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City matters top Northome City Council

Members of the Northome City Council met Aug. 8 in their regular meeting with a full agenda before them. All councilmembers were present along with Northome City Clerk Tom Bonar, Maintenance Supervisor Cory Lindley and Head Bartender Angela Stradtmann. Others present included Linda Dreher, Pat Devries, Carol Avelsgaard and Shirley Latterell.

Since there was noone present to address the council during the open forum, Mayor Jim Schneider moved forward to the next item on the agenda which was concerning the municipal building project.

Discussion was held on the final punch list. The council directed Bonar to enquire with the architect regarding several issues that may need to be added to the punch list including whether crushed rock was ever approved as a replacement for sod in the outside rear, water-stained ceiling tiles in the southwest area of the bar, and payment for utility usage by the contractor during construction. Bonar said he had received a breakdown of what the initial insurance settlement will cover. The council expressed its desire to, if possible, pay Lakeside Drywall directly. Bonar said a check from the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust was expected soon.

Lindley came before the council with concerns about the city truck. He told the council that the transmission in the city truck had broken. A motion was then made and seconded to authorize up to $800 to repair/replace the transmission. More discussion was held before the council directed Lindley to research the cost for a replacement vehicle. They also directed Lindley to see if Gerald Albrect would be interested in plowing snow for the city.

Bonar reported that Lindley had accrued 28 hours of overtime, equal to 42 hours of comp time, and was having difficulty using it. Bonar explained city policy specifies comp time only, so a council motion would be needed if the council decided to pay the overtime to bring the number of overtime hours back to zero. He noted Lindley was still due significant vacation time this year and it would be nearly impossible to schedule that much time off. The council then voted to pay Lindley for his accrued overtime and get him caught up. A discussion was held before moving on to the next item on the agenda.

Lindley requested that he be allowed to attend MRWA Wastewater Exam Refresher in St. Cloud Sept. 23-25 including taking the wastewater exam the final day. The council then agreed to send Lindley to the class.

In a separate discussion, Lindley asked the council what type of fencing should be erected between the new municipal building and the adjacent building and whether the fencing in the rear should be completed at this time. The council directed him to construct a fence between the buildings similar to what exists to the west of the adjacent building, to build a gated fence between the buildings at the rear and to postpone indefinitely constructing a line fence between the properties. Lindley said MnDOT had contacted him about the dip in the pavement in front of the new building where the road had been torn up to complete the water main hookup for the new building. Bonar was directed to contact the architect to see if this could be included in the final punch list and/or if the contractor would pay for the repair. Lindley noted that with the help of his summer youth workers, much painting had been done around town and at Boy Scout Point.

Bonar reported he had spoken with the League of Minnesota Cities regarding a potential personnel issue involving a bartender, and the recommendation of Stradtmann to terminate the position. He said the Human Resources Department had confirmed the city's prerogative to terminate provided several conditions were met. The council then voted to accept the recommendation of the head bartender and terminate the position.

Stradtmann requested approval to hire Crista Yerbich as a part time bartender. She noted her application was among the first batch of applications received. Bonar said the city's personnel policy states that all full-time employees were to be appointed by the council but there was no provision for appointing part time employees and that precedent included the hiring of fire department personnel in which the department did the hiring and the council only voted to approve or disprove. The council then voted to approve the hiring of Crista Yerbich as a part time bartender.

Bonar said of the quotes received for a single register point-of-sale system the low quote was from $4,479.00 from ComCash. The council directed Stradtmann and Bonar to seek additional quotes and to check with the Blackduck Liquor Store to learn what system it used and whether they were happy with it.

Stradtmann reported the previous head bartender had told a softball team the liquor store would sponsor them. She said the team had already purchased the shirts and requested the store be allowed to cover the cost of the team's entry into their league. The council agreed it would be part of the liquor stores advertising costs and requested that an invoice for it be placed with next month's bills

Stradtmann reported she is working on getting an acceptable logo for use on T-shirts and hats and that several people had inquired about purchasing such items. She requested the purchase of another 60-inch round table. The council then moved to approve the purchase of the table. Stradtmann also informed the council that Krystal's Karoake had been scheduled for Sept. 12. She requested the council set a policy regarding minors in the bar. They then voted to allow minors in the bar for food consumption until 10 pm after which time they could only be in the community room.

Stradtmann requested she be allowed to hire a cleaning person and she was to create a position for a cleaning person not to exceed 1 ½ hours per day. The motion was then made and defeated before the council recommended advertising for bids for a cleaning contract Stradtmann asked to be allowed to get a "smoking pot" for outside the community room door. The council agreed that would be okay.

Carol Avelsgaard passed out a Library building program progress report. She said total remodeling costs will run between $30,000- $40,000. She reported the library would like to utilize the driveway area to the west of their building for childrens' and other activities and asked if they could remove the "Council Only" parking sign. The council agreed. She asked if the city could cover up to $3,500 in building project bills until the library's building fund CD comes due in October. The council then voted to pay up to $3,500 in building project bills. The bills will be submitted to the city for payment.

Avelsgaard reported the two existing restrooms were being remodeled into a single handicapped accessible restroom. She requested the city contribute to the project. The council agreed to grant the library $3,000 from the enhancement fund and if not, from the tourism savings account so they can install a handicapped restroom. Bonar was directed to contact the county auditor to determine what the yearly economic enhancement grant is intended to be used for, including whether it can be used for the library's restroom project. Avelsgaard also requested the council consider place the library back into the city's budget for 2010 and suggested a $1,000 per year contribution.

Bonar reported to the council about the training institute he attended. He said most of the classes were excellent. He said he learned there are several areas where the city may need to review and/or alter procedures to fully comply with state regulations.

The council then approved the financial reports as submitted with the provision the pull tab income line item for the municipal liquor store be reviewed and corrected if needed.

Council discussion was held on the need for Resolution 2009-06 Paying Monthly Claims and Bonar was directed to review previous council minutes and/or policy regarding orders and payments for liquor. The council then voted to allow Bonar to pay necessary Liquor Store bills after having sent bills to council members by e-mail and receiving no objections.

A budget workshop has been set for 6 p.m. Sept. 2 prior to the regular September Council Meeting. Bonar was directed to draft a preliminary budget prior to the meeting and send it to all councilors.

A continuation of the Minnesota Basic Code was tabled until the next meeting.