Ellendale City Council
By SCOTT GROTH
The Ellendale City Council met Thursday October 25, with Mayor Engel and all councilmen present. Also attending the meeting were Steele County Sheriff Lon Thiele, City Clerk Steve Louks, Roger Swearingen, maintenance, Pete Paulson-, MLS manager, Caren Swearingen, Donovan Eaker and Steele County Commissioner Bruce Kubicek.
The council reviewed the contract prepared by the Sheriff’s Department. The contract will be a one-year contract that automatically renews at the end of the current year. The agreement calls for approximately 19 hours of coverage per week and spread as evenly over seven days as possible. The contract calls for the city to pay $3,261.00 per month in 2013. Included in the agreement is a 3 percent raise each year the county provides services to the city. The contract calls for the county to provide all vehicles and maintain them. Sheriff Thiele told the council he felt the city has, over the years, received more coverage than contracted. After a few more comments the council approved the contract.
Prior to the council meeting, the council held a question-and-answer session about the proposed Sunday food and liquor question that will be on the ballot. Eaker asked the council why, if you have been losing money eight of the last nine years, would you want to add another day? Eaker said she has been looking over the auditor’s report and believes the city loses anywhere between $87 and $227 a day.
Mayor Engel responded saying that the council has spent some money remodeling the liquor store and that those numbers probably would make the MLS appear to be losing money. Councilman Reiter injected that a couple of years ago the council decided they either sell the store or remodel and try to revive the business. The council at that time decided to pump some money into the store by adding a kitchen, taking down some walls, painting and adding new floors.
Eaker also asked about staffing, if the added day would mean overtime? Paulson was present to address this question. In his opinion he felt there would not be a need for overtime, except for the rare occasion of illness or vacations. Councilman Helland made the statement that there are a lot of groups on motorcycles or in old cars that are looking for a good place to stop when they are out for a Sunday drive.
Helland said, “We could be one of those stops.” Councilman Groth added there have been other businesses in town that have opened on Sunday to provide their prospective service and to boost their business. Paulson added the vote to allow the food and liquor is just a formality. The liquor store does not have to stay open on Sundays if the business is not there.
The council approved the amended agenda for the evening.
Mayor Engel recognized Caren Swearingen, who was present to get an answer on her supplemental insurance coverage. A motion was made to pay the asked for claim amount, however, the motion was defeated 3-2. The council asked for some clarification before making another decision.
The council approved the claims; cash control statement, financial statement, disbursement register and the minutes from the October 11, 2012 meeting.
Clerk Louks had one item for the council and that was from the county recycling office. The county has requested the city make a place for just one roll-off dumpster that will be used for all recyclables and a place for signage. Commissioner Kubicek added that the county has gone to this method and it will save quite a bit of money for the county.
The next meeting of the Ellendale City Council will be on November 8 at 7:30 p.m.