Council Minutes, November 2, 2020

Posted: November 2, 2020

City of LeRoy MN – Council Meeting Minutes, November 2, 2020

A regular meeting of the LeRoy City Council was called to order by Mayor Brian Thiel on Monday, November 2, 2020, at 6:30 PM at the LeRoy Community Center with the following members present:  Mayor Brian Thiel, Council Members Jan Whisler, Harold Shipman, Daisie Fox, Maintenance John Jones, and City Clerk Patty White. Council Member Ashley Huntley arrived at 7:22 PM.
Also attending: Richard Rabehl, Don & Alice Darland, Cletus & Arlene Bastian, Cassidy Milks, Gerald Payne, and Leslie Kerr.  All stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Consent Agenda:

  • With no questions being posed with the information included in the consent agenda, a motion was made by Whisler, seconded by Shipman to approve the consent agenda. Motion carried 4-0.

Police Report:

  • Deputy Sawyer Weiss was not in attendance; no printed police report had been provided for council review.

Volunteer of the Month:

  • There have been no new nominations for the Volunteer of the Month recognition.

Public Input:

  • Richard Rabehl expressed concern to council about the dog fence that was installed next to his property. He reported the fence is eight feet from his patio; he noted if he steps outside the dogs bark a lot and seem vicious.  Rabehl questioned why the council allowed this fence to be installed.  Council noted the fence followed set back requirements.  Thiel told Mr. Rabehl he should take his concerns about the dogs to the Mower County Sheriff’s office.
  • Arlene Bastian questioned council how many dogs can be kept at a house. White reported three dogs are allowed according to city ordinance.  Bastian will get information to White about a property where more than three dogs are being housed.
  • Alice Darland introduced herself to council and noted she and her husband are new to the community and are trying to get acclimated. She questioned about Wildwood Grove and what she has read in the newspaper.  Darland was told this topic would be discussed later in the council meeting.  She also questioned about how some of the CARES Act funds have been allocated.  Thiel offered to meet with Ms. Darland following the council meeting to review these purchases with her.
  • Shipman read a letter from the Tuesday Afternoon Book Club pertaining to the LeRoy Public Librarian and Librarian Barnes. Leslie Kerr thanked the council and maintenance workers for raking up the leaves in such a quick manner.

Standing Committee Reports-EDA Report:

  • Thiel noted the EDA has met for both their regular meeting and for a special joint meeting with the city council. The EDA’s main actions have been to sort out the financial activities at WWG.  Thiel and Whisler had composed a report explaining why the change in bookkeeping services was made.  Thiel further explained that past payroll taxes had not been paid at WWG.  Both the city council and LeRoy EDA voted, by the recommendation of the city attorney, to contact the Mower County Sheriff’s office about these unpaid taxes.  Darland posed additional questions to the city council.  Thiel replied that WWG’s financial reports are included in the annual city audit.
  • White explained the Wildwood Grove Line of Credit is coming due. This line of credit is secured by the city’s investment savings account.  Motion by Whisler, second by Fox to continue with the Line of Credit and allowing the use of the city investment savings account as security on this loan.  Motion carried 4-0.

State Highway 56 Project:

  • Council reviewed the email received from Chad Hanson pertaining to bike/buffer lanes in the width of five feet; these would be installed next to the parking lanes in the downtown area of the Hwy 56 project. The cost of these would be covered by MnDOT.  Motion by Fox, second by Shipman to agree to the installation of these bike/buffer lanes.  Motion carried 4-0.

CARES Act Funds:

  • Thiel reported the council had appropriated $20,000 for small business relief; eight businesses had applied for these funds for a total request of $34,376. Council was also reminded they had appropriated up to $15,000 to the fire department.
  • Thiel reported six Chromebooks have been purchased along with a television, meeting owl, foggers, and disinfectant. The public library would like another security camera installed by the old entrance.  Council could choose to allocate additional funds for business relief.
  • Motion by Shipman, second by Whisler to allocate funds for the additional security camera at the public library and to provide the additional $14,376 for small business relief. On a roll call of votes Thiel, Whisler, and Shipman cast aye votes.  Fox abstained from the vote.  The motion carried.
  • White questioned if the election CARES Act funds could be used to increase the election judge hourly pay to $15 per hour to better compensate the election judges for serving during the pandemic. Motion by Whisler, second by Huntley to allow this increase in pay for the primary and general elections in 2020.  Motion carried 5-0.

2021 Budget & Preliminary Levy:

  • Council will further review the proposed 2021 budget and levy at the December 7, 2020, city council meeting.

2021 Pay Package/Pay Scale:

  • Thiel presented a scale allocating points for pay equity and a proposed pay scale for 2021. Thiel noted the council will set the points allocated for job classes with relative scaling for all positions.  Council will further review this at the December 7, 2020, city council meeting.
  • Whisler requested pay comparisons for the clerk and maintenance positions from the cities of Adams, Grand Meadow, Spring Valley, and Brownsdale. White will compile this information for council review.

Iron Man Marathon-May 1, 2021:

  • Shipman reported he had met with Juliet O’Keefe, the coordinator of this event. They would like to have Lowell Street blocked off between Mower County 14 to just past the trailhead crossing for an hour or so during the beginning of this marathon in the morning hours of May 1, 2021.  Shipman reported this marathon is a qualifier marathon and will be held on the first Saturday in May in subsequent years.  Council consensus to allow this closure of Lowell Street for the 2021 event and in subsequent years.

Set Date & Time to Canvass Ballots from 2020 General Election:

  • White reported the council will need to meet to canvass the results of the city 2020 general election. Council consensus to meet as the canvassing board on Monday, November 9, 2020, at 6:00 PM at the LeRoy Community Center.

Land Use Permits:

  • There were no land use permits for council to review.

Communications File:

  • There was nothing for council to review in the communications file.

Street Project for 2021:

  • Jones reported that Colton from Heartland Asphalt has not been here yet to review a possible street project for 2021. Jones reported he had measured Lowell Street from the intersection with Benton Street to Broadway Street.  He estimated a cost to do a mill and overlay on this part at $180,000.  Whisler reported he had also talked to Colton; he hopes to get to LeRoy sometime in the next week.  Whisler would like to see all of Lowell Street redone, but this project will depend on funding.
  • Thiel questioned about pothole patching in the fall. Jones and Sweeney will try to get some of this completed prior to cold weather.

Snow Policy:

  • Thiel noted council had touched on winter parking some last snow season. Whisler felt it best to rely on the reports from the maintenance workers.
  • Thiel would like to see all cars off the streets during the winter season. He noted that most apartment buildings have available off-street parking if the building owners maintain it.
  • Shipman reported that Spring Valley does not allow on-street parking from November 1 through April 1 from 2:00 AM until 6:00 AM. Council discussed this option and noted that there is no parking on Main Street from 2:00 AM until 6:00 AM year round.  Council felt this may be too late to make a change to city ordinance at this time for winter parking.

Well House Controls Update:

  • Jones reported he has been manually filling the water tower since September 9, 2020. Jones reviewed the list of events from the time this happened.  Huntley questioned if this is the only company that does controls for tower filling.  White questioned if council should withhold payment or have some type of penalty for the slowness in getting these controls installed.
  • Council questioned if a different company should be contacted to do this work. Jones noted all the materials have been ordered by LeBlanc Consulting.  Thiel would like a report to review at the December council meeting showing who area cities use for their water tower controls.

North Baumbach Park-Tennis/Basketball Court Fence:

  • Whisler suggested using park and rec capital outlay funds to get this fence replaced in Spring, 2021. Council consensus to proceed with this project using park and rec capital outlay funds with the project being completed in Spring, 2021.

Nuisance Properties:

  • Huntley suggested following up on the chicken issue.

Other Items:

  • White questioned how the WWG payroll tax issue is to be paid for. It was noted that taxes and interest amount to $145,062.09.  This does not include the penalties assessed for late filings.  Motion by Whisler to use WWG capital outlay funds and infrastructure capital outlay funds for payment of these taxes and interest.  Second by Shipman.  On a roll call of votes, all members voted aye.  The motion carried 5-0.
  • Huntley questioned why the auditor had not caught this issue during the annual audit. Thiel noted he has posed this question to the audit firm; he did not receive much for answers from them.  White suggested drafting a letter from the city addressing this.

Being no further business to come before the council, the meeting was adjourned on a motion by Shipman, second by Fox at 8:10 PM.

– Brian Thiel, Mayor

– Patty A. White, City Clerk-Treasurer