January 5, 2015

The City Council of Comfrey met in regular session Monday, January 5, 2015 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 Darlene Arnsdorf and Rick Kastner.

New owners Brent Kucera and Chad Mathiowetz along with other representatives were present from Braun and Borth Sanitation of Sleepy Eye, MN to present a proposal for garbage service in the City of Comfrey.  The council was given information regarding their service and costs.  They offer a single and family rate and pick-up would continue to be on Tuesday along with recycling.  The City would be responsible for billing for the service monthly which is similar to how our current contract is set up with Waste Management.  The council will review proposals and make a decision at the February council meeting. 

On motion of Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously, the following official appointments were made:
            Publication: Comfrey Times
            Depository: Choice Financial Bank
            Attorney: Paul Muske
            Weed Inspector: Gary Richter
            Assistant Weed Inspector: Steve Berberich
            Acting Mayor: Darlene Arnsdorf
            Water: John Schmitt
            Sewer: Darlene Arnsdorf
            Streets: Rick Kastner
            Hall & Park: Susan Evers

The agenda was approved as presented.

December 1, 2014 regular meeting minutes, and December 17, 2014 special meeting minutes were read and approved on motion of Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

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

Alliant EnergyElectricity - November$       2,082.37
Certified & DiversifiedExcavator work$         500.00
Clements LumberSalt, misc supplies, Labor- Christmas lights  $         107.88
Comfrey C-StoreFuel$         304.95
Comfrey Fire DeptExpenses$       1,037.50
Comfrey GroceryPaper Towels, cleaning supplies$           33.03
Comfrey TimesPublications$         190.00
CrysteelCutting edge for plow$         444.77
Darfur ElectricReplace ballast - Muni bldg hallway$           61.31
Dennis E Oberloh LTDLaser checks$         230.00
FrontierTelephone/Internet - December$         437.83
Gopher State One-call1 line locate$             1.45
HawkinsChemicals, tank demurrage$             5.00
Heiderscheidt Digging, IncSnow Removal$         900.00
Indoff IncorporatedCalendars, expanding file for 2015$           23.37
Kelly, TammyToner for police printer$           53.42
LibraryBills and Wages$       2,784.65
Meyer, JimReimb for Uniform$         157.98
Miller SellnerChain Set$         143.68
Muske, Muske & SuhrhoffProfessional Services$         108.00
Napa Auto PartsBearings - WWTP$           65.33
Payroll ExpensePayroll$       4,714.31
Plunkett'sQuarterly Pest Control$           85.00
Tom's Diesel ServiceLabor/mileage - repairs on road grader$         907.50
Utility Consultants, IncWWTP Tests$         218.25
Verizon WirelessPolice Cell Phone - December$           55.79
Waste ManagementRes. Garbage pickup - November$       1,241.12
Ziegler IncParts for Road Grader$         329.58

The December financial report will be reviewed at the next council meeting.

Fire Chief Berberich informed the council the fire department has four new members starting training classes.  Classes will be held in Comfrey, Springfield, and New Ulm.  Classes are 2 nights per week for 3 hours and will run through May 7th.  There will also be several Saturday classes they will need to attend.  Chief Berberich commented on the commitment and dedication it takes for new fire department members to get the required training to serve on the volunteer department.  There was also discussion of moving the air compressors to a different location as they are extremely loud when they kick in and are currently located right next to the police department office.  The noise can be bothersome and difficult to hear over if the office is in use.  A motion was made by Kastner, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously to move the compressors with an estimated cost up to $1000.

First Responder Captain Paula Barnes informed the council they had two individuals interested in joining the First Responders who are also registered nurses.  She estimated cost of putting someone through training varies from $450 to $1000 depending on the courses needed.  There are currently 14 members on the First Responders with coverage being the lightest during daytime hours as so many responders work out of town.  The council assured Captain Barnes they would back her financially with training costs to bring on experienced new members.

Police Chief Meyer presented the monthly police report.  He stated it has been a busy month again.  A total of 293 calls were responded to in 2014 compared to 206 calls in 2013.

Public Works Director Berberich reported the waste water treatment plant has been running well but there have been a couple of issues with the water treatment plant.  He will be checking into some solutions as he believes he may have a bad sensor again. 

Arnsdorf presented the library board report and reviewed minutes.  She stated the school will need to appoint someone for the board as the term for Carol Hayes has expired.

Mayor Richter reported there is not new information to report for the “Little White Church”.

A second reading was held for Ordinance #177 regarding the planting, maintenance and removal of trees and shrubs in public right of ways.  The ordinance passed and was adopted on a motion made by Evers, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously.

            A resolution was passed increasing the fees for building permit applications on motion of Kastner, seconded by Arnsdorf and carried unanimously.   The new fee to amend the Zoning Ordinance, apply for a variance or special use permit is $200.  The remaining fees are as follows:

                        0-250 sq ft                   $40.00
                        250-750 sq ft               $60.00
                        750-1250 sq ft             $80.00
                        Over 1250 sq ft            $100.00
                        All other structures      $40.00

Discussion was had regarding the Affordable Care Act and all of the new laws and how the changes are affecting the city.  A motion was made by Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously to establish positions of City Clerk-Treasurer and Public Works Director as full-time salaried positions, with no fringe benefits other than vacation, holiday and sick leave pay, and compensation based on prior established wage rate and historical average of hours worked, plus value of eliminated fringe benefits.   Options are still being looked at to fairly and properly set up the structure for the Police Chief position.

A resolution expressing acceptance and appreciation for memorials for Lee Wallin to the First Responders of $65 and Ron Lindeen to the First Responders for $125 and the Fire Department for $125 was approved by a motion from Evers, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously.

Approval was given Clerk Kelly to attend the MCFOA Annual Conference in Red Wing, MN on March 17-20, 2015 on a motion made by Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

A 2015 Cigarette license was approved for the Comfrey Bar & Grill on a motion by Arnsdorf, seconded by Kastner and carried unanimously.

A motion made by Kastner, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously for Kelly to attend a Payroll Law seminar on March 3, 2015 in Mankato.

A dividend for $4,312 was received from the LMCIT for our property and casualty insurance. The dividend is based on loss history of its members.

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