Ellendale City Council
By SCOTT GROTH
The Ellendale City Council met Thursday October 11 with Mayor Engel and all council members present. Clerk Louks; Roger Swearingen, maintenance; Pete Paulson, Municipal Liquor Store; Wes Brown, Bolten & Menk; Phil Kohl, City Attorney; and seven other visitors were also present.
The council, for the first time in several years, moved to give city employees a wage increase of 3%. The council felt the employees deserved the increase, as the employees have been more than patient during the recent recession. The council also approved an increase in council pay effective 2013.
Prior to the regular meeting, the council held a public hearing about the proposed street improvement plan. Brown was given the floor by Mayor Engel to go over the proposed plan. After Brown’s presentation, Mayor Engel opened the floor for questions. A question was raised about the ground water in Crown Ridge development, if there was anything in the plan to try and resolve the problem. Engel responded the plan covered streets, water mains and sewer, and the surface water would be another subject. Another question raised was about the surfacing of the two developments on the north side of town.
The council amended the agenda so the visitors who wanted to speak to the council could go first.
Brown asked the council if they had any further comments or questions on the street improvement plan. Engel again reinforced that this is simply a plan to have in place as guidance for the council. The plan does not have to be followed to the letter. If the city has a surplus of reserves and wants to do more in a given year, they may. The same would hold true if the funds are not available in a given year. Resolution 10-11-12-01 was passed, adopting the street improvement plan.
Beckie Johnson was next recognized by the council. She was concerned about the billing procedure on multi-unit properties. Johnson felt she was being overcharged on some of her properties. Engel explained the policy the city has been using for several years. The council told Johnson that they will look into the issue and try to make a fair settlement.
Caren Swearingen was next recognized by the council. Swearingen addressed the council again about the AFLAC policy she and Roger had with the city. An AFLAC representative accompanied her. Ms. Edwards informed the council she felt the city had let the policy lapse and during the time Mrs. Swearingen suffered some injuries that would have been paid for by AFLAC, had the policy been in effect. Kohl asked questions of Ms. Edwards about the policy. Engel asked Mrs. Swearingen and Ms. Edwards to meet with Kohl so the council could make an informed decision at the next meeting.
Roger Swearingen was next with his monthly report. He started by telling the council a new 12” tile had been put in by the county south of the retention pond. Swearingen said he has been getting some cracked valves; again, these are next to the water meters. Swearingen said the plow truck needs a new edge on the wing, estimated at $650. The council moved to approve the repair. Swearingen said he would also like to have some water inlet covers made of steel instead of the plastic ones he has, which have already broke. Swearingen said he was asked by a resident if the city could put up a street sign, which would allow the delivery of medical supplies. The council approved the signage. Swearingen noted a couple of hydrants have been marked out of service and would like to have someone check with Jim Johnson, water superintendent, as to why. Councilman Groth will ask Johnson. Swearingen said the hydrants will be flushed on Monday the 15th.
The council appointed Gary Gordinier, loan officer at First National Bank, to the EDA board. Gordinier will replace Kevin Bernhart, who will be retiring from the bank in December.
The council approved the claims and minutes for the evening.
The council next moved to close the meeting to discuss litigation strategy.
The next meeting of the Ellendale City Council will be October 25. Prior to this meeting there will be a question and answer forum about the upcoming vote on Sunday liquor at the Municipal Liquor Store. This will be held in the Community Building starting at 6:30 p.m.