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Emily City Council welcomes new members

Web posted January 29, 2019
By Bill Monroe, Northland Press Correspondent

(Editor’s Note: The following article was written from the unapproved minutes of a meeting of the Emily City Council held on Tuesday, January 8, as provided by the City Clerk.)

The Emily City Council welcomed two new members when it met in regular session Tuesday, January 8. Members present included Mayor Roger Lund and council members Bryce Butcher, Gerhart Hanson, and Bill Spiess were present. Also present was Wesley Friesner, Council Elect, Cari Johnson, City Clerk/Treasurer, and Pam Roden, Deputy Clerk. William Bentley, Union Representative, also attended.

Wesley Friesner took the oath of office for the office of council member. The council welcomed new members Butcher and Friesner.

Emily Meats Request

Donna Jones presented a letter from Tracy Jones, owner of Emily Meats. Jones requested support from the new council members helping local downtown businesses succeed this year, which would, in turn, help the community by maintaining local jobs and local tax dollars. Jones stated he was treated as an adversary in the past and requested the city and businesses work together in the future. He wrote the purchase offer which had been made by the Minnesota Department of Transportation would not have covered the amount owed on the business and would have resulted in the business closing. Jones requested approval for and assistance with working with the MnDOT’s Ombudsman’s Office to acquire parking for Emily Meats.

Fire Department
The council approved the following Fire Department officer appointments: Chad Genz, Chief; Tyson Kinkaid, Assistant Chief; Pat Redding, Treasurer; Phil Yetzer, Secretary; Calen Spindler, Backup Secretary; and Brian Foster, Training and Safety Officer.

The council voted to approve the required municipal contribution to the Emily Fire Relief Association of $22,326. It also accepted a donation of $300 from the Roosevelt and Lawrence Area Lakes Association to the Fire Department to be used for equipment, $250 to First Responders to be used for equipment and $979.79 for First Responder equipment.

Drug Box
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has offered the Emily Police Department a prescription drug drop box for public use, due to the size and rural location of the city. The MPCA received a federal grant to supply the drop boxes. The city would need to pay for disposal of the unused or expired prescription drugs, over the counter medications, and certain controlled substances. The closest disposal location is Perham and there is currently no charge for disposal. The drop box would be located in the Emily City Hall with camera surveillance. Promotional materials would also be provided.

Planning and Zoning
Council Liaison Spiess reported on Planning and Zoning Administrator Welle’s 2018 Annual Report.

Crow Wing County is in the process of changing all parcel numbers. All files in the planning and zoning office are organized by the current parcel numbers. Sourcewell’s internship program could provide an intern for up to 640 hours and up to 16 weeks over one semester to work on changing the parcel numbers. Sourcewell would reimburse the city for up to $12 per hour, although the city could pay more. The city would need to apply for the internship program. Sourcewell recommends the city contact local schools or colleges to find an intern. Individual interns would not be able to repeat the program. The intern could also work on additional projects, such as data entry for the new cemetery program. The council voted to proceed to procure an intern through the Sourcewell program.

Roads
Council member Hanson will complete the annual check on city traffic sign retroreflectivity. He will request permission for city residents to use the city’s designated emergency shelter, which is the Emily Wesleyan Church.

The council voted to have the city not enter into any agreement for using city personnel or equipment to sand business or church parking lots. The city will also not sand private individuals’ property.

Revision of the snowplowing policy was discussed. Research will be completed regarding the necessity of a time limit on shifts for plowing. Revisions include references to “Charter School” will be changed to “City Hall”, update of the equipment list, and Zone 1 additions of plowing sidewalks, the public parking lot, and recycling area and removal of snow from the fog line to the back of the sidewalk in the State Highway 6 parking zones. Businesses are not allowed to deposit snow on city sidewalks and are responsible for their own snow removal. The council approved the policy with the discussed revisions.

The Northern Lights Association requested approval for a public pedestrian crosswalk across State Highway 6 just south of Smokey Hollow Road. MnDOT would require the city to enter into an agreement for long term maintenance of the crosswalk. The ditch would need to be built up, there are drainage issues, and ATVs on the ATV trail would cross over and tear up the entrance to the crosswalk. Frequent maintenance of the crosswalk entrance would be required. The council voted to deny the Northern Lights’ request.

Personnel

The terms of the union contract for January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2021 were discussed. The council approved terms of employer contributions of $965 for health insurance per employee per month, wage increase of $.50 per hour per employee, $300 reimbursement of Maintenance Department employee clothing and boot purchases upon submission of receipts, and Maintenance Department employee hours to remain the same. The wage increase would be retroactive to January 1, 2019. The requested term revisions of an increase to the vacation carryover rate, additional floating holiday, increase to $400 clothing allowance, and increase to longevity pay were not approved.

City Hall
There was a suggestion to purchase iPads for the Council to save costs in printing council packets. There was a discussion on updating the hall to allow meeting participants, including council members and planning commission members, to attend meetings electronically from a remote location. The meeting participant would need to be in a public location and the location would need to be posted prior to the meeting in the approved posting locations. There was a suggestion to contact Jason Roos to request research be completed on requirements to implement remote attendance of meetings.

Parks
Park Commissioner Jason Roos submitted a potential layout of the Little Emily City Beach for council consideration. Park dedication fees could be used if the city would be required to purchase the property. The council voted to have Roos submit the beach layout to Crow Wing County Land Services and to pursue options for the city to acquire the property.

Emily Waters Committee
The 2019 budget includes $15,000 for the Emily Lakes and Rivers Fund to be used for protection of Emily  lakes and rivers. The Emily Waters Committee is made up of members of the lake associations and improvement districts and a council member.

The Emily Waters Committee will review appropriation applications and make recommendations to the council regarding distribution of the budgeted funds. The council voted to publish an Emily Lakes and Rivers Fund announcement regarding appropriation application criteria and timeframe in the city’s official newspaper and post the announcement on the city’s website.

Maintenance Shop
Council member Spiess presented a Nor-Son Construction base bid for construction of a new maintenance shop of $515,560 using Gordian’s pricing. The bid includes connection to the city’s sewer system, which was estimated to cost twice as much as a subsurface sewage treatment system (SSTS) due to the distance of the building location from the sewer main. The bid amount is over the city’s budgeted amount of $440,000. Councilmember Spiess will contact Nor-Son Construction and request revisions to the bid, including installation of an SSTS. The revised maintenance shop bid will be added to a special meeting agenda.

Appointments
The council approved a number of appointments recommended by the mayor including:
• Official newspaper, Crosby-Ironton Courier;
• Primary Depository, Pine River State Bank;
• City Attorney, Tom Pearson, Gammello-Pearson;
• City Engineer, S.E.H.;
• Acting Mayor, Gary Hanson;
• Hearing Officers, Frank Vancura and Brook Mallak;
• Council Liaisons: EDA, Full council; Budget, Full council; Planning and Zoning, Bill Spiess, Parks, Roger Lund; Personel, Roger Lund, Gary Hanson, Bill Spiess (alternate); Cemetery, Wesley Friesner; City Hall, Roger Lund; Roads, Roger Lund, Gary Hanson and Brian Foster; Fire Department, Bryce Butcher; First Response, Wesley Friesner; Wastewater, Roger Lund; Housing Officials, Bill Spiess and Gary Hanson; Ordinance Committee, Roger Lund and Bill Spiess and Maintenance Shop Committee, Bill Spiess and Gary Hanson.

Other Business

In other business, the council:
• Voted to pay $22,061 for the annual renewal of the Leaguae of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust Property and Casualty insurance policy;

• Approved sending First Responder members Leann Werner and Mary Eppen to attend the Arrowhead EMS Conference January 25;

• Accepted a donation of $25 from Alice Thibodeau for the library;

• Approved sending council members Butcher and Friesner to the 2019 League of Minnesota Cities Newly Elected Officials Leadership Conference in Brainerd for $225 per person;

• Decided a special meeting will be held to consider if revisions to the codified Emily Code of Ordinances are needed before the annual update in June;

• Voted to donate $650 to the Initiative Foundation as budgeted and

• Scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, January 30 at 9 a.m. to review proposed revisions to the Emily Code of Ordinances and a bid from Nor-Son Construction.

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