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Industrial Lane tops Blackduck City Council meeting

Insurance updates and the Lady Slipper Celebration topped the discussion of the Blackduck City Council meeting June 6.

Gary Anderson from New York Life updated the council of the city's medical and dental plan renewals.

"You have an excellent plan," Anderson began, "and you've done very well with your package for your employees."

Anderson went over medical benefits with the council, giving a summary of the plan coverage.

Anderson told the council that he would also be meeting with the city's employees, going over all the coverages and making sure they understand what is available and how to utilize the plans and how to capitalize on the health savings accounts.

He then went on to explain a no cost benefit from Medica called an employee assistance program which provides counseling, legal consultation, financial advice, child care and dependent care referrals and community resources.

It also offers health club reimbursement, tobacco cessation programs and the Medica CallLink® nurse line.

"The in thing right now," said Anderson, "is preventative -- get people to stay healthy. They can earn a gift card just for filling out a form online."

The council thanked Anderson for his presentation before calling on Jim Wolden of Insurances Services North, to give his update on the city's liability insurance with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust.

Wolden updated the council on the worker's comp and the insurance package the city currently has, both of which have been renewed.

Wolden also explained that City Administrator Karin Elhard had asked him to give them an estimate on what it would cost for council members to be covered under the city's insurance package. No action was taken however.

He went on to explain that he had also done an physical inventory of the buildings two years ago.

"I re-evaluated all the buildings so now we are current on all the building values," said Wolden.

As nothing changed on the policies, the council thanks Wolden for his time before moving on to the industrial Lane project.

Mayor Jason Riggs called for the approval of Resolution 2001-07 ordering the improvement and preparation of plans for the Industrial Lane Project. The resolution was unanimously approved without any discussion.

There was discussion on the next item on the agenda -- Resolution 2011-08 which was the resolution approving the terms of the internal loan in connect with the Industrial Lane Improvement project.

The city would essentially be borrowing the money for the project from itself but will need to change some type of interest rate for the improvement assessments.

At previous council meetings, Steve Cochems of Anderson Fabrics, one of the businesses being assessed for the street project, stated that he would like to see a 0 percent interest rate on the assessment.

According the Elhard, city policy states that the council is required to come up with a percentage rate to be charged for each individual project. The interest rate varies with each project and could be assessed over a maximum period of 20 years.

The council agreed that they should charge at least 2 percent interest on the assessment loans.

Councilmember Nayda Cheney said she can see both sides of the issue, being an employee of Anderson Fabrics.

"Working for Anderson Fabrics, I would like to see us get the best rate available however, the city should get some sort of percentage for their efforts," she said.

Riggs agreed as well, stating that the council should go with what has been done in the past.

A motion was made for a 2 percent interest rate on the assessments and was agreed on by the council. Also approved was the resolution on approving the terms of the loan.

Cheney asked if the council could talk about the issue more as Jim Pinsanneault from Anderson Fabrics, was in the audience and she explained to the council that he would be going back to Anderson's to explain to them what was happening.

Pinsanneault spoke up at that time, saying that Anderson's were ok with the 2 percent rate and it was the opinion of Anderson Fabrics that the city should go ahead with the street project as planned.

Next on the agenda was the council's approval of a new firefighter, pending his background check.

Garrick Martin, who is also an EMT, had applied to join the volunteer fire department.

Elhard stated that Blackduck Fire Chief Rick Bogart recommended hiring Martin. After a short discussion, the council voted to approve hiring Martin, pending his background check comes back clean.

The council also reviewed and accepted the resignation of Charlie Anderson from his position on the Blackduck Fire Dept. Anderson, who had been with the department for 13 years, retired at the end of May.

Elhard was instructed by the council to send Anderson a thank you for all his years of service.

The council then discussed the Beltrami County sale of the building between city hall and Trails End Restaurant.

Elhard explained that the council had to approve the transaction before the sale which they did.

Next up was the awarding of the bid for the city's 1974 C60 truck with box and hoist.

The only bid presented was from Mike Brown in the amount of $1,105. His bid was then approved.

Elhard mentioned to the council that the Blackduck Chamber has asked if the city would be able to donate money towards the hiring of someone to work at the information center at the wayside rest this summer.

Following a short discussion, the council voted to award the Chamber up to $2,000 to be used for wages at the information center.

Shirley Gilmore then came before the council to update them on the Lady Slipper Celebration, slated for June 24-25.

She presented them with a schedule of events and brochure map of what wold be happening those two days.