Council Minutes, October 5, 2020

Posted: October 5, 2020

City of LeRoy MN – Council Meeting Minutes, October 5, 2020

A regular meeting of the LeRoy City Council was called to order by Mayor Brian Thiel on Monday, October 5, 2020, at 6:30 PM at the LeRoy Community Center with the following members present:  Mayor Brian Thiel, Council Members Ashley Huntley, Jan Whisler, Harold Shipman, Daisie Fox, Maintenance Employees John Jones and Nick Sweeney, and City Clerk Patty White.
Also attending: Axel Gumbel, Isaiah Opseth, Leslie Kerr, Georgia Eastvold, Dianne Ahrens, Gerald Payne, Donna Johnson, JoAnn Shipman, Deputy Sawyer Weiss, Rhonda Newton, and Cassidy Milks.  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 Huntley, seconded by Shipman to approve the consent agenda. Motion carried 5-0.

Police Report:

  • Deputy Weiss gave an oral police report. He will email the written report to the council members.
  • He reported 30 total contacts in September with the majority of the calls being traffic issues. He stressed to those present to be wary of door to door people including census workers and politicians.  He noted that people should make sure these door to door people have verified credentials.
  • Council thanked Deputy Weiss for his report.

Volunteer of the Month:

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

Public Input:

  • No one present had anything to bring during public input time.

Standing Committee Reports:

  • EDA Report:
  • Whisler reported the EDA has a written report included in the packet. Huntley would still like a verbal report in addition to the written report.
  • Thiel reported the EDA has implemented the recommendations of the audit firm.
  • Thiel reviewed with council a written statement that he and Whisler prepared. They requested this written statement to be attached to these minutes and be made part of the official record.
  • Huntley questioned why council had not received library board minutes for a few months. Library Board President Leslie Kerr updated council on past happenings at the library.
  • Thiel noted that at the August 3, 2020, city council meeting a motion was made and passed to have a second independent audit completed for 2019. Whisler noted that no action has been taken on this motion.  Motion by Whisler to rescind this motion as made on August 3, 2020.  Second by Shipman.  Motion carried 5-0.

State Highway 56 Project:

  • Council reviewed the communication received from Chad Hanson pertaining to the revisions made by MnDOT to the East Y. The turning radius of this intersection has been widened; the short-cut through will still be closed; and the sidewalk being proposed for the south side of Main Street in this area has been removed.

CARES Act Funds:

  • White presented information on CARES Act funding that can be acquired to be used exclusively for the election process. Motion by Huntley, second by Whisler to accept these election funds in the amount of $629.87.  Motion carried 5-0.
  • Council reviewed the UV Install Bid from Pickar-Oulman Plumbing, Heating, & Electric. Their proposal for six units in various city buildings was $765 per unit; this includes the unit and installation costs.
  • Council reviewed information for room foggers and Purerox Disinfectant Kit in the amount of $379 each. This amount includes the fogger and four gallons of the Purerox disinfectant.
  • Thiel reported that Chromebooks could be acquired for each council member and the city clerk to be used to conduct virtual city council meetings. The cost for one Chromebook would be in the range of $300 to $500.  A large screen television could also be acquired for meetings.
  • Huntley questioned about hotspots for the Community Center. It was noted someone could check with the school to see if they have any idea how many students do not have adequate internet access for distance learning.
  • Isaiah Opseth from the LeRoy Fire Department presented some needs for the fire department. The department currently has ten air packs with 14 or 15 masks.  They could use an additional five masks at a cost of $500 per mask.  They would also like some additional sets of turn-out gear; the gear cannot be washed in a regular washing machine.  To be done properly the gear should be washed in an extractor.  The department is looking into a grant to purchase one of these.  Five additional sets of turn-out gear would cost approximately $16,000.  A lighter set of turn-out gear could be used at vehicle accidents; these would cost approximately $18,500.
  • Motion by Huntley to allow up to $15,000 to the LeRoy Fire Department for additional masks and turn-out gear. Second by Whisler.  Motion carried 5-0.
  • Motion by Whisler, second by Huntley to proceed with the UV Install Bid from Pickar-Oulman Plumbing, Heating, & Electric and to purchase ten (10) of the room foggers and Purerox Disinfectant. Motion carried 5-0.  Council had already appropriated up to $10,000 for council automation; Thiel will continue to investigate options for this.

2021 Budget & Preliminary Levy:

  • Library-Position Title Change with Budget Impact:
  • Leslie Kerr, president of the LeRoy Library Board, updated council on the proposed library budget. Gerald Payne and Kerr met with Mayor Thiel and reviewed pay equity classifications.  Payne and Kerr questioned why Librarian Rhonda Barnes has been classified as a library tech and not classified as a librarian on the pay equity report.  White assured those present that Librarian Barnes and a previous librarian prior to that have always been listed with the job title of librarian on the city’s pay equity report.
  • Kerr reviewed the pay rates of area librarians. She noted LeRoy’s librarian is paid less than other area librarians.  She also noted that Barnes is a 15-year employee of the city.  She also reviewed the usage rates of the LeRoy Public Library.
  • Kerr requested the council to raise the total budget of the library by $12,000 for 2021. This increase would be used for increases in payroll.
  • Huntley questioned how it works with Barnes working at both the school library and at the city public library with the city covering the full expenses for SELCO meetings and mileage. Huntley commented she is just trying to understand all of this.
  • Payne noted the library board has tried to find ways in the preliminary 2021 library budget to cover this request in dollars for payroll. He stated there is no place to cut in the preliminary 2021 library budget to factor in this requested increase in funds.
  • Huntley replied that every city employee for LeRoy is underpaid when compared to pay rates with area cities. Thiel noted that if the librarian’s rate of pay is increased, this will also need to be factored in how is fits with pay equity.
  • Huntley commented this request is coming after the preliminary levy has been set. She also noted she is not opposed to raises, but she wants to keep raises equal for all employees.
  • Payne noted LeRoy is the largest public library in Mower County; the LeRoy library is just under the Austin Public Library when counting book out/books in and the number of patrons.
  • Huntley noted that the LeRoy Public Library is a great library; she would like to increase wages but this needs to be fair for all. Thiel noted the council should set the scale for all employees.  He noted the Library Board would like Barnes moved to a salary at 75% FTE.
  • Council will take this under advisement as they continue to work on all pay scales. The preliminary levy is set at $500,000; this figure can only decrease.  It cannot increase at this point in time.  Thiel noted that council may want to allow this increase for the library, but something else will need to be adjusted.

Halloween-Trick or Treat Hours:

  • Council discussed trick-or-treating as it may be affected by COVID-19. It was the consensus of the council to allow trick or treating on Saturday, October 31, 2020, from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM.  Those wishing to have trick-or-treaters should remember to turn their porch lights on.

Land Use Permits:

  • Council reviewed two land-use permits:
  1. Lots 6, 7, 8, 9 & N 25’ St Adj on SW, Block 17, Original Village, 226 E Main, Casey O’Byrne-build 30’ x 40’ steel shed
  2. Lot 14 & W ½ Lot 15, Block 4, Original Village, 218 W Main, Cher Cooper-install fence
  • Motion by Huntley, second by Whisler to approve these two permits. Motion carried 5-0.

Communications File:

  • Thiel presented information on being named a Telecommuter Friendly City. He proposed filing the application for this.  Motion by Huntley, second by Whisler to pass Resolution 2020-10, a resolution in support of telecommuting opportunities and telecommuter forward certification.  Motion carried 5-0.

Street Project for 2021:

  • No information has been received from Heartland Asphalt on this.

Completion of Shoulder on East County Road in 2020:

  • Thiel reported MnDOT is using milled product from the Hwy 56 project for the highway shoulders from Taopi to in front of Bauer Built. Jones didn’t think the residents along East County Road would appreciate this type of material to finish the shoulder on the east side of East County Road.
  • Sweeney reported he had worked on the sanding unit of the dump truck to spread dirt along this edge. Both Jones and Sweeney expressed concern that this work may get peeled back when snowplowing occurs.  Whisler commented the dirt should be kept lower than the street surface.  Huntley expressed concern that the edge of the street may break away if the shoulder is not completed.  Sweeney will get this project done as the weather allows.

Estimated Repairs and Costs During Remaining 2020:

  • Jones reported he is still waiting for the new parts to get installed at the well house. Huntley questioned if anyone else can get this completed.  Jones noted this system was built by the guy who is supposed to repair it.

Estimated Projects Possible in 2021:

  • Jones reported he would like to replace a couple of the fire hydrants; these cost approximately $10,000 each including installation.

COVID-19 Waiver Policy-LeRoy Community Center:

  • White presented a proposed COVID-19 waiver policy for the Community Center. This policy would be signed by the person renting the Community Center for an event.  Motion by Shipman, second by Fox to approve this policy.  Motion carried 5-0.

North Baumbach Park-Tennis/Basketball Court Fence & Paint:

  • Jones reported he had talked to a representative with Rolling Green Fencing. Jones noted the representative came on Saturday when Jones was not available.
  • Whisler had also contacted Rolling Green and when they came out later he and Thiel met them at the park. Rolling Green measured the courts and said the wire needs to be replaced. He proposed keeping a 10’ fence on the ends of the basketball area, but reducing to all 6’ fencing on the rest of the area. Doing it that way most of the posts can be reused, either in place, or by cutting down no longer needed 10’ posts to 6’ posts. A ‘tension wire’ at the bottom of the wire would be included to help keep the wire close to the grass. Their quote was $8000 for new wire and a certain number of replacement posts and the installation of it all next spring. To prepare for installation, city workers would remove the old wire and cut off or pull out designated 10’ posts which Rolling Green would reinstall as 6’ posts.
  • Council took no further action on this quote.

Personnel Review and Planning:

  • Council moved to closed session at 8:33 PM to discuss personnel reviews.
  • Council moved to open session at 9:41 PM.

Being no further business to come before the council, the meeting was adjourned on a motion by Huntley, second by Whisler at 9:42 PM.

– Brian Thiel, Mayor

– Patty A. White, City Clerk-Treasurer