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Jenkins City Council May Highlights

Web posted May 17, 2022
(Editor’s note: The following article was written from the draft minutes of the regular monthly meeting of the Jenkins City Council held Monday, May 9, 2022 as provided by the city.)

The Jenkins City council held their regular monthly meeting on May 9, 2022 at City Hall. The following officers were present: Mayor Jon Lubke; Council members Charles Hoffman, Andrew Rudlang, Jerimy Flategraff and Kim Bachmann joined while the meeting was in progress via Zoom from Seaford, DE. Also present were Engineers Dave Reese and Alex Bitter; and Clerk Krista Okerman.

Council approved the agenda, and consent agenda following clarification on 3 items.

Open Forum
Council heard from resident Bill Ellis, who expressed concern that the City was expending $200K for Broadband. He said he would not use the service and the households that wanted it should pay for it, adding that he did not feel the citizens should have to pay for it.

Mayor Lubke stated that no taxpayer dollars had been committed for broadband and that the City was looking for cost estimates only to install broadband to the home for the remainder of the city.

Resident Debbie Siltman, expressed disappointment in the council’s actions from the last meeting. She said there was a process for debating, and noted that Mayor Lubke had indicated that there were no taxpayer funds expended on Broadband but staff time using taxpayer money.

Siltman said that people that bought homes with bad internet service were aware of that at the time of purchase and there were other ways to get faster internet service other than broadband, and she did not feel the taxpayers should have to pay for every service and the more immediate needs like roads should be priority.

Lubke directed Okerman to get a cost from TDS for the installation of broadband in Jenkins.

McCoy Acres
Engineer Alex Bitter was present to address the McCoy Acres Feasibility Study, reporting that he had made the changes as directed by the council.

Lubke noted the cost breakdown was 50/50 benefiting property/city cost share and added that McCoy Acres was one of the developments the City had identified as an 80/20 benefitting property/city cost share split.

Council member Rudlang asked if setting the public hearing gave the go-ahead to the project. Engineer Dave Reese said the next step was to set the hearing and take public testimony at the hearing.

Rudlang and Hoffman agreed, that it like the project was behind schedule for a 2022 improvement. He noted that the estimates were from Widseth but the Council did not know the outcome of the bids until they were received, and that the City was also incurring additional engineering fees.

Rudlang said the timing of the project caused him to be hesitant due to the recent change in the City’ Special Assessment Policy related to cost sharing. Lubke said the Council could make a cost sharing determination of cost sharing upon taking public testimony. Rudlang said it felt premature to halt the project but did not feel the timing was an advantage. Flategraff said the Council should proceed.

Council then adopted the resolution Receiving the Feasibility Report and Calling for a Hearing on Improvement with an estimated cost of $212,152.00 and hearing date of June 1st at 7 PM.

Engineer Bitter reported that the broadband fiber was installed down the center of the existing corridor. He noted that if the project did not proceed the city could still work with Minnesota Power to move the power poles.

Broadband Joint Powers Agreement
Lubke reported that the Council was in receipt of the final draft of the Joint Powers Agreement for Broadband. He said the agreement had been reviewed by each entity’s attorney as well as an attorneys from the League of Minnesota Cities and Minnesota Association of Townships.

Lubke said the document would allow the entities to get pricing on installing broadband to the home. He said it would coincide with a request for proposal that broadband installers could then bid on.

Rudlang stated he was comfortable with the document but added that it could be an unsound document for entities with the added clause that any one entity could abandon at any time. He said it looked possible the City would withdraw but he was not ready to do that until costs had been received.

Hoffman clarified that the document was to get a total cost on fiber to home only, and that the cost breakdown was yet to be determined.

Council approved the Joint Powers Agreement between Ideal and Jenkins Township, Crow Wing County and the City of Jenkins.

Clerks Report
Clerk Krista Okerman reported that she had consulted Engineer Reese on traffic control measures for Cemetery Road. She said that Reese had indicated that striping the road and installing a curve warning sign may help. Okerman added that dust control should be applied in the near future in order to be advantageous to the residents. The Council discussed different dust control measures and directed Okerman to get pricing on more environmentally friendly dust control measures.

In other council action
• Approved a resolution electing the standard allowance available under the Revenue Loss Provision of the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, established under the American Rescue Plan Act.

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