1. The regularly scheduled meeting of the Tyler City Council was called to order at 7:00 p.m., on November 5, 2007 at the Tyler Fire Hall. Mayor Harper and Council Members Denney, Hunt, Manson, and Williamson present. Staff Present: Luger, Lutterman, Nafziger, and Petersen. Guest Present: Kullen Stanek from the Beck Agency.
2. The agenda, October 1, 2007, and October 18, 2007 minutes were unanimously approved by the Council.
3. No items were presented under public express.
4. Kullen Stanek from the Beck Agency presented the City of Tyler’s proposed insurance coverage, limit, and premium for 2007/2008. Stanek explained that the overall premium is increasing by 9.3% due to the City adding one vehicle and the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust experiencing a catastrophic UIM claim.
Stanek reminded the Council that they will need to determine the City’s position regarding the waiver of the statutory liability limits. In the past, the Council has waived the protection because they believed that if a citizen were injured, the City would want the individual to be fully compensated and not limited by the statutory liability limits. Manson motioned to waive the statutory liability limits. Seconded by Williamson and approved unanimously. Motion by Hunt to approve the renewal of the City’s insurance as presented. Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.
5. Luger explained that the code enforcement hearing is intended to give residents an opportunity to dispute the City’s nuisance judgment. During this time the Council also decides the appropriate action for the remaining non-compliant property owners. Petersen recommended the Council issue an order which grants property owners an additional fourteen days to be incompliance with the City Code. Once this deadline has past, the City would apply for a court order which would grant them authorization to clean up the property. Motion by Hunt to issue an order to all seven non-compliant property owners to have their property cleaned up within fourteen days of the order. If the property is not incompliance by the deadline, the Council authorizes the City Attorney and the City Administrator to go to court. Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.
6. Luger informed the Council that if they are interested in pursuing the natural gas prepayment option, the City needs to join the Minnesota Municipal Gas Agency (MMGA) and agree to their contract and bylaws. Hunt questioned if there are any risks associated with the City joining the MMGA; Luger responded that in the worst case scenario the City reverts to their current gas purchasing practice.
Luger expressed concern regarding the validity of the City saving money by joining the MMGA. The MMGA gives participants a discount based on the price of gas on a particular date whereas New Ulm charges the City a price based on a monthly average. Luger believes the discount may be ineffective if the price of gas is high on that particular date. She informed the Council that she is in the process of researching her concerns.
Harper asked if the City could pull out of the contract once they join the MMGA. Petersen speculated that until the City locks in their natural gas prepayment percentage, the City could withdraw their participation. Manson motioned to join the MMGA and agree to their contract and bylaws. Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.
7. Luger mentioned that the Kronborg and Night Owls have requested their liquor licenses be renewed for 2008; the Council has the option to approve, deny, or add stipulations to the licenses if warranted. Luger asked Nafziger to provide any comments on the Kronborg or Night Owls. Nafziger stated that Night Owls continuously violates the City Code and has been issued three or four citations.
Harper believed the City should impose some stipulations on the Night Owls liquor license, which Manson agreed. Petersen suggested the City include a letter with the Night Owls’ liquor license stating that their license may be revoked if they violate the City Code. Denney motioned to renew the liquor licenses for the Kronborg and Night Owls for 2008 and to send a letter to Night Owls informing them that their license may be revoked. Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.
8. Nafziger gave the monthly police report where he stated that the police department received 51 calls for service last month. Some of those calls included: a disturbance call, noise complaint, fraud report, identify theft, vandalism, and a report of a child experiencing a bag of nails as a Trick-or-Treat item.
Manson asked if the woman at Stony Point has left, which Nafziger responded yes.
9. Luger stated that the fire department has requested authorization from the Council to purchase a truck from Pipestone Rural Water for a total cost of $12,600. Motion by Manson to approve the fire department’s purchase request. Seconded by Hunt and approved unanimously.
Luger presented the ideal fire department capital replacement schedule to the Council. All of the trucks with the exception of the Class A Pumper are on a twenty-five year replacement schedule. According to this schedule, the fire department needs $84,000 budgeted in 2008 for trucks and $8,000 for equipment. Luger stressed that this schedule is ideal and does not take into account grant funding. She added that the fire department is aware that these figures are not financially viable for the City and is willing to work out a compromise.
Luger asked the Council for direction regarding the fire department’s capital outlay budget. Manson commented that the fire department may receive extra funding through the operation of pull tabs. Harper asked the Council if the additional money from the levy increase should be allocated to the fire department’s capital outlay budget. Manson suggested that a portion of this funding be allocated to their budget, but not the full ten percent; the remaining council members agreed.
10. Luger briefly informed the Council that the County GIS Coordinator has resigned and that the County will be meeting with all of the cities to discuss the GIS contracts.
Luger stated that fire department is interested in operating pull tabs to collect additional revenue for the fire department and relief association. In order to proceed, the fire department needs the Council to pass a resolution which grants them authorization to operate pull tabs. Manson asked if the City will continue to receive funding from Shaokatan Charity; which Luger responded no, the revenue from pull tabs will be given to the fire department instead of Shaokatan Charity. Manson questioned how the funds will be spent and who will be in control. Denney believed these questions should be answered before the Council grants the fire department authorization to operate pull tabs. The Council agreed to table discussion until a representative from the fire department can be present.
11. Petersen explained that the individuals who purchased the property adjacent to Stony Point had their property surveyed and discovered that the west eight feet of the cabin is not located on the City’s property. The property owners are unable to sell the eight feet to the City due to multiple reasons, but are willing to grant the City an easement to demolish the cabin.
Petersen apologized for any trouble he may have caused by assuming that the cabin was completely located on City property. Harper believed that Petersen’s actions did not cause the City any trouble since the City is still able to square off the Stony Point property and demolish the cabin. Hunt agreed and jokingly suggested the City demolish the cabin with the exception of the eight feet located on the adjacent property. The Council agreed to obtain an easement to demolish the cabin even though it is not completely located on City property.
12. Petersen gave the monthly city attorney and TRED report where he mentioned that TRED had three properties surveyed by Moseng, which should be completed soon. Luger added that the last lot in the Brouwer Addition is close to being sold.
13. Luger explained that the consultant originally recommended the City raise residential rates by 6.2%, raise small commercial rates by 29.3%, and reduce large commercial rates by 9%. The consultant now recommends the City raise residential by 9.3%, raise small commercial rates by 16.8%, and no reduction in large commercial. Luger stressed that these rate adjustments are only recommendations and the Council can make adjustments based on what they believe is in the best interest of the City.
Hunt believed the consultant’s recommendations would be difficult to explain to residents and business owners. The other council members agreed that the consultant’s recommends are good in theory, but not in practice.
Lutterman believed the City should add a demand charge on large commercial users and adjust electric rates to meet budget needs. Manson asked how much the City would need to increase their electric rates to keep pace with Heartland and Western Area Power Administration’s increases. Lutterman was unsure of the exact figure, but agreed to have a rate recommendation available at the next Council meeting.
14. Luger stated that the Minnesota Department of Transportation has requested the City Council pass a resolution authorizing the execution of the maintenance and operation agreement. Motion by Manson to pass the airport resolution. Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.
15. Luger mentioned that First Independent Bank needs a resolution which grants her authority to sign the City’s Certificates of Deposits. Motion by Denney to pass Resolution #2007-07. Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.
16. Luger stated that $575 was donated to the City by Shaokatan Charity. Motion by Harper to designate the Shaokatan Charity donation to the parks and recreation fund. Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.
17. Luger explained that because there are more than two year’s remaining on Hunt’s term, a special election will need to be held next November with the regular election. The Council needs to fill the vacancy by either appointing an individual or having interested persons apply for the position. Denney believed the Council should accept applications to see who is interested, which the other council members agreed.
Manson motioned with regret to approve Resolution #2007-11, which accepts Chuck Hunt’s resignation from the Tyler City Council. Seconded by Denney and carried with Harper voting against and Hunt abstaining.
Luger asked the Council how Hunt’s position on various committees should be filled. Denney motioned to appoint Manson to the personnel committee for the remainder of the year. Seconded by Harper and approved unanimously. Harper appointed Denney as the deputy mayor and left a vacancy for the position of airport commissioner.
18. Lutterman gave the monthly utility report where he stated that he has an offer of $800 for the old sander truck. Motion by Manson to sell the old sander truck to the Wagner Sod Company for $800. Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously. Lutterman also reported that he has had difficulty finding woodchips for the playground equipment and asked the Council if they know of any places that sell woodchips for this purpose.
Luger reported that the community center task force will be having a community meeting in the basement of the Kronborg on November 20 at 7:00 p.m.
19. Motion by Manson to approve the bills. Seconded by Hunt and approved unanimously.
20. There being no further business before the Council, Mayor Harper adjourned the meeting at 9:45 p.m.