September 2, 2014

The City Council of Comfrey met in regular session Tuesday, September 2, 2014 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.

The agenda was approved as presented.

August 4, 2014 regular meeting minutes and August 25, 2014 special session were read and approved on motion of Evers, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously.

On motion of Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously, the following bills were approved:

Alliant Energy

Electricity - July

$       2,412.51

Judy Augustin

Election Judge Training/Primary/Mileage

$         177.50

Bridging Brown County

Leadership Program tuition

$         550.00

Clements Lumber

Marker, paint, Lysol, screen

$         119.72

Comfrey C-Store


$         449.57

Comfrey Fire Dept


$       1,327.66

Comfrey First Responders

radio antennas, oxygen

$         184.96

Comfrey Times


$         260.98

Driver & Vehicle Services

POLICE license plates

$             6.00

Fredin, Julie

Elect. Judge Training/Accuracy/Prim./Mileage

$         201.50


Telephone/Internet - August

$         430.34


Tank Demurrage

$           10.00

Harvest Land

Summer Fill and Contracted gallons

$     17,415.06

Kelly, Tammy

Reimb for water goblets for Community Center

$         373.67

Kelly, Tammy

Election Judge Training/Primary/Mileage

$         113.40


Bills and Wages

$       1,664.41

Miller Sellner

Door for Skid Loader

$       4,695.00

Minnesota Department of Health

Quarterly water service connection

$         311.00

Minnesota Pollution Control

Waste Water Permit - 5 years

$       1,240.00

Minnesota Pollution Control

Land application Course - Sludge license

$         200.00

Muske, Muske & Suhrhoff

Professional Services

$         659.65

New Star Sales

Repair of work room copier

$           83.59

Payroll Expense


$       5,231.15


ATV-Cart Permit Required Signs

$         218.03


Wireless Doorbell for Post Office

$           24.99

Swift, Mark

Election Judge Training/Primary/Mileage

$         177.50

T & C Service Center

Road Grader tire tube

$           55.00


2 outdoor mats for community center

$           88.11

Utility Consultants, Inc

WWTP Tests

$         218.25

Verizon Wireless

Police Cell Phone - August

$           91.88

Waste Management

Res. Garbage pickup - July, Garbage bags

$       1,995.81


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

Fire Chief Warner informed the council there have been some minor truck repairs done. The department will also have 3 different SCBAs demonstrations to determine the best option for them. Each unit has a base price of $5200 to $5500. The department also voted to have their Community Days donation of $600 from Comfrey Area Pride (CAP) to go towards the new “Welcome to Comfrey” signs which CAP will be raising funds for and purchasing.

No first responder report

Police Chief Meyer presented the monthly police report stating we are 22 calls ahead of last year at this time. The sale of the old squad car was discussed and on motion of Arnsdorf, seconded by Kastner and carried unanimously the 2003 Chevrolet Impala with police equipment, lights, etc removed was declared as a surplus and open to advertise for sale.

Public Works Director Berberich reported waste water treatment plant is running well. He found there was a bad sensor at the water plant which he believed was causing the tank drainage issues. Berberich reported he did get a total of 3 quotes for road grader tires and found they were all very similar in price. The estimated total cost for 6 tires and tubes is going to be roughly $6800. After council discussion it was determined we needed to move forward with the purchase of the tires for the grader from T&C Services on a motion by Kastner, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously.  

Arnsdorf presented the library board report and stated Cassidy Gode would be the new student Library representative.

Mayor Richter informed the council he has been in touch with a couple of speakers and is waiting on call backs to get an information meeting scheduled regarding the “Little White Church” and its possible future.

The gambling application for St. Paul’s Catholic Church for October 26, 2014 was approved on motion of Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

A gambling application was also approved for the Comfrey Fire Relief Association for November 22, 2014 and approved on motion of Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

On motion Kastner, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously the 2014 Certification of Minimum Local Support for the operating expenses of the public library is set at $12900. This is the minimum base amount required to continue participation in our regional public library system.

The annual membership renewal for The Mayor’s Association was approved on a motion made by Evers, seconded by Kastner and carried unanimously.

 The first reading of ordinance #176 increasing the Mayor and Council salary by $120 per year and $10 per special meeting effective after the next municipal election was had.

On motion of Arnsdorf, seconded by Kastner and carried unanimously a resolution of support for Brown County Rural Electric Association to purchase the electric service territory, customers and property from Interstate Power and Light Company.

On a motion by Evers, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously a public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission to consider the request of Andrew Evers to allow construction of a detached garage which exceeds the maximum square footage and sidewall height set by the zoning ordinance was set for Monday, October 6, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at the Comfrey Community Center.  

The annual wage review was held. After discussion, on motion of Schmitt, seconded by Kastner and carried unanimously it was voted effective January 1, 2015 to increase the following wages: Steve Berberich’s monthly wage by $86.68; Tammy Kelly, Nick Ludewig, and Robert Kelly’s hourly wage by fifty cents; Helen and Corrine Herrig’s hourly wage by fifteen cents; Janice Ever’s monthly wage by $25.00 and health Insurance allowance for Berberich and Kelly by $50 per month.

A letter from the Brown County Auditor-Treasurer’s office regarding a tax forfeiture property in the city was discussed. No action was taken at this time.

A discussion was had regarding our current water and sewer rates for the city. The council discussed upcoming projects and maintenance for the plants. Our water tower is in need of repairs and painting and also an upgrade of the water plant will be needed in the next 3 to 5 years. Chemicals for both the plants continue rise as does operating costs. Clerk noted rates had not changed in over 4 years.

A resolution was passed increasing the city sewer rates by fifty cents to $2.50 per 1000 gallons with the base rate remaining the same at $25 per month on a motion made by Kastner, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously.

A resolution was passed removing the gallons of water included in the $10 base fee and leaving all other rates the same at $3.50 per 1000 gallons used on a motion made by Kastner, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously.

Garbage rates were also discussed and Clerk noted that Waste Management has on average been increasing out rates by 1% per year. The City has not adjusted rates in some time and will be increasing garbage rates an average of 3% to keep up with rates we are currently being charged on a motion made by Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

Councilors reviewed the proposed 2015 expenditures and revenue. A proposed budget includes general expenditures of $438,284 and general revenues of $231,282. The proposed levy included:

            General Fund                           $191,620

            Capital Equipment Fund             15,000

            Debt Service                             14,023

The proposed 2015 budget and proposed 2015 levy were approved on motion of Evers, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously.

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