City of Tyler, Minnesota

Minnesota's Danish Heartland

August 6, 2007

1.      The regularly scheduled meeting of the Tyler City Council was called to order at 7:00 p.m., on August 6, 2007 at the Tyler Fire Hall.  Mayor Harper and Council Members Denney, Hunt, Manson, and Williamson present.  Staff Present: Luger, Lutterman, Petersen, and Spindler.


2.      Motion by Denney to approve the agenda.  Seconded by Williamson and approved unanimously. 


Hunt believed that the August 2, 2007 minutes should specify that a temporary beer license was issued to the Tyler Legion for the fair.  Luger agreed to modify the minutes.


Denney questioned how the fire department was able to sell beer in the grandstand during the demolition derby when the Tyler Legion was not permitted to do so.  Hunt stated that the fire department incorporated the grandstand as part of their beer garden.  Denney asked if the Legion could also expand their beer garden, which the Council believed would be possible with permission from the Fair Board.


Manson motioned to approve the July 2, 2007 and August 2, 2007 minutes.  Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.  


3.      No items were presented under public express.


4.      Spindler gave the monthly police report where he stated that the police department received 64 calls for service last month.  Some of those calls included: two vehicle theft reports, a DWI arrest, and a report of underage drinking at the softball fields.  Spindler publicly thanked Wayde Thooft and Kirby Slegers for the use of their ATVs during Aebleskiver Days.  Harper commented that he has heard a lot of engine breaking on Highway 14 and asked the police department to increase their enforcement on this ordinance. 


5.      Luger reminded the Council that at the last meeting the Council tabled discussion regarding the discrepancy that occurs between departments when Paid Time Off (PTO) is converted from days into hours.  Luger requested the Council also determine whether Carla Skjong is a part-time or full-time employee and review the part-time employees PTO accumulation when the time is prorated.


Luger suggested the Council discuss the simplest issue first, which is determining whether Skjong is a part-time or full-time employee.  Luger stated that Skjong has always been considered a part-time employee, but she works close to 80 hours a week.  Since she works full-time hours, Luger asked the Council whether she should be officially designated as a full-time employee which would alter her PTO amount.

Harper suggested the issue be seriously examined by the personnel committee.  Hunt agreed that the personnel committee should thoroughly review this issue since he believed Skjong was originally hired as a part-time employee.  Manson asked if the library hours have increased since she was hired, which may explain the additional hours.  Luger was unsure of the library hours at the time Skjong was hired, but stated that her hours typically increase in the summer due to the summer reading program and opening earlier for summer rec.  Denney asked if Laura Welch’s hours have decreased as a result of Skjong working more, which Luger responded that Welch’s hours have remained consistent.  The Council agreed to refer the issue to the personnel committee.


The next issue the Council addressed is the accrual of PTO for part-time employees.  Luger explained that at the last meeting the Council was interested in prorating PTO; however, she wanted the Council to be aware that when PTO is prorated for Cindy Koenig she earns an additional nine days for the year.  Harper stated that he liked the idea of prorating PTO, but finds it difficult to grant fifteen days to a part-time employee.  Manson inquired if part-time employees typically receive paid time off, which Luger responded occasionally.  Luger stated that it is difficult to recruit quality part-time employees and believed reliable employees deserve some benefits.  Motion by Harper to grant part-time employees PTO based on the calculation chart in the current personnel policy.  Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.


The Council then addressed the discrepancy that occurs between departments when PTO is converted from days into hours.  Harper suggested either phasing in the police department to the revised PTO calculation chart or to grandfather them in.  Petersen recommended the Council not grandfather in current employees because the proposal may be illegal and difficult to manage.


Luger mentioned that the chart depicted in the Council packet was created by granting the police department 240 hours in 2006 and subtracting 24 hours every year; in 2009 the police department will be in compliance.  Luger explained that the Council could either utilize this chart or modify it to fit their needs.


After much discussion, Harper stated that if the Council can agree that each employee should accrue PTO at the same rate then the PTO accrual needs to be on a per hour basis.  Harper asked how Luger arrived at the per hour accrual rate of .05769, which Luger then handed Harper a copy of the calculations. 


After Harper analyzed the calculations he concluded that accruing PTO on a per hour basis was the fairest method amongst departments.  He recommended phasing in the police department by granting them 240 hours in 2007 and subtracting 24 hours every year until 2010.  Manson motioned to adopt the revised PTO calculation chart, but to phase in the police department by granting them 240 hours in 2007, 216 hours in 2008, 192 hours in 2009, and 168 hours in 2010.  Seconded by Hunt and approved unanimously.


6.      Harper explained to the Council that the City has the right to establish an escrow/trust account for the receipt of fire or explosion loss proceeds.  By adopting this resolution, 25% of the insurance proceeds will be held from the insured until the unsafe structure is demolished or the debris has been removed.  Manson asked if the insurer pays the 25% to the City’s escrow/trust account, which Petersen replied is correct.  Harper questioned how the insurer will know that the City is entitled to some of the loss proceeds.  Luger responded that the resolution is submitted to the Minnesota Commissioner of Commerce.  Motion by Hunt to adopt ‘a resolution to establish an escrow and/or trust account for the receipt of fire or explosion loss proceeds’.  Seconded by Williamson and approved unanimously. 


7.      Luger gave the monthly TRED report where she mentioned that Scott and Ann Sorensen from Hawaii are strongly interested in restoring the former Chat-N-Chew Building to its original use of a restaurant.  TRED agreed to hold the property for the Sorensens until November 1st to give them time to conduct a feasibility study.  After November 1st the Sorensens will decide if they are interested in purchasing the building.  Denney asked if they have requested financing from TRED, which Luger responded not at this time.


Petersen stated that a couple months ago the Council offered Nicky Thompson $5,000 for his property adjacent to Stony Point Park.  Thompson has accepted the City’s offer and will sell the property contingent on the closing of two other contracts.  Petersen explained that two other parties are interested in purchasing the remaining parcels, but Thompson will not sell until all three contracts have closed.  Manson motioned to purchase the Nicky Thompson property for $5,000.  Seconded by Williamson and approved unanimously.


      Petersen also informed the Council that the County Board is interested in purchasing Joel Webber’s property for $205,000.  This property is adjacent to Norwegian Creek and is approximately 13 acres, which will provide space for 50-90 additional campsites.  Petersen asked the Council if they were interested in selling Stony Point since the County Board seems interested in purchasing park land.  After much discussion, the Council granted authorization for Petersen to inform the County Board that the City is possibly interested in selling Stony Point. 


8.      Luger stated that on July 25th and 26th all of the properties in Tyler were inspected using the property inspection checklist.  Over 50 residential and commercial properties will be sent a letter informing them of the nuisance ordinance.  Luger asked the Council how salvage yards should be addressed since according to the City Code salvage yards must completely screen their operations or apply for a special use permit before March 6, 2008.  If the Council decided to enforce this ordinance, Petersen recommended a letter be sent to all salvage yards detailing the actions necessary to be in compliance.  The Council agreed to send a letter to the salvage yards informing them of this ordinance, but to extend the compliance deadline by two years from the date the letter is sent.

Luger also asked the Council how code violations on business properties should be addressed.  Luger stated that this question is particularly difficult since some items that are declared a nuisance may be necessary to the operation of the business.  Where do you draw the line between public nuisance and business necessity?  Harper asked if the majority of the code violators are residential or commercial properties, which Luger responded residential.  Petersen recommended sending letters to the business owners informing them of the nuisance ordinance.  The Council agreed that an informational letter should be sent to the business owners to maintain consistency. 


9.      Luger explained that Rehab Loan Client #23 has completely paid off their loan, which needs to be officially acknowledged by the Council.  Motion by Hunt to recognize that Rehab Loan Client #23 has satisfied their rehab loan.  Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously. 


10.  Luger stated that $877 was donated to the City by Shaokatan Charity.  Motion by Hunt to designate the Shaokatan Charity donation to the waterslide fund.  Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.


11.  Harper reported that last month the personnel committee recommended the Council offer the position of Utility Superintendent to Scott Plakke.  Plakke had originally accepted the City’s offer, but then declined it when he was offered an opportunity to work in the wind power industry.  A couple weeks later Plakke asked the City if the position was still open since the wind power industry was not what he had anticipated.  Harper stated that the personnel committee had some reservations with offering the position to Plakke again, but ultimately decided that he is the strongest candidate.  Motion by Harper to continue with the personnel committee’s recommendation of hiring Scott Plakke.  Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.


12.  Lutterman gave the monthly utility report where he mentioned that last month the utility department handled a burned out transformer, a tree that had fallen on a power line, and installed two water services to Gary Punt’s development.  Lutterman asked for the Council’s permission to utilize a City truck for the purpose of hauling aluminum cans to Marshall for the New Orleans’ mission trip.  The Council granted authorization to Lutterman.  


Luger stated that the next council meeting is scheduled on a holiday.  When this situation occurs, the Council typically reschedules the meeting to the following Monday.  The Council agreed to reschedule their meeting to Monday, September 10th.


Luger also reported that she attended a Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association meeting regarding the new legislative requirements that will affect utilities.  Eventually the State will require utilities to not only spend money on energy savings programs, but to prove that those programs are saving energy.  Luger stated that this information is preliminary and that she will continue to keep the Council informed.


Hunt asked Luger if the City has received their Local Government Aid (LGA) amounts for 2008, which she responded yes.  Luger stated that she knows the amount has increased, but is unsure by how much.  She mentioned that Tyler is extremely fortunate since many cities are experiences a decrease in LGA for 2008.


13.  Harper reported that he has an unconventional method for dealing with one of the nuisance properties; if the idea is feasible he will report more on a later date.


14.  Motion by Denney to approve the bills.  Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.


15.  There being no further business before the Council, Mayor Harper adjourned the meeting at 9:15 p.m.

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