7/7/2020 Finance Minutes

Called To Order at 3:30 PM

President Carlsrud called the meeting to order at 3:30 PM.

Roll Call

Members present: President Carlsrud, Commissioner Magnuson, Commissioner Bishop, Commissioner Gulmon, and Commissioner Erickson.

Others present: City Administrator Crawford, City Attorney Martineck, City Auditor Richter, City Assessor Hansen, Deputy Auditor Klein, Administrative Assistant Johnson, Public Works Accountant/Manager Jacobson, Chad Petersen from KLJ, Fire Chief Magnuson, Police Chief Hatcher, WTP Superintendent Hesch, Electrical Superintendent Senf, PW Superintendent Differding.

Department Reports:

Marshall Senf– Electrical department continues working on 5th Avenue NW, conduit is in at the College. Looking for direction for putting in new poles at City Park

  • Reviewed bids for 8 transformers, like to have spares of all sizes. Marshall requested to purchase the 75KVA transformers from Resco in the amount of $27,252 and the 300KVA and 500KVA transformers from DSG in the amount of $15,600. The Commission gave consensus to go ahead and order the transformers.

Wade Hesch– Water usage is up with citizens watering lawns. Getting some thicker water coming from the dam to treat. UF project is underway. Have made a down payment for the membranes at the Water Treatment Plant.

Jeff Differding– Crews have been monitoring storm sewers with the high water during large rain events. Busy taking out a lot of trees on City Property. Crew has been working on area between Quality Alignment and Thomsen Chiropractic to work on drainage issue. In the winter street crew was there 1 to 2 times a week because of the ice buildup in this area. The new paint machine is working out well and crews will be looking at painting signage around the school areas before long. New garbage truck is in and being used. Jeff suggests ordering tandem axle garbage trucks going forward. Mayor Carlsrud asked Jeff to address some of his concerns with Natural Gardens. Some issues with the gardens would be difficulty with spraying for mosquitoes and weed in those areas, and also attracting critters and foot traffic.

Scott Magnuson- Fire Department has still been doing some birthday and retirement drive events, but this is coming to an end. The statue is up in front of the Fire Hall and painting has been done on outside of building. Working on a grant to help with cost of Fire Hall Addition.

Phil Hatcher – Swearing in a new officer and have another new officer starting this week. Moral is good with police employees. Employees haven’t been able to take much vacation with being short staffed.

Review Monthly Bills/Reports

Auditor Richter reported on monthly bills and reports.

Discuss job title for City Administrator position

Commissioner Bishop has been approached about changing the job title to City Manager. Commissioner Gulmon stated this position went to the vote of the citizens and passed. It’s time to get behind this position and support it. Commissioner Magnuson stated if we change the name do we give people the opportunity to lobby against the new title. President Carlsrud would like to keep it the same and didn’t feel a need to change the title. Commissioner Bishop was also good with keeping the title as is.

Discuss Nature Gardens

City Forrester Bob Anderson threw out the option to plant nature gardens on some of the vacant City property acquired with the flood buyouts. This is not as viable for Valley City as larger communities like Fargo as they would be much smaller areas. Also there were concerns discussed earlier with Jeff Differding.

Discuss Water Service WS-16 surcharge for unmetered water services to apartments, condominiums, townhouses and trailer sites

Gary Jacobson had received a concern from a citizen about the monthly water surcharge of $8.24 for multi-unit buildings. Currently the owner pays the consumption of the building and each tenants pays the $8.24 surcharge. This charge has been in place for at least 30 years to make sure costs are being distributed to those receiving the benefit. A single family home has a smaller and less expensive meter going into the home where the multi-unit homes have a larger meter which is more expensive to purchase and maintain. If this monthly fee was removed there would need to be an increase to all residents to make up for this decrease in revenue.

Discuss Assistant Public Works (Operations) Superintendent Position for Succession Planning

Carl reviewed the succession plan when Jeff Differding retires possibly this year. The plan moving forward would be to post that position internally, go through the interview process, and promote the person to assistant superintendent with a 5% increase in employee’s current salary. This person would then have the opportunity to job shadow Jeff and learn the job.

Discuss Storm Water Management Plan for proposed Fire Hall Addition

Building Inspector Anderson received a letter from Mike Strom, Engineer with KLJ, regarding any storm water issues with the new addition at the Fire Hall. The additional runoff created would be insignificant for the short term but is something that could be addressed during a future improvement project. KLJ Engineer Chad Petersen did not feel a payment in lieu of a retention pond would be applicable as this is such a minimal amount of runoff.

Discuss changing disposal rate for trees from $0 to $5 per ton for commercial tree haulers

Gloria Swart had discussed this rate change with Commissioner Erickson because of the extra hours and expense spent taking care of these trees at the transfer station. There has been an increase in the volume of trees dropped off this year. There is no charge to valley city residents that dispose of trees, this fee would just be charged to commercial tree haulers. After discussion the Commission agreed the amount of revenue this would generate is minimal and would not like this changed at this time. The City does offer to special assess the expense to remove trees if a city resident has a hardship to pay for the removal. The City is currently seeing a cost savings with not having the grass sites in town.

Adjourn The meeting was adjourned at ­4:38 PM.

Posted in Finance Meeting Minutes.