Association to better understand what they can offer over and above of what the League of Minnesota Cities already offers.

Community Center Kitchen Project:

  • Payne reported he received an email today from the Minnesota Department of Health pertaining to the application that was submitted in June. There were some additional items brought up that will need to be addressed prior to any improvements made.  Payne noted a stove hood with a fire suppression system is being required.  It was also suggested to look at the application for a category 2 kitchen; the application for a category 1 kitchen was submitted.
  • Ron Purkapile made a note of the Plumbing Code and who inspects this. He noted about the plumbing required for a three-compartment sink.  Payne noted he has been working with the MDH inspector that covers Mower County on this project.
  • Koppen reiterated the need to follow protocols. He commended Payne for all his effort and work with this project, but he noted the clerk should have a copy of everything.  He also noted the council member assigned to public buildings should also be consulted.  Thiel questioned about a motion that had been made to proceed with the kitchen renovations; he questioned why this project should be slowed down now.  Payne requested to be able to continue with this project by asking questions and further checking into the questions/clarifications that have been posed by MDH.  Koppen reiterated he is not trying to stop this project; he noted that this project will proceed, but cautiously.

Service Award Recognition:

  • Koppen recognized Eileen Evans posthumously for being the spark plug in getting so many things started and making sure they continued. These included bingo, neighborhood get-togethers, meet your neighbor events; the list goes on and on.  It was the consensus of the council to do a formal recognition to the Evans family.  Koppen also noted the professionalism and entertainment provided by the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus.  Payne noted a thank you to the LeRoy Commercial Club for all they did for Summer Fest and in bringing the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus to town.  It was the consensus of the council to send a formal letter to the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus for the professionalism, entertainment, and excitement they brought to LeRoy.

Vacant & Nuisance Properties:

  • Payne noted it would be best to split the types of properties the council is dealing with. Vacant properties will take require different steps compared to nuisance properties.  Payne noted the nuisance properties can be addressed through the administrative fine program.  He reiterated that any notices sent out need to note what is in violation of the ordinance and what the corrective actions are that need to be taken.  White also updated council on a conversation she had with Tim Johnston, the owner of the Parkside Mobile Home Park, about a nuisance property located in the court.
  • Motion by Payne to have the city clerk send the demand for corrective action to the owner of record of 208 West Read Street. Payne provided pictures and the corrective actions that need to be taken.  Second by Shipman.  Motion carried 4-0.
  • It was the consensus of the council to have White advertise for people interested in serving on the Administrative Ordinance Board.
  • Koppen reported he received some backlash from both city and rural residents about the statement in the July meeting minutes about nuisance property cleanup pertaining to Clerk White. One person admonished Koppen that it is the council’s responsibility to address these issues.  Payne apologized to White for that statement.

Strong & John Street:

  • There was nothing to report on this.

ARPA Funds:

  • There was nothing to report on this.

EDA & WWG Report:

  • Thiel noted it has been nice to see the cash balance for WWG going up, and the line of credit balance going down. He reported he hears good things about WWG.

Due to the first Monday in September being a legal holiday, council chose to meet on Tuesday, September 5, 2023.  Being no further business to come before the council, the meeting was adjourned on a motion by Shipman, second by Payne at 7:48 PM.

– Ed Koppen, Mayor

– Patty A. White, City Clerk-Treasurer