TYLER CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
March 3, 2008
1. The regularly scheduled meeting of the Tyler City Council was called to order at 7:00 p.m., on March 3, 2008 at the Tyler Fire Hall. Mayor Harper and Council Members Denney, Mundt, and Williamson present. Staff Present: Beck, Luger, Petersen, and Spindler. Guest Present: Lee Amundson, Diane Borresen, Joyce Dass, and Earl Petersen from the Community Center Task Force.
2. The agenda and the February 4, 2008 minutes with one amendment were unanimously approved by the Council.
3. No items were presented under public express.
4. Joyce Dass from the community center task force presented the preliminary plans and the cost estimate of $400,000 to the Council. The largest improvements include an addition which would increase the seating capacity to 390 people and raising the driveway to make it level with the building. Harper asked if a small meeting room is included in the preliminary plans, which Dass responded yes. Dass added that there also plans to purchase a curtain to divide the large room into smaller meeting areas.
The task force asked the council if they are comfortable with spending up to $20,000 for an architect now that they have a preliminary cost estimate. Harper believed that the next logical step would be to hire an architect and asked the Council how they wanted to proceed. Denney agreed and motioned to make money available for the task force to hire an architect. Seconded by Mundt and approved unanimously.
5. Luger informed the Council that OSHA requires lung testing as part of their Respiratory Protection Program. Since the purpose of the lung test is to determine whether or not the firefighter is medically able to wear a respirator, the City may want to consider having all fire department members tested. Luger added that many cities require a health examination and lung test before an individual can become a firefighter.
Denney believed that everyone should be tested, but questioned what happens to firefighters who are physically unable to wear a respirator. Spindler commented that some positions such as pump operators and safety officers generally do not wear respirators because they are not in close proximity to the fire.
Harper believed that OSHA’s regulations are clear and that the City should provide a medical evaluation for all firefighters. Mundt suggested granting the Fire Chief discretion to decide which members should be tested since some positions do not require a respirator. Harper motioned to pay for lung testing on all fire department members that are required to wear a respirator at the discretion of the Fire Chief. Seconded by Mundt and approved unanimously.
6. Spindler gave the monthly police report where he stated that the police department received 32 calls for service last month. Some of those calls included: discharge of a firearm within city limits which led to injuries, a driving complaint around the high school, verbal domestic assault, underage drink and drive, and a family disturbance.
Mundt noticed that the police report had two cases of people driving with a cancelled or an invalid license. Spindler stated these particular cases were cancelled out-of-state licenses.
7. Luger stated that under the City’s current personnel policy, any employee who leaves the City in good standing is entitled to their full Paid Time Off regardless of their separation date. This policy has the City spending money unwisely.
The proposed revision would allow employees to continue using all of their PTO immediately, but if they leave before their anniversary date the employee would only be able to utilize the PTO they have earned. If an employee has used more PTO hours than they have accrued on the date of their separation, the additional hours would be deducted from their last paycheck. Denney motioned to approve the revision to the personnel policy. Seconded by Williamson and approved unanimously.
8. Petersen gave the monthly TRED report where he mentioned that TRED is in the process of studying future housing development options in Tyler. He also stated that TRED has been debating whether or not the old Chat-N-Chew building should be demolished. Many people who have been interested in the site have concluded that it is too expensive to remodel, but would consider erecting a new building on the lot.
9. Luger informed the Council that TRED is requesting the City grant them authorization to utilize rehab fund dollars to finance a housing study for the hospital property. Luger mentioned that TRED had also considered studying the land behind Brouwer’s Bicentennial Second Addition, but decided not to since TRED does not own the land and the need for housing lots is immediate.
Harper believed that the Hess property should also be studied since it is more suitable for single family housing. Luger agreed, but stated that the Hess property could not be developed quickly since it has drainage problems and is not located within City limits. The hospital property however, could be developed as soon as the land is transferred to TRED. Petersen added that the Hess property would be interesting to study, but TRED did not feel comfortable spending an additional $10,000 to study property that they do not own.
Harper asked if TRED has considered other areas for housing development, which Luger responded yes. TRED considered the Jensen property on Willow Street, but decided that it was not the most suitable location since it needs a lift station and is close to the railroad tracks. All of the land that is desirable for development is either not for sale or too expensive for TRED to develop into reasonably priced lots.
Harper still believed that the hospital property was not the most suitable property for housing development, but understands the need for lots. Harper motioned to grant TRED $5,500 from the rehab fund to finance a housing study. Seconded by Williamson and approved unanimously.
10. Luger explained that East River has requested a contract extension with the City of Tyler until 2018. The rate would not increase from 2008-2012, but in the years 2012 and 2017 a rate study would be performed to determine if a rate adjustment is necessary. The rate adjustment would occur in the years 2013 and 2018 if it is needed. Mundt motioned to approve the contract extension with East River. Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.
11. Harper thought the Council should consider an immigration resolution or policy that states that the City of Tyler will fully cooperate with immigration customs enforcement if our police department comes in contact with an undocumented individual.
Petersen agreed with the intent of Harper’s proposal, but believed it would be difficult for the police department to enforce since there is no specific identification card that proves someone is an American citizen. Harper strongly believed that some type of resolution or policy should be drafted even if it is merely a symbolic gesture. The Council agreed to table the topic to next month.
12. Beck gave the monthly utility report where he mentioned that the utility department has been busy building new picnic tables, ordering new signs for the campground, removing trees from the old Stony Point cabin property, and repairing a water line.
13. Luger presented the minutes from 2000 pertaining to Tyler Healthcare Center and the clinic project balance. Luger stated that the minutes do not provide much clarity for what had occurred during that time. The Council agreed to table the issue until the auditor has had an opportunity to review all of the documents.
14. No Mayor Report.
15. Motion by Denney to approve the bills. Seconded by Mundt and approved unanimously.
16. There being no further business before the Council, Mayor Harper adjourned the meeting at 8:50 p.m.