December 1, 2014

The City Council of Comfrey met in regular session Monday, December 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM in the community center with all members present but councilor Evers who arrived at 7:08 PM. Attorney Paul Muske was also present. Mayor Richter presided.

The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag was recited.

The agenda was approved as presented.

On recommendation of the Zoning Commission, a motion was made by Schmitt, seconded by Kastner to approve the request of Randy Schroepfer for construction of a detached garage which exceeds the maximum square footage and sidewall height set by the zoning ordinance.

November 3, 2014 regular meeting minutes, November 12 and 24, 2014 special meeting minutes were read and approved on motion of Arnsdorf, seconded by Kastner and carried unanimously.

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


Alliant Energy

Electricity - October

$       1,483.60


Annual Contract for Website

$         375.00

Berberich, Steve

Carbide blades, shovel handle

$           41.50

Clements Lumber

bags, hose clamp, paint, straps

$           54.70

Comfrey C-Store


$         680.02

Comfrey Fire Dept


$           57.84

Comfrey First Responders

Medical sup., CPR/AED Training, oxygen

$         744.90

Comfrey Grocery

Broom, cleaner, toilet paper

$           79.24

Comfrey Times


$         154.25


Telephone/Internet - November

$         433.67

Gopher State One-call

2 line locates

$             2.90


Tank Demurrage

$             5.00


Bills and Wages

$       2,689.39

MN Department of Health

Quarterly water service connection

$         311.00

Muske, Muske & Suhrhoff

Professional Services

$         144.00

Dan Kastner

"City of Comfrey" on 2003 Impala

$           32.00

Payroll Expense


$       4,395.06


Heater, misc supplies, ice melt, shovel

$         198.86

T & C Service Center

Chainsaw blades

$           36.25

Utility Consultants, Inc

WWTP Tests

$         190.50

USA BlueBook


$         113.97

Verizon Wireless

Police Cell Phone - November

$         125.12

Waste Management

Res. Garbage pickup - October

$       1,241.12


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

Fire Chief Warner informed the council the fire department voted and the SCBA bid will go to Heiman Fire in the amount of $89,916.  The equipment may not arrive until the end of January and the receipt will be turned into FEMA for the grant reimbursement at that time.  The department is looking at the possibility of hiring 5 new fire fighters which leaves them short on turnout gear.  The department voted to apply for another grant for the purchase of new gear.  An estimated cost for the 27 members is $58,927 and the department would be responsible for 5% of the total cost with the rest being covered for by the grant if received.  Chief Warner also mentioned the need to have somebody in charge of calling out the weather spotters as he will no longer be available to fill the position.  Fire Chief Warner was thanked by the council for his 28 years of service as the Comfrey Fire Department Chief. He has committed countless hours to the department and has done a great job.

The new First Responder Captain Paula Barnes was present and informed the council October and November were busy months for calls.  She will also be scheduling a CPR refresher in either January or February for the department. 

Police Chief Meyer presented the monthly police report.  He stated it has been a busy month again.  With the first snowfall brought the need to issue some tickets for vehicles not being moved from the streets during plowing.

Public Works Director Berberich was absent but left his report with Clerk Kelly to review.  He reported there were two snowfalls this month and felt things went smoothly.  Both plants are working well. He had his first water leak of the season which was located on the Samuelson property so they will be responsible for the bill with Heiderscheits. He has been in contact with Braun and Borth and they will be putting together a proposal for the January meeting.  He has vacation scheduled for December 25- 31st.

Arnsdorf presented the library board report and reviewed minutes.  The board found out Carol Hayes could serve on the Brown County Library Board another term since her first term appointed was to fill a vacated position and was not a full term.

The meeting regarding the Little White Church was postponed but Mayor Richter informed the council a building inspector found the church to be in sound shape.  Gopher Alarms went through building and is going to put together a proposal.  The committee is trying to gather costs to put together a budget.  They were also informed by the State that they could apply to be a historic site.

The first reading was held of Ordinance #177 regarding the planting, maintenance and removal of trees and shrubs in public right of ways.  Discussion was had and any recommended changes will be noted for the final reading.

The alert messaging system options will be discussed at a future meeting once more information is gathered.

The gambling application for St. Paul’s Catholic Church for February 8, 2015 was approved on motion of Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

A resolution expressing acceptance and appreciation for donations for a memorial for Ivona Windschitl for $15 to the City Parks was approved on a motion from Arnsdorf, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously.

The 2015 Cigarette license was approved for the Comfrey C-Store on a motion by Arnsdorf, seconded by Kastner and carried unanimously.

Fees for land use permits were discussed and the council would like to increase fees to help offset the costs of issuing permits and variances.  The current fee structure is not covering the costs of issuing the permits.  Recommendations were made to increase the Variance and Special Use Permit fee to $200 and to double the application fees.  The Zoning Commission will also receive an increase to $10 for review of the applications. A resolution will be prepared and reviewed at the January meeting.

A new first responder member, Naomi Evers was approved on motion by Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

Two new fire department members, Gary Stancomb and Tony Groebner were approved on motion of Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

Pamela Gardner will serve on the Library board for another 3 year term. This appointment was approved on a motion from Schmitt, seconded by Kastner and carried unanimously.

Jon Schmitt was appointed to serve another 6 year term on the Comfrey Economic Development board which will end on December 31, 2020. This appointment was approved on a motion by Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

On motion of Evers, seconded by Arnsdorf and carried unanimously, Paula Barnes was appointed as First Responder Captain. Her duties actually started the middle of November after the resignation of Gretchen Ecker as Captain.

Steve Berberich was appointed as Fire Chief on a motion by Kastner, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

The library budget was discussed and a request to increase the City portion of the budget by $750 was made by Arnsdorf.  This same request will be made to the School.  A motion was made by Kastner, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously to approve the library budget with the $750 increase contingent upon the school approval.

Per terms of the PFA financing agreement a Wastewater Infrastructure System Replacement Fund has been established to deposit $.50 per 1000 gallons of flow annually during the life of the loan for future rehabilitation or expansion of the treatment system. This transfer deposit of $6,218 was approved on motion of Evers, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously.

A motion to authorize the clerk-treasurer to assign general funds as needed for year ending December 31, 2014 made by Kastner, seconded by Schmitt and carried unanimously.

The rural service district reduction percentage will remain unchanged for 2015. The annual certification was made on a motion by Schmitt, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

The February council meeting will be changed to Wednesday, February 4, 2015 due to scheduling conflicts on a motion made by Arnsdorf, seconded by Evers and carried unanimously.

A special meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 6:00 PM in the Comfrey Community Center to approve the final budget and levy.

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