1. The regularly scheduled meeting of the Tyler City Council was called to order at 7:00 p.m., on December 3, 2007 at the Tyler Fire Hall. Mayor Harper and Council Members Denney, Manson, and Williamson present. Staff Present: Luger, Lutterman, Nafziger, and Petersen. Guest Present: Rich Borresen from the Tyler Fire Department
2. The agenda was unanimously approved by the Council. Motion by Denney to approve the November 5, 2007 minutes with one modification. Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.
3. No items were presented under public express.
4. Manson presented the City’s Emergency Operations Plan to the Council. Harper asked if an emergency operating center has been designated, which Manson responded yes, city hall is the primary location and the fire hall is the secondary location. Manson commented that the fire department and selected city personnel are close to completing the required National Incident Management System (NIMS) training.
Manson stressed that the City is currently not incompliance with FEMA guidelines and is therefore ineligible for FEMA assistance until an emergency management plan is adopted and the required NIMS training is completed. Once the plan is adopted Manson would like to perform a mock drill with the City, Lyon-Lincoln Electric, RTR High School, and Tyler Hospital. Manson motioned to approve the Emergency Operations Plan and to appoint himself as the Emergency Management Director. Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.
5. Nafziger gave the monthly police report where he stated that the police department received 29 calls for service last month. Two of those calls included a report of a light pole sensor being removed and a report of criminal sexual conduct. Harper commended the police department for issuing tickets in a reasonable matter.
6. Harper presented the proposed 2008 salary schedule to the Council with an amendment to Dean Beck’s salary who recently accepted the position of utility superintendent at a starting wage of $18.00 per hour. The personnel committee believes it is in the best interest of the City to promote someone from within as utility superintendent and to recruit a lineperson from the outside. Motion by Williamson to accept the personnel committee’s recommendation to hire Dean Beck as utility superintendent. Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.
Harper explained the logic behind the proposed 2008 salaries and added that the personnel committee strived to make the salaries comparable to similar sized cities in the area. Harper commented that John Spindler has joined a union and may have his salary altered after union negotiations. Harper motioned to accept the 2008 salary schedule as presented. Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.
Manson motioned to accept Scott Plakke’s resignation effective immediately contrary to the personnel policy which requires employees to submit a written resignation at least fourteen calendar days before their last working day. Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.
7. Luger explained that the City has two bonds that are full continuing disclosure bonds which require the City to annually provide information to the bonding agent. In the past the City has utilized Northland Securities and David Drown Associates to complete these reports. Luger stated that she was unable to contact Northland Securities, but the fee for David Drown Associates to complete the report is $1,400. Williamson motioned to grant Luger authorization to hire a firm to complete the continuing disclosure report up to $1,400. Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.
8. Luger reported that the community center task presented the community center proposal at an informational meeting which was not heavily attended. To generate more feedback, surveys were placed in various locations and posted online. Luger presented the results of the survey and stressed that the task force may disband if there is not strong support from the council or the community. Denney believes it is difficult for the council to support the community center proposal when it appears that residents are not interested in the project.
9. Luger asked the Council if they were interested in advertising for bids to remove snow at the airport. To remain qualified for State grant funding the City must keep the airport open year round. Motion by Denney to advertise for bids to remove snow at the airport. Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.
10. Luger reminded the Council of the concerns she had regarding the validity of the City saving money by joining the Minnesota Municipal Gas Agency (MMGA). Luger stated that she spoke to New Ulm Public Utilities who reassured her that because the MMGA is so large they will have some influence over the market and will be able to negotiate a lower price on natural gas.
Luger added that at the last meeting the Council questioned whether the City would have the ability to withdraw their participation from the natural gas prepayment option once they signed the contract. Luger mentioned that the City is able to terminate their contract if their savings is determined to be less than $0.50 per MMBtu. Harper expressed relief regarding the City’s ability to opt out of the contract if necessary. Manson motioned to proceed with the natural gas prepayment option by signing the Gas Supply Contract. Seconded by Harper and approved unanimously.
11. Lutterman presented his recommendations to the Council regarding an electric rate increase. Manson asked if the rate increase would cover the budget and the increases from Western Area Power Administration, which Lutterman responded yes. Motion by Denney to increase the electric rates from 5.7 cents to 6.2 cents. Seconded by Williamson and approved unanimously.
12. Lutterman gave the monthly utility report where he stated that the wastewater department has had an unusual fall with two pumps going out for no apparent reason.
Lutterman also reported that a miscommunication occurred on Browser Night between the Tyler Area Community Club and the City. Lutterman believes it is a safety hazard turning off all the street lights on Browser Night and recommended this practice be discontinued since the City is ultimately liable for any incidents. The Council concurred with Lutterman’s comments and agreed to his recommendations.
Luger reported that the public access channel has a new computer which was donated by Mediacom. She added that a utility notice summary is included in the packet.
13. No Mayor report.
14. Rich Borresen from the Tyler Fire Department requested the Council grant the fire department authorization to operate pull tabs. He explained that the proceeds of the pull tabs sales will be used to purchase equipment and fireworks or donated to various community organizations. Harper asked Borresen if he knew Shaokatan Charity’s total proceeds, which Borresen responded each establishment roughly generated $20,000 per year. Harper motioned to adopt a resolution granting the Tyler Fire Department authorization to operate pull tabs. Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.
15. Motion by Denney to approve the bills. Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.
16. Harper read the supplement regarding the fire department issues which stated, “Recently two members of the fire department were investigated due to allegations that they have stolen fireworks on two separate occasions.”
Petersen added that the incident report was reviewed by the Lyon County Attorney who recommended the City not pursue criminal proceedings since there are no distinguishing markings that could tie the recovered fireworks to the fireworks allegedly stolen from the fire department.
Harper stated that based on the outcome of the investigation the personnel committee recommends the following changes effective immediately: conduct criminal background checks on all new fire department members, perform random drug testing on all permanent full-time employees, remove the beer and alcohol from the fire hall (with the exception of special events such as stag night), and to re-key the fire hall.
The personnel committee also recommends a formal policy be developed that addresses inventorying and marking all City fireworks. Harper motioned to implement the personnel committee’s recommendations and to direct Luger to write a fireworks policy. Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.
17. Harper asked Petersen if the meeting can be closed to review the applications for the city council position. Petersen responded that the meeting cannot be closed for this purpose, but if the Council wanted the applications to be scrutinized the personnel committee could review them and make a recommendation to the Council.
Harper asked the Council how they wanted to handle this situation; Williamson suggested the personnel committee interview the applicants and make a recommendation to the Council. Denney believed that someone should be appointed immediately since all of the candidates would make good council members. Denney motioned to appoint Tom Mundt for one year to the Council. Seconded by Williamson and approved unanimously.
18. Petersen gave the monthly city attorney where he mentioned that the City has been granted an easement to demolish the cabin on the Stony Point property. Petersen gave the monthly TRED report where he requested the Council transfer the former optometric building to TRED. Motion by Denney to transfer the former optometric building to TRED. Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously. Luger added that the last lot in the Brouwer Addition has been sold.
19. There being no further business before the Council, Mayor Harper adjourned the meeting at 9:15 p.m.