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Fifty Lakes Council Highlights

Web posted February 25, 2014
(Editor’s note: The following article was written from the draft minutes of the Tuesday, February 11, 2014 regular monthly meeting of the Fifty Lakes City Council as provided by the city clerk)

The Fifty Lakes City Council unanimously approved Crow Wong County’s cost shares agreement for the reconstruction of the County Road 3 at their regular monthly meeting held Tuesday, Feb 11. The estimated construction cost share for Fifty Lakes would be $70,210.26.

• Tim Bray, Crow Wing County Engineer, presented to the council the 5-year road project plan for the county. Bray commented on the struggles this year to keep the snow and ice off the roads with the severely cold weather. He informed council that the County Road 3 reconstruction contracts are out for bidding at this time and were scheduled to be opened on February 18.

Public Safety
Andy Hemphill reported three medical calls and no fire calls in the month of January, and confirmed with council the process of the controlled burn for the former Post Office building. Andy commented that traffic would be re-routed through the city parking lot to Town Hall Road.

Liquor manager Toni Buchite reviewed with council several options for a new freezer in the bar. Discussions followed and a unanimous motion was passed approving the purchase of 3 door freezer in the amount of $3,730.86.

Buchite addressed council and said that mayor Hersey and council member Jodie Schrupp had met with bar employee Jake Stern to discuss complaints with the agreement that no dismissal was warranted at the time. After further review Buchite said she disagreed with the decision and feels she needs to ask for Stern’s dismissal.

Schrupp stated that Stern was not notified of his reimbursement of insurance and other issues were not communicated to him and she felt more discussions are needed. Hersey said he was in agreement with another chance and the complaints were not well documented and came second hand.

City attorney Tom Pearson told council that this should be considered as a closed discussion if this is a dismissal issue that is unrelated to the previous discussion in November and notification to the employee is required. It was noted that Degner was unavailable to attend meetings until May 2014.

A unanimous motion was passed to schedule a special meeting on Feb. 18 for the purpose of discussing employee behavior. A second motion was passed by a 4-1 vote (voting no Schrupp) allowing the use of SKYPE videoconferencing software for all members to appear and vote to the extent that statutes allow.

Schrupp informed Council that Stern wanted clarification on his vacation and sick time, if it was reinstated. following more discussion a motion to align Stern’s sick and vacation benefits to the decision in January of 2014, to reinstate health and dental benefits, passed by a 3-2 vote (voting no were Schrupp and Greg Buchite).

• Council reviewed and approved the proposed changes to the personnel policy addendum A & B benefits: ”To Qualify for Health/Dental/Sick/Vacation Benefits: A minimum of 32+ hours or salaried per week must be averaged. This qualification standard is only a threshold consideration in the possible award of any benefits to the employee; the City Council retains sole discretion whether to award any such benefits to an employee who achieves this qualification standard.”

Planning & Zoning
Council member Jay Weinmann requested that council to consider the ordinance amendments at a joint special meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission. Council agreed to reschedule this meeting in May

• Planning Director Gordy Reller reviewed the 2014 Zoning Permit Fee Schedule with the council and a motion was passed unanimously to accept the fees as presented, with the exception of a $50 permit fee for signs, and no charge for any appeals to council from the P&Z Commission.

• Reller also informed council of a request from MPCA to rezone the closed landfill.

Mayor’s Report
Mayor Hersey commented on the re-appointment of the city attorney. Council questioned the lack of direction and context of advice regarding human relations with the employee handbook. Tom Pearson stated he had not reviewed the employee handbook prior to the November meeting and apologized for the misunderstandings. A motion was passed unanimously to appoint Pearson as City attorney for the year of 2014.

AIS Inspections
Fred Strohmeier, President of the Fifty Lakes Property Owners Assoc. updated the council on AIS inspections. In 2013, they spent approximately $3400 for 217 hours of level I inspection time. The goal for 2014 is between 250-500 hours of inspection time. Strohmieier noted that WAPOA spent an estimated $29,000 for inspections on the Whitefish Chain and the City of Emily has committed $4500 for their lakes for 2014. He requested financial assistance from the city for inspections costs. Hersey said it would be discussed at the March 11 meeting.

Citizen Forum
Gordy Reller requested that council consider a consent motion format for a portion of the meeting to decrease the length of time that is required for Council meetings.

In other council action:
• Passed a motion stating that the Fifty Lakes Day committee is under the control of the Fifty Lakes Council on behalf of the Fifty Lakes Day Celebration.

• Agreed to publish a quarterly newsletter with responsibilities for articles to be completed by department heads.

• Approved a motion to post agenda packets on the city website the Monday prior to regular council meetings.

• Council reviewed two bids received for replacement of the community center door entrance from Classic Renovations and Staples Construction. Council approved option 2, (a 43” steel door with 16”x16” window and clad jambs) in the amount of $1900.

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