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Emily City Council January Highlights

Web posted January 31, 2023
(Editor’s note: The following article was written from the unapproved minutes of the January 10, 2023 regular monthly meeting of the Emily City Council.)

The Emily City Council met for their first regular meeting of 2023 on Tuesday, January 10th in the Council Chambers at 6:00 p.m. Present were newly re-elected Mayor Tracy Jones; incumbent council members Mary Eppen and Gerhart Hanson; new council members Andrew Hemphill and Gregory Koch; and Clerk-Treasurer Cari Johnson.

Council approved the regular meeting Agenda, and Consent Agenda that included: Treasurer’s Report from December 2022; Checking Beginning Balance $746,324.22 and Ending Balance $1,099,085.36; Receipts to General fund $497,046.23, Sewer fund $30,233.92, Total $527,280.15; and Claims for Approval: $91,141.79 including Pine River State Bank checks #60116 to #60183 and automatic withdrawals #330658 to #330665; Investments $371,289.36; The checking and investments totaled $1,470,374.72.

Public Safety

Fire Department
Emily Fire Chief Chad Genz reported the December Fire Department meeting was held with 15 members present and reported one fire call. Equipment and SCBAs were checked. The Fire Department is working on a plan to update the Fire Hall meeting room.

• The council approved the results of the Fire Department election as follows: Chief - Chad Genz; Assistant Chief - Tyson Kinkaid; Treasurer - Michael Ambrust; Secretary - Josh Rooker; and Safety/Training Officer - Brian Foster.

First Responders
Chief Cary LeBlanc reported the First Response January meeting was held with eight members present and reported nine medical calls and two trainings in December.

Chief Damien Stalker reported 38 incidents in December. Stalker reported a total of 687 incidents for 2022, which is a 28 percent increase from 2021.

Council approved the hiring of Matthew Huesmann as a part time police officer for 20 hours per week per the recommendation of the Personnel Committee, pending background check and screenings and psych evaluation. Huesmann will start at $20.50 per hour with a probationary period of six months and will start on or before Monday, February 6, 2023.

2023 Official Designations
Council approved the following designations for 2023: Official newspaper – Northland Press; Planning and Zoning Liaison – council member Koch; Fire Department, and First Response Liaison – council member Hemphill; Police Department Liaison – Mayor Jones; Library Liaison & Board Member – council member Koch; Land Use Ordinance Review Committee – council members Hanson and Koch, along Planning Commission members David Johnson and a Planning Commission member; Personnel Committee – council member Hemphill (Alternate); Municipal Trustee of the Fireman’s Relief Association – council member Hemphill; and removal of the combination of Fire and First Response Services Committee.

The council also approved Pine River State Bank and Pershing Wealth Solution BNY Mellon as Official Depositories; the addition of Mary Eppen as account signer for depositories; and Pine River State Bank Pledged Securities for the City of Emily checking account.

Manganese update
Rick Sandri, North Star Manganese (NSM), provided a report and information that NSM plans to initiate exploratory drilling during the first quarter of 2023. Technical studies continue on an environmental review of the Emily project area and on geologic data and samples from prior drilling.

Sandri added that NSM is continuing discussions with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on its mineral lease applications on 800 acres of State mineral lands in the Emily area. The work with the DNR will be ongoing into 2023.

Short Term Rentals
Councilmember Koch reported that Crow Wing County had established a Short Term Rental Licensing Ordinance and that there were issues regarding the county issuing licenses in cities that prohibited short term rentals.

Koch noted that CWC recently revised their ordinance to only apply to those cities and townships that contract with CWC, and that the City of Emily has a Rental Properties Ordinance. The City will maintain local licensing of short term rentals for better control. The City’s Housing Official addresses rental complaints.

Verizon Cell Tower
The council discussed a request from Verizon to update the Cell Tower Lease terms including a rent reduction from $1,100 per month to $800 per month, and a 10 percent increase every five years, and eight additional 5-year renewal terms.

Verizon reported they will continue to abide by the terms of the current lease until an amendment has been executed or the existing lease has been terminated or expires. No action was taken as the Council tabled the request until the current Cell Tower Lease expires in 2024.

Discussion included Crow Wing County regarding the public comment period on Land Use Ordinance revisions, and Clasen & Schiessl regarding the City financial audit responsibility, planned scope, timing, and significant risks.

In other council action:
• Approved the annual municipal contribution to the Fire Department in the amount of $28,976, and a quote from GFC Industrial to replace the Meeting Room floor in the Fire Hall in the amount of $5,586.20;

• Approved a lawful gambling permit for the Emily Firefighter’s Relief Association that includes electronically linked bingo at the Red Pine Cookhouse;

• Approved a $300 donation to the Fire Department from David and Anne Bonnerup;

• Approved a request to increase SSTS inspections by $10 to $175 for 2023;

• Learned that Jason Quilling paid the $2,500 after the fact permit fee and penalty for an unpermitted septic system;

• Approved the purchase of a weatherproof truck bed liner stacked storage drawer system in the amount of $1,556.93 for the new Maintenance Department pickup truck;

• Appointed the following Patrick Rheaume and Lynn Bartel to the Planning Commission as alternates for a one year term ending Dec. 31, 2023;

• Appointed Patrick Rheaume to a 3-year term on the Parks Commission;

• Approved a $2,000 donation for equipment to the First Response Unit from the Outing Area Chamber of Commerce;

• Approved the Emily First Responders to hold a free “Hold Hands Only” CPR and AED Training on March 7, 2023 at City Hall Gym, and Clerk’s office staff attendance;

• Approved council member attendance of the Ehlers Public Finance seminar;

• Approved publishing an announcement for newspapers and posting regarding the acceptance period of Emily Lakes and Rivers Fund appropriation applications;

• Approved hiring Payton Puhl as winter seasonal maintenance worker at $15 an hour, pending background check and screenings;

• Approved Deputy Clerk Amy Prokott’s attendance of the 2023 Year One Municipal Clerk’s Institute from May 8-12 at the cost of up to $500 for registration, five nights lodging not to exceed $750, and reimbursement for mileage, parking and food;

• Approved Clerk-Treasurer Cari Johnson and Prokott’s attendance of the 2023 IIMC Conference from May 14-17 in Minneapolis at the cost of up to $1,150 for registration, four nights lodging not to exceed $750, and reimbursement for mileage, parking and food;

• Adopted the 2023 IRS Standard Mileage Rate at $0.655 per mile;

• Approved Bond Trust Services payments in the amount of $156,260, plus $575 in agent fees as follows: 303 Debt Service Fund – 2012 City Hall Improvement Bond, $43,237.50 and $575; 304 Sewer Fund – 2014 Road Improvement Bond, $39,331.25; and 602 Sewer Fund – 2013 Sewer Project Bond $73,691.25

• Noted the Public Hearing for the annual Fee Schedule Ordinance update is scheduled for Tuesday, February 14, 2023.

The next regular meeting of the Emily City Council will be held Tuesday, February 14 at City Hall beginning at 6:00 p.m.

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