City of Tyler, Minnesota

Minnesota's Danish Heartland

May 7, 2007

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


2.      The agenda, the April 2, 2007 minutes, and the April 16, 2007 minutes were unanimously approved by the Council.


3.      Doug Faaborg asked the Council if his driveway is a public service road or a private driveway; Faaborg contends the driveway is private according to a 1996 survey.  If his driveway is considered a private drive, Faaborg wanted to ensure it would not be used while the adjacent parcel was being developed.  Luger ensured Faaborg that the developers’ plan on constructing a road for their own use and have no intentions of utilizing his driveway. 


Faaborg added that when the City installed the sewer line they went through his driveway without his consent.  He requested that all future sewer work be properly packed down to avoid a bump on his driveway.  Lutterman took note of Faaborg’s request, but believed the sewer line was within the City right-of-way.  Lutterman and Luger agreed to research the topic further.


4.      John Spindler informed the Council that the sewer backup he recently experienced is attributed to factors outside of his property.  Spindler asked the Council if the City would assist him financially with some of the expenses.  Harper believed the City was not responsible for the costs since it is a private sewer line.


Spindler thought the City should either pay for some of his expenses or install a sewer line adjacent to his property that he can connect to.  Harper asked how many residents are in similar situations, which Lutterman responded multiple residents.  Harper stated that the City typically extends a sewer line when there is a high potential for future development.  Luger added that the City is not legally able to use public funds for this purpose, which the auditors agreed.  Hunt suggested Spindler request a sewer line extension and have the costs assessed to his property taxes.  Luger agreed to research the City’s obligation with extending sewer service to residents.   


5.      Spindler gave the monthly police report where he stated that the police department received 47 calls for service last month.  Some of those calls included: a report of a harassing phone call, identity theft, a burglary, a two vehicle accident on South Tyler Street, juveniles loitering, and assisting the Sheriff’s Department with an eviction.


Hunt commented that Tholen Auto is upset that they were not given the opportunity to bid on the new police vehicle.  Tholen Auto informed Hunt that they have consistently beat the State bid and would have been able to beat it again.  Hunt believes it is important for the City to support the local businesses and that local businesses should be given the opportunity to bid on future purchases. 


6.      Tami Koopman and Matt Taubert from Meulebroeck and Taubert reviewed the entire audit report for 2006 and commended the City for implementing the previous year’s recommendations.  Koopman informed the Council that most of the Enterprise Funds showed a positive net income with the exception of the Water and Garbage Funds.  She recommended the City continue to take steps to make all of the Enterprise Funds autonomous and to make fund transfers as depicted in the budget.  Motion by Williamson to accept the 2006 City Audit Report as presented.  Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously. 


7.      Manson informed the Council that the Emergency Management Plan is near completion and that an Emergency Management Director needs to be appointed.  He recommended this position not be appointed to the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Fire Chief, Police Chief, or Utility Superintendent due to their position’s responsibilities.


Manson reported that the Fire Department is close to completing the required National Incident Management System (NIMS) training and that the Council also needs to complete certain courses.  Luger recommended the Council complete the courses online and agreed to research their NIMS training requirements.  After some discussion, the Council decided to review the Emergency Management Plan in-depth once it is finalized.


8.      Luger informed the Council that a local business has a utility bill over $7,000, which is rarely paid off.  Since the bill averages $1,500 a month; the business accumulates a large balance within a few months.  Whenever the business receives a disconnect notice they pay approximately $2,000 and work out a payment agreement to pay the remaining balance.  The business will follow the agreement for a few months and then will eventually stop making payments until they receive another disconnect notice.  Because this is an ongoing cycle, Luger requested feedback from the Council and the City Attorney regarding the best way to resolve this issue.


Petersen asked how the disconnect procedure is outlined in the Tyler Utility Policy.  Luger responded that the policy states a customer is disconnected unless the balance is paid in full or a payment agreement has been reached.  Luger and Lutterman believe the business has abused the City’s payment agreement option and that the business should be disconnected in the future if the balance is not paid in full.

Harper suggested writing a letter to the business informing them that the utility policy will be strictly enforced.  Hunt agreed that a letter would be beneficial, but the business needs to be made aware that the City will no longer accept partial payments to avoid a disconnection.  Hunt added that he did not want the City to be responsible for closing a business.  Luger stated that she will continue to work with the business if that is the Council’s preference. 


Denney asked how long the business has been in this situation, which Lutterman responded years.  Denney believed the business has not shown much effort and that the utility policy should be strictly enforced in the future.  Manson asked how many businesses are in similar situations, which Luger responded none.  After some discussion, the Council instructed Luger to write the business a personal letter.


9.      Luger gave the TRED report where she mentioned that TRED is in the process of acquiring a private investor for the Wind Turbine Tools building.  Hunt asked if a drainage plan has been submitted by Gary Punt yet, which Luger responded no.


10.  Luger presented the financial information for the baseball/softball program to the Council.  Luger believed the City could reduce the overall cost of the program by obtaining sponsors for the t-shirts, lowering the wage for student assistants, and raising the registration fee to $30.00.  Hunt questioned the high transportation expense.  Luger stated that the transportation is necessary to travel to various games and is provided by the Tyler Bus Company.


Luger mentioned that she has heard multiple comments from parents concerned that the program will be discontinued.  Harper believed that since the past practice of the Council has been to invest money into baseball and softball, the City should continue its support by operating this program.  Harper motioned for the City to operate the baseball/softball program for the 2007 season.  Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.


11.  Luger informed the Council of Gene Dressen’s request to remove the lilac bushes that are obstructing his trees.  Motion by Harper to grant Dressen permission to remove the lilac bushes.  Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.


12.  Luger stated that $1,212 was donated to the City by Shaokatan Charity.  Motion by Hunt to designate the Shaokatan Charity donation to the baseball/softball program.  Seconded by Harper and approved unanimously.


13.  Lutterman gave the monthly utility report where he mentioned that the utility department has finally received the sander they purchased in December.  He added that the utility department has been busy opening the restrooms for the season and finishing the painting of the swimming pool building.  Lutterman requested authorization to purchase a new lawnmower and trade in the old lawnmower.  Williamson motioned to trade in the old lawnmower and purchase a new one for $1,363.20.  Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.

Luger asked Harper if he has purchased a new computer for the public access channel, which Harper responded no and that he will look into it.


14.  Petersen recommended the Council close the meeting for the purpose of discussing an offer on the Stony Point property.  Motion by Manson to close the meeting at 9:55 pm for the purpose of discussing an offer for the Stony Point property.  Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.  Mayor Harper reopened the meeting at 10:15 pm.  Potential offers for the Stony Point property were discussed during the closed session.  Manson motioned to offer $5,000 for the property.  Seconded by Denney and approved unanimously.


15.  Motion by Hunt to approve the bills.  Seconded by Manson and approved unanimously.


16.  There being no further business before the Council, Mayor Harper adjourned the meeting at 10:25 p.m.

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