January 7, 2013

The City Council of Comfrey met in regular session Monday, January 7, 2013 at 7:00 PM in the community center with all members present. Attorney Paul Muske was also present. Mayor Richter presided.

The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag was recited.

Oath of Office was administered by Paul Muske to Mayor Gary Richter, and Councilors Susan Evers and John Schmitt.

On motion of Arnsdorf, seconded by Herrig and carried unanimously, the following official appointments were made:

Publication: Comfrey Times

            Depository: Choice Financial Savings Bank

            Attorney: Paul Muske

            Weed Inspector: Gary Richter

            Assistant Weed Inspector: Steve Berberich

            Acting Mayor: Robert Herrig


            Water: John Schmitt

            Sewer: Darlene Arnsdorf

            Streets: Robert Herrig

            Hall & Park: Susan Evers

Brown County Engineer Wayne Stevens, City Engineer Andy Kehren and HarvestLand representatives Dennis Schreier and Roger Vaske were present for a discussion about the State Highway 258 project.  Stevens opened by giving some background on the project.  He stated the Brown County Board would like to see the road straightened for safety purposes.  Once the highway is turned over to the county in April, it would be renamed CSAH 16.  HarvestLand has expressed concerns that realignment of the highway may affect future expansion plans.  Concerns are the current placement of their LP tank and current state or county set-back rules.  Stevens provided the state statute stating the city’s set-back requirements supersede the county and state requirements. Therefore straightening the road would not affect HarvestLand’s future expansion plans. HarvestLand also inquired if there would be funds available from the county to help cover costs to move the LP tank.  A motion was made by Herrig, seconded by Arnsdorf and carried unanimously, recommending the county move forward with the straight alignment of Highway 258 and to take the current position of the LP tank into consideration

The agenda was approved with the addition of the League of Minnesota Insurance Trust dividend.

The fire department report was given by Fire Chief Warner.  He stated truck #5 was in need of new tires and provided a quote with the estimated replacement cost for 10 tires of $4,184.  Motion was made by Arnsdorf, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously to replace the tires.  He also recommended replacing the radio in the city office with a portable ARMER radio.  However, there are still some concerns being addressed with communication to CottonwoodCounty on the ARMER system. Thus he would recommend waiting on the purchase until these issues are resolved.  Chief Warner also stated truck #2 has been removed from service.  Plans are to change it over to the 1600 gallon tanker. The work is being done by fire department members and costs are covered by the Relief Association raffle and bingo funds.  On motion of Evers, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously, approval was given to move forward with modifications to change truck #2.  Once complete, truck #2 would replace the 1959 tanker.  Discussion was also had about the 60/40 contract split between the city and townships.  Mayor Richter and Warner will discuss possible changes to the split at the annual meeting with township officials. 

December 3, 2012 minutes were read and approved on motion of Arnsdorf, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously.

On motion of Herrig, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously, the following bills were approved:

Alliant   Energy Electricity -   November  $     1,787.70
Steve   Berberich Reimbursement for 2   chainsaw blades  $           32.05
Bolton &   Menk Professional Services   for Hwy 258 Project  $     2,758.00
Clements   Lumber brackets,   ice melt, light bulbs,CO2 detector  $        268.36
Comfrey   C-Store Gas  $        981.82
Comfrey Fire   Dept Expenses  $ 15,501.26
Comfrey First   Responders 3 lithium batteries,   annual payroll, oxygen  $     4,167.51
Comfrey Times Publications  $        248.24
Darfur   Electric Light bulbs for post   office  $        229.12
Friesen   Plumbing & Heating furnace blower wheels   & motor  $        790.00
Frontier Telephone/Internet -   December  $        377.61
Gopher State   One-Call 1 line locate  $             1.45
Hawkins Ferric Chloride, Tank   demurrage  $   1,173.97
Heiderscheidt   Digging, Inc Snow Removal  $        980.00
Hydro Kleen   LLC Jetter clean storm sewer line   $           95.00
Indoff Expanding Pocket   Files  $           37.29
Library Bills and Wages  $   2,325.99
Marlin   Helget-Auditor/Treasurer Truth in Taxation   Notice Costs  $           44.62
Jim Meyer reimburse for ring   binder, postage  $           22.68
Miller Sellner   Equipment Lawn Mower  $     2,671.88
MN Association   of Small Cities membership (six   months)  $        145.95
Payroll   Expense December Payroll   & Annual Payroll  $   4,866.62
Plunketts Quarterly Pest   Control  $        115.60
Rob's Service   Center tire tube for skid   loader, load sand  $           31.29
South Central   College Continuing Ed Law   Enforcement  $        200.00
US Postal   Service Stamps for Utility   Cards & 2 books stamps  $      414.00
Utility   Consultants, Inc 4 WWTP Tests  $        190.50
Verizon   Wireless Police Cell Phone -   December  $           65.10
Waste   Management Residential   Garbage pickup - November  $     1,082.05

The December financial report was reviewed and approved on motion of Herrig, seconded by Arnsdorf and carried unanimously.

Police Chief Meyer presented the monthly police report.  He stated 2012 had the second highest call total since 1989.

Public Works Director Berberich reported he went through the first monthly test with UC labs and it went well.  He notified council there are some problems at the water plant which control water levels in the tower.  He is working on finding new switches and replacement parts but finding it difficult to locate some of the parts due to the age.  Berberich also stated the new truck has been ordered and would like to start advertising the current city truck for sale on Craig’s List and the Comfrey Times.  Alliant Energy gave notice to the city they would no longer be able to service the city owned street lights on main street. 

 Arnsdorf reported the library board  will be voting on new officers at their upcoming meeting.  She stated everything was running smoothly.

Concerns were addressed about snow removal on business sidewalks.  A letter will be sent out reminding business owners of their responsibility to keep sidewalks clean.

Discussion was had regarding the need of a building permit for a fish house.  It was determined that if the fish house was built on a frame with wheels, making it not a permanent structure, no permit was required.

Adding the police CIS program to the city office computer was discussed.  Council recommended trying the current set up for a month and addressing it again in the future.

The 2012 audit contract with Oberloh & Associates was approved on motion of Herrig, seconded by Arnsdorf and carried unanimously.

The 2013 contract with Lutheran Social Services for use of the community center for Meals on Wheels was approved on motion of Schmitt, seconded by Herrig and carried unanimously.

Attendance to the Annual Clerks Conference March 19-22, 2013 in St. Cloud was approved on motion of Evers, seconded by Arnsdorf and carried unanimously.

On motion of Arnsdorf, seconded by Herrig and carried unanimously, monthly health insurance allowances in the amount of $450 were approved for Berberich and Kelly and up to $875 for Meyer.

The City of Comfrey received its share of a 2012 property/casualty dividend from The League of Minnesota Insurance Trust in the amount of $6,751.  Dividends were distributed due to a successful year with low loss claims.

The February council meeting date was changed to February 6, 2012 due to scheduling conflicts on motion of Evers, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously.

The meeting was adjourned on motion of Arnsdorf, seconded by Herrig.