May 1, 2017

The City Council of Comfrey met in regular session Monday, May 1, 2017 at 6:30 PM in the community center with all members present but Councilor Kastner who arrived at 6:47 PM. Attorney Paul Muske was also present. Mayor Richter presided.

The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag was recited.

The agenda was reviewed.

A variance was approved on a motion made by Schmitt, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously for Gene Friesen to construct a 40' by 40' detached garage with 12' sidewalls, which garage area exceeds the maximum square footage allowed by the zoning ordinance and which garage height exceeds the maximum sidewall height.

April 3, 2017 regular meeting minutes and April 24, 2017 Board of Review minutes were approved on motion of Evers, second by Arnsdorf and carried unanimously.

The following bills were approved on a motion by Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

 Amos B Vogel 2017 Assessments $3,231.50 Bolton & Menk, Inc Engineer Fees- WTP/Tower project $745.00 Braun & Borth Sanitation Garbage Pick-up - Apr $2,133.47 Brown County REA Electricity - Mar $1,874.36 Clements Lumber Coil Chain, airwick, garbage bags $91.32 Comfrey C-Store Fuel $180.95 Comfrey Fire Dept Expenses $1,478.02 Comfrey Times Publications $308.75 Frontier Telephone/Internet - Apr $432.45 Gopher State One Call 1 line locate $1.35 Library Bills and Wages $4,306.23 LMCIT Work Comp Premium $8,435.00 Midwest Radar & Equipment Radar recertification $40.00 MPCA Annual WWTP Permit Fee $505.00 Muske, Muske & Suhrhoff Professional Services $1,446.30 Payroll Expense Payroll Expense $10,632.44 Plunkett's Quarterly Pest Control $85.00 Runnings Measuring wheel, cleaner, key ring $78.36 Softline Data, Inc Annual utility HDS support $145.00 T & C Service Center Trailer Tires $302.00 Utility Consultants, Inc WWTP Tests $190.50 Utility Deposit Refunds Utility Deposit Refunds/interest $305.00 Verizon Wireless Police Cell Phone - Apr $78.39 Windom Fire & Safety Annual Fire Extiguisher Inspection $252.00

April financial statement will be reviewed when complete.

The maintenance report was reviewed by Berberich. Work was started on the water plant project today. A claim was turned in for a sewer backup into the bank believed to be from grease being dumped down the sink. Businesses were reminded on how to dispose of grease properly so this does not happen again in the future. The hedge behind the ball field at the North Park has become overgrown and is not needed anymore because the Evergreens have grown so large. CARS Tree Service has offered to remove the hedge free of charge because the city has allowed them to park in its lot over the years. A motion was made by Schmitt, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously to have CARS Tree Service remove the hedge of bushes from behind the ball field. Logan Kelly was hired as summer help in the maintenance department on a motion made by Arnsdorf, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously.

Fire Chief Berberich reported Nick Ludewig has resigned from the Fire Department. The department has the possibility of three new members joining this year. Permission was given to the fire department to use the city truck to pull the side by side to fires.

First Responder Captain Barnes reviewed her report. The First Responders will be having an open house on May 24th.

Chief Meyer reviewed the police report. It was noted that our area of the County has been very active these past few months with an increase use of methamphetamines. We need to make Comfrey unattractive for this type of activity by people being aware of what is going on around them and reporting any suspicious activity.

The library report was reviewed. Arnsdorf reported the library has voted to donate $2000 towards the new electronic sign out of their reserve funds.

Property concerns in town was revisited by concerned citizens. Discussion was had and attorney Muske laid out three options for the council to consider. 1) The police department to review property concerns and then determine if it is a nuisance. 2) The council can review and make changes to the ordinance if see fit. 3) Take no action. After hearing all sides from citizens and options were reviewed, the council took no additional action on the property concerns.

A resolution expressing acceptance and appreciation for donations to the first responders of $500 from Mathiowetz Construction, $25 from Kathryn Penner and a $5 cash donation was approved on a motion made by Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

Bruce Stresemann was not in attendance to provide information on the Blessing Box. No action was taken. 

A motion was made by Arnsdorf, seconded by Kastner and carried unanimously to allow the Lions Club to purchase a solar light for the top of the flag pole by the post office.

Land use permits were approved for Dennis Johnson to construct a porch and Kory & Christa Simon to build a garage and office on a motion made by Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

Proposals were received from M.R. Paving for $20,495.64 and Caldwell Asphalt for $22,865.85 to seal coat the city blocks by St Paul’s Catholic Church, Ochre St, Prairie St and parking lots by Mike’s Market, municipal building, and the school. A motion was made by Arnsdorf, seconded by Kastner and carried unanimously to use M.R, Paving for seal coating.

As part of street maintenance Berberich would like to add gravel to the unpaved roads in town. A motion was made by Arnsdorf, seconded by Kastner and carried unanimously to purchase gravel with remaining budget dollars.

A motion was made by Schmitt, seconded by Kastner ad carried unanimously to hire SW Dust Treatment Inc. to treat our gravel roads in town at a cost of $84.00 per 100 feet.

Purchase of an electronic sign was brought before the council by Comfrey Area Pride (CAP). The total cost of the sign is $19,493. CAP will make the initial down payment donation of $10,865 and will seek additional donations for the remaining cost of $8,268. A motion was made by Kastner, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously to pay the balance of the sign and to place the sign on city property by the fire hall. After all donations accounted for, the maximum amount the city will put towards the sign is $6500. As of the May council meeting a total of $1900 in donations for the sign has come in which will be recognized once the project is complete.

The first reading of the Liquor Ordinance #188 was had. The ordinance was written using a model policy from the LMC with the biggest changes of having fines and a process outlined for liquor offenses. Council is to review ordinance and come with questions and changes to the June council meeting. Alan Barnes will also be given a copy of the ordinance to review and asked to offer feedback on ordinance.

The 2003 Chevrolet Impala was declared surplus property and offered for sale on a motion made by Evers, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously.  The car will be advertised with the 2007 Cadillac and 2000 Toyota to be sold by sealed bids opened at our June council meeting.

Malt Liquor On-Sale license for 3 locations was requested by Comfrey Area Pride for Community Days, July 7th – 8th, 2017.  On a motion by Schmitt, seconded by Kastner and carried unanimously approval was granted.

The meeting was adjourned on a motion made by Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers.