4.6.2021 Finance Minutes

Called To Order

President Carlsrud called the meeting to order at 2:30 PM.

Roll Call

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

Others present: City Administrator Crawford, City Attorney Martineck, Finance Director Richter, Deputy Auditor Klein, Public Works Accountant/Manager Jacobson, City Assessor Hansen, Fire Chief Magnuson, Police Chief Hatcher, Chad Petersen from KLJ, Electrical Superintendent Senf, Operations Superintendent Klemisch, Sanitation Supervisor Swart, Water Superintendent Hesch

1.  Commission Topics

            b. Discuss Housing Incentives.

            Discussion took place around Housing Incentives.

            a. Discuss Funds for Dam Signage.

            Discussion took place regarding the City Engineer position.

2.  Department Reports:

            Water Superintendent Hesch reported we have been getting updated rules on the lead and copper     revision.  There will be more testing and a big part of it will be doing an inventory of each house in       town.  We’ll have to see what their feed is into their houses.

            Electrical Superintendent Senf reported only one outage due to a squirrel last month.  The guys are   pulling the underground lines for the Fine Arts Building.  We had an issue with the rolling black outs.      The downtown sub worked perfectly, the south sub we have a bank of batteries and when the power       goes out the way it did we have no way of controlling the breakers.  When they kicked us on, everything came on at once and we saw a spike in our peak.  Presented the three quotes for batteries. Cable and transformer quotes and stated his recommendations.  Electrical Superintendent      Senf also requested increasing his spending limit.  The quotes are only good for seven days and by the        time it goes through for approval it’s passed that time.

            Sanitation Supervisor Swart reported we have a new employee, Troy Redding, and are now fully      staffed.  A couple of reminders on the 24 hour collection site.  We have seen an increase of wood            going instead of just trees.  It is for grass and leaves on the east side and branches on the west side.  Also, do not put dirty wood chips or anything in the wood chip pile.  That’s for residents to come and    take and use and we have had people dumping sawdust, scrap pieces of wood, gravel and dirt.  We do      have cameras are picking up some of this.  We had a gentleman that dumped fence posts in the tree branches and he did have to come back and clean it up and haul it into the landfill.  Clean up week is   May 24th-28th.  Please make sure garbage is out by 7AM and keep the areas clean around the            dumpsters. 

            City Administrator Crawford added starting cleanup week early is not allowed.  If there are couches,               other items out on the curb they will be sent a letter asking to clean it up or we will go ahead and do            that for them but it will be at a 2-person lift fee which is $35.

             Operations Superintendent Kelmisch reported the well has been drilled and the stem is in place.       Our plan is to go straight west from the well and tie in the pipe we have there.  We don’t have a date            yet, it will probably be another month or so.  The old site will be capped and we plan to use the panel           for the new one.  We started crack sealing Main Street for the upcoming seal coat this summer.  After          that we’ll probably move on to painting to freshen up Main Street and some other down town areas.

Fire Chief Magnuson reported fire extinguisher services have been great.  We got back into our training program which is good.  It’s been nice to have everyone back together.  We picked our new officers for the year, I will get that emailed.  We met with the County Commission this morning about the building.  They basically declined the dollar amount and now want to work on a rental agreement.  They did extend the burn ban with the stipulations that they will enforce the penalty.  It was relayed to the Sheriff’s office to write a $1500 ticket if you are burning. 

Police Chief Hatcher reported the windows have been put in the police station.

3.-6. Were covered in Electrical Superintendent Senf’s department report.   

7.  Discuss Forester-Employee vs Contractor.

            City Attorney Martineck stated it will be a little more than that.  To start with the Forester is a                   position.  We’re expected to pay him about $7,200 this year plus the cost of tools and      reimbursement for a couple of training programs.  When we looked into it more it seemed like            there would be some overlapping on what we would have an employee do compared to an      independent contractor and he’s really bordering on an employee.  There’s a proposed salary     schedule if we created a part-time, seasonal employee.  We created an E21 Forester position.  It      would be step 1 to step 25 like every other position except instead of a step increase every year, it          would be a step increase every 5 years.  There would still be a COLA increase every year as long as approved by the Commission.  We would be looking at 350 hours/year max so we’d be well           below where we’d have to pay health insurance or any other benefits. In order to get it at            approximately the $7,250 where he’d be contracted at, we’d probably place the current forester at step 10 or 11 which would be $21/hr.  At 20 hours a week from May 15th –September 15th there     would be about 348 hours and then he also said he would be willing to do some work in the off             season which is expected to be under 10 hours.  Over the course of the year if you paid him at      $21/ hour is would be about $7300 versus $7250.  The only other changes would be a slight   increase to WSI and then the employment taxes.  Also wanted to touch on 2 other positions.  The        first is the seasonal Public Works laborer.  It’s been starting at $11/hr.  It’s not competitive       anymore.  The proposal is to add a new position with a formal job description.  Put it on the           salary schedule stating at $14 max of $16.  There would be a COLA increase annually if          improved by the commission and we would give credit to those that come back.  The other is an   increase to the Sanitation Specialist I.  There would be a new A13 level for people that get their        Class A CDL.  The idea is to add a level where a sanitation employee with a Class A CDL would        get a $1 differential per hour.

8.  Discuss Road to Landfill Coop. 

            City Administrator Crawford stated there was discussion on the road to the land fill.  The township said at one time there was an oral agreement no one has any proof of anything so we            said let’s move forward.  We came to the agreement that the City will put the gravel on the road           and the cost for that will be split in half.  The County will grade it and we will be adding chloride        and the cost of the chloride will be split.  The chloride for year two will be provided by the City and going forward everything will be equally split.  This will only be up to the landfill gate.

9.  Quarterly Review of City Engineer Contract.

            City Administrator Crawford stated she took the engineering invoices and compared them to what            our contract for the year will be and for the quarterly report.  For now everything is still in      accordance with what we are looking.  Going forward we may swap the planning portion of what        their max is and the general engineered but as long as the full portion is still $87,000 that’s the most important part.

10.  VCFD Building Update-covered in Fire Chief Magnuson’s department report.

11.  Discuss Utility Bills Staying with the Property.

            PW Manager Jacobson reported we have customers that don’t want to pay.  Looking back to     2017, since then we have turned over $71,700 of bad debt to our collection agency.  In our    current process the fees we pay if they collected everything for us would be $25,000 that we     would be out of the money that we shouldn’t have been.   Currently we have collected just over     $17,000.  Even if we collect it or they collect it, if we sent it to them they still get their fee.  We          still have $54,000 remaining in debt and the older it gets the less chance there is of us collecting. 

            City Administrator Crawford continued that a lot of this comes from people moving out and not   paying their final bills.  I would like to propose that we do an ordinance change that the bills stay        with the property.  So if someone rents the home and moves out and doesn’t pay the bill that is on            the homeowner, not the City.  If you’re looking at it from a taxpayers viewpoint, that’s $70,000   that could have been going through the City helping with other things.  The other part is that if          someone gets their water or electricity shut off and no one lives there for a couple years that has         to get caught up before it gets turned back on so you’re guaranteed to get that money back.    Another thing that may be a little different is if a realtor is looking to sell a certain property they   would call over to check if there was an outstanding balance on utilities and put it as part of the        closing. 

12.  Discuss Resolution for Modifications to the Electric Rates.

            PW Manager Jacobson stated that we are asking for a change to the resolution on the electric       rates.  We are not asking to increase the rate.  We just want some housekeeping type changes.  The only change to a rate is on page 3.  We’re asking to change the Green Energy Adder rate.     Moving it from 0.5 cents per KWH to 0.1 cent per KWH based on what we are getting charged from MRES.  The other changes are just to wording on the lighting rentals and putting back in wording for the large power demand credit.

            City Attorney Martineck added that the last paragraph of the resolution should be taken out.


The meeting was adjourned at ­4:24 PM.

Posted in Finance Meeting Minutes.