Weather Forecast


Kelliher City Council approves fire dept. officers, meeting and master fee schedules

The Kelliher City Council met Jan. 10 with a host of business to take care of including granting approval for appointments to the fire department, passing a resolution on annual appointments and meeting schedule as well as approving a master fee schedule.

Present for the meeting were the entire council, staff members City Clerk Shelli Krueth and Head Bartender Tom Heck. Also present were Steve Pemble and Ross Rennemo.

As nobody was present for the public forum, the council moved on to approve the following consent agenda items...

• City council meeting minutes from Dec. 6

• Receipts totaling $203,900.36

• Claims paid prior totaling $108,176.37

• Claims list for approval $14,509.93

• Fire department and council payrolls

• Employee overtime report

• Delinquent water/sewer accounts

• Cash control statement

• Bank reconciliation report

Councilmember Richard Skoe inquired about comp time and after a short discussion, the motion was approved.

Steve Pemble of Widseth Smith Nolting, informed the council that the preliminary utility maps of the city have been finished. He will be contacting City Maintenance Supervisor Chuck Schultz to set up a meeting time to go over them and start plotting out where the water and sewer lines will be replaced. Once that is set, Curt Meyer will start on the PER.

Skoe asked if this would be the time to be reviewing which sewer and water lines would be replaced. A discussion was held regarding the time lines and the process of putting the PER together and when would be a good time for the infrastructure committee to get together and go over it.

Pemble will let Meyer know of the city's concerns and have him contact them when it's ready to go over. The infrastructure committee can then have a meeting to review the map and report at the same time.

Rennemo addressed the council regarding the appointments of officers for the fire department. They have decided to have the positions be three year appointments, staggered so there will be only one new appointment per year.

Previously they had been voting on their officers every year. They are requesting that it now be decided by the council. They will just bring their recommendations to the council. Their recommendations for 2011 are as follows:

Chief: Greg Vollhaber, a one year term; Deputy Chief: Ross Rennemo, a two year term andSecretary: Rick Thayer, a three year term.

As each of these terms expire, they will be three year terms each, therefore creating the staggered terms.

The fire department is also requesting the annual salary for the chief be raised and the secretary also to receive some compensation. Currently the chief is paid $400 per year. They are requesting to raise that amount to $500 and requesting that the secretary be paid a salary of $250 per year.

It was decided to have these changes be part of the Resolution 2011-1, as the appointments of the fire department officers are already part of that annual resolution.

It was also discussed that since the council approves the hiring of firefighters, they should also be the entity accepting the resignations of the firefighters due to the fact that they neded to keep the rosters current for insurance purposes.

The council reviewed the resolution with the current appointments/designations and discussed the positions that needed to be filled.

Councilmember Skoe requested to be added to the Infrastructure Committee. Councilmember Laura Nelson accepted the Deputy Mayor designation and was replaced on the Liquor Store Committee with Councilmember Dan Persons. Clerk Krueth was named the representative to the Community Development Corporation.

A discussion was held concerning naming someone to the Blackduck Ambulance Board. Krueth will contact them to see if they would like the city to fill the vacancy or not.

The official depository name was changed from Citizens State Bank to the First State Bank of Big Fork.

The fire department and first responder rosters were reviewed and changes were made as previously discussed.

Next was the discussion of the meeting schedule. Skoe suggested changing the meeting dates to the second or third Tuesday of each month, rather than the first Monday. Having the meetings on Tuesday's would be easier for the public to remember when the meetings are as there are no holidays on Tuesdays.

A discussion was held and the final decision was to set the council meetings for the third Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. with the council packets being handed out a week prior to each meeting.

Kelliher Public Schools sent a new lease agreement for the fitness center. A discussion was held concerning the lease rate, whether or not it could still be negotiated. It was decided to have Skoe and Krueth to set up a meeting with Superintendent Tim Lutz to discuss lowering the lease rate.

The council then reviewed the master fee schedule. A discussion was held concerning the liquor license fees and it was decided to raise the fees currently at $150 to $250.

Another lengthy discussion was held concerning the water/sewer rates.

After raising the water rates last year, the Water Fund is showing a profit, however the Sewer Fund is still in the red, making it necessary to raise the sewer rate this year.

After reviewing several spreadsheet scenarios, surveys of similar communities and the Utility Rate Study from 2009, the council felt it was necessary to raise the sewer rate to $12.50 base rate and $1.50 per 1,000 gal. from $11 base and $1 per 1,000.

Following the approval of the fire department rates, no other changes were made to the Master Fee Schedule.

The clerk informed the council that the annual audit would begin Feb 7.

Krueth then asked for clarification on the Vacation Policy which reads: "Once a year, vacation leave must be used/drawn down to 40 hours."

A discussion was held concerning what was meant by "drawn down" and what were the consequences if it didn't happen. The question arose because an employee hadn't gotten their vacation down to the required 40 hours at any point during the year and didn't want to lose it, so he inquired if "drawn down" meant he could get straight pay instead of losing it.

A long discussion was held regarding all the issues that contributed to creating this circumstance and what could be done to prevent it in the future.

The reason for vacation time is so an employee doesn't get burnt out and it would be better if they took the vacation rather then pay for both parties.

The new policy will read: "Vacation time may accrue up to 120 hours maximum. If an employee's vacation time reaches 120 hours, NO MORE vacation time will accrue until the employee uses some of the time."

The council also directed Krueth to pay that particular employee their accrued comp time and to inquire with a couple of individuals to see if they could be available to cover some of the employee's job duties as to make it easier for the vacation time to be taken. Krueth will write the changes for the policy to be approved at the next meeting.

The city received an insurance dividend along with graphs showing how it was derived and changed over the years from the League of Minnesota Cities.

The MMBA is holding a "Boot Camp" for municipal liquor store managers and employees again this year. The council agreed to send Heck and Persons this year as it was very informative and educational last year. The total cost to attend the conference will be $260.

The December liquor store income statement was then reviewed.

The council was informed that the auditors were up and did the annual inventory with Heck. The was presented with "Before" and "After" inventory reports. There was a discrepancy of $1,560.61. Discussion was held regarding the processes in place which most likely lead to the discrepancy and what could be done to minimize this in the future. No real solution was identified.