City of Tyler, Minnesota

Minnesota's Danish Heartland

October 1, 2007

1.      The regularly scheduled meeting of the Tyler City Council was called to order at 7:00 p.m., on October 1, 2007 at the Tyler Fire Hall.  Mayor Harper and Council Members Denney, Hunt, Manson, and Williamson present.  Staff Present: Luger, Lutterman, Petersen, and Spindler.  Guests Present: Gary Gleisner and Charlie Schmitz from New Ulm Public Utilities.


2.      The agenda was unanimously approved by the Council.  Motion by Williamson to approve the September 10, 2007 minutes.  Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.


3.      No items were presented under public express.


4.      Luger presented Don Sandberg’s twelve foot rear yard variance request to construct a public storage building.  She informed the Council that two residents expressed apprehension regarding the variance.  Darin Brink, Site Supervisor at Vestas was present at the meeting to convey Vestas’ opposition to Sandberg’s proposal.


Sandberg stated that he intends on constructing a total of twenty public storage units and installing security cameras to make the area safer.  He stressed that he will not proceed with the proposal without the support of Vestas.


Harper asked Lutterman if the proposal will impede on any utilities, which Lutterman responded no.  Hunt commented that he would like to hear feedback from REM since this variance would greatly affect them, which Manson agreed.  Sandberg stated that he attempted to contact REM with no success.  Harper remarked that it unfortunate that REM did not comment on the proposal, but that is their decision. 


Denney preferred to have the request tabled until the next Council meeting to give council members more time to study the issue.  Hunt believed the issues between Vestas and Sandberg should be resolved prior to the Council making a decision.  Harper agreed and added that Vestas is a valuable business and their concerns should be considered.   Harper motioned to table the issue until the November 5, 2007 meeting.  Seconded by Hunt and approved unanimously.


5.      Gary Gleisner and Charlie Schmitz from New Ulm Public Utilities presented to the Council an overview of the natural gas prepayment option.  Gleisner explained that municipal gas utilities in Minnesota have the option to prepay a portion of their gas over a twenty year period.  The Midwest Consortium of Municipal Utilities (MCMU) issues tax-exempt bonds through Morgan Stanley to finance the gas purchase.  The bond is paid through the proceeds of the gas purchases.   


Harper inquired how much the bond is worth, which Gleisner replied half a billion dollars.  Hunt asked if the City of Tyler passes the bond.  Gleisner stated that Tyler incurs no debt through this program, MCMU passes the bond and Tyler enters into a gas purchase contract.  Hunt questioned who is responsible for the bond payments if the contract is broken, which Gleisner responded Morgan Stanley.


Luger questioned the risks regarding the prepayment option.  Gleisner believed the prepayment option has minimal risks since the City only purchases the amount of gas defined in their contract.  If the City is unable to use all of their contracted gas, the City is able to remarket it.  In the worst case scenario, the City returns to their current gas purchasing practice.


Petersen questioned if the Council needed to make any formal commitments at this time, which Gleisner responded no.  Gleisner stated that if the City of Tyler is interested in pursuing this option, a formal process needs to be followed.  The process involves publishing and mailing meeting notices to all customers and adopting a resolution which requires a 30 day response period.


Hunt motioned to pursue the natural gas prepay option.  Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.


6.      Spindler gave the monthly police report where he stated that the police department received 42 calls for service last month.  Some of those calls included: criminal sexual conduct, a fireworks complaint, multiple burglary reports, verbal dispute, and a child abuse report.


Spindler added that increasingly the police department has been assisting the hospital with finding their patients.  He believes this practice may be a potential liability issue if one of the patients is injured while being brought back to the hospital.  Petersen believed the hospital should find their own patients and not involve the police department.  Denney suggested the police department only assist with finding patients if hospital personnel are present; the hospital is responsible for the patient once they are found.


Denney expressed concern about the woman who resides in a motor home at Stony Point.  He has heard that the motor home is inoperable and believes she has no water or electricity.  Petersen recommended the City notify her that the park is closing for the season and that she needs to vacate the premises.  Manson motioned to close Stony Point from November 1 to April 1.  Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.


7.      Petersen gave the monthly city attorney and TRED report where he mentioned that he is in the process of revising the salvage yard ordinance and that TRED has officially closed on the former Fancy Free Bath and Body building.


8.      Luger stated that the Community Center Task Force recently toured the Westbrook Community Center and was extremely impressed with their overall layout.  The Task Force has requested the Council’s feedback regarding whether or not to include a City library in the final design.  Luger added that she spoke to the director of Plum Creek Library Services and the architect for the Westbrook Community Center; based on their feedback a new library would cost approximately $300,000.  Luger recommended the City pursue other expansion options such as remodeling the current facility or combining with the school library.


Denney asked if grant funding is available for community centers, which Luger responded limited funding; most donors prefer to fund community centers with libraries or museums.  Harper speculated that the City would not be able to cover the additional cost of adding a library through grant funds.  Hunt believed it is impractical for the City to spend $300,000 for a new library, which the remaining council members agreed.


9.      Luger informed the Council that the intent of the public purpose expenditure policy is to determine the appropriate expenditures of public funds.  Hunt asked if the City gives all employees $30 in Tyler Area Community Club dollars, which Luger responded yes.  Motion by Denney to adopt the public purpose expenditure policy.  Seconded by Williamson and approved unanimously.


10.  Luger stated that the downtown tree committee recommends the Council allow businesses to take down their trees with permission from the City Administrator and Utility Superintendent.  The business can either hire a private tree remover or the City at the rate of $100 per tree.  Once the tree is removed, the City will have the stump grinded and the bricks replaced.  Motion by Manson to approve the downtown tree plan as presented.  Seconded by Williamson and approved unanimously.


11.  Luger informed the Council that the compressor in the water cooler at City Hall needs to be replaced.  She stated that according to an estimate provided by Rich Borresen, it is $100 more to purchase a new water cooler instead of replacing the compressor.  Motion by Harper to obtain a price quote from Rich Borresen for a water cooler without installation and authorize Kristi Luger to purchase the least expensive water cooler.  Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.


12.  Luger presented the one bid for the street sander from Doug Hess for $256.  Lutterman recommend the Council reject the bid and re-advertise.  Motion by Hunt to reject the bid.  Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.


13.  Lutterman gave the monthly utility report where he requested the Council consider paving the portion of Willow Street that was destroyed for the parking lot project before winter.  He believes the street will be a disaster by spring if left unpaved.  After some discussion, the Council agreed to solicit bids from contractors to pave the impacted part of Willow Street. 

Luger reported that the computer for the public access channel has crashed again and that she would like authorization from the Council to purchase a new computer.  Hunt motioned to purchase a new computer from the public access fund.  Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.


14.  No mayor report.


15.  Motion by Williamson to approve the bills with the addition of a bill from Knudsens’ BP Amoco for $670.58.  Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.


16.  There being no further business before the Council, Mayor Harper adjourned the meeting at 9:30 p.m.

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