Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 20, 2009 Council Meeting

John Markas started the meeting with a list of five requests. First was a change in the sewer rates from $.0158/cubic foot over 100 cubic feet to $.0250/cubic foot over 100 cubic feet. The sewer fund lost money last year, so a rate increase was needed. The City of Buhl needs to keep the sewer fund making some money so that we can continue to maintain the sewer treatment plant. The Council approved this request.

The next thing John asked for was a new lawn mower to replace the 2003 mower Buhl owns now. The expected cost is $9000 with the trade in of the old mower worth about $4500 for a total of $4500 to the City. The Council approved this request.

John’s third request was for to put out a bid for rebuilding 7 blocks of power lines in Buhl. He expects the cost to be @$200,000. This money will come from the electric fund that currently has a balance of @$800,000. The Council approved the bidding process.

The forth request was for a sewer line jetter, with an estimated cost of $10,000. The Council approved this request.

Finally, John wanted to spend $2400 for auto dialers for the three sewer lift stations in Buhl. If a station fails, the auto dialer will call a pre-programmed number to let the City know that the station is broken. Last year, the lift station on East Monroe St failed due to a lightning storm, and some flooding occurred. These auto dialers should prevent another flooding from happening. The Council approved this purchase.

Buhl Fire Chief Mike L asked that the City join the North East Co-op for emergency equipment (I made up the emergency equipment part, Mike couldn't remember the entire Co-op name) for $75/year. This allows the Fire Department to purchase emergency gear for a reduced price. The Council approved this request.

The Sheriff asked for @$300 for a back lit keyboard for the Buhl squad car. This will keep the deputy from having to turn on the interior light to find the correct keys on the laptop in the squad. The Council approved this request.

The City Attorney Al gave a brief update on a couple of issues. The Waste Management contract was completed. The Kinney/Buhl ambulance service meeting is scheduled for Jan 29 at 4:30pm at the Buhl City Hall. Al reminded the Council about the proposed agreement/meeting with the boy scouts concerning Lake Leander. We need to schedule a meeting for that issue.

First on the agenda, Buhl’s fire chief Mike L asked for money for a new defibulator. The City of Buhl will initially pay $12,239.25 for the defibulator, and will be reimbursed for all but $612. So the total cost will be $612, and Buhl will receive a small portable defibulator to go along with the normal one. The Council approved this request.

Next was a discussion of an ambulance training policy. After some confusion (on my part) concerning the title of the policy “Ambulance Training Reimbursement Policy”, I made the motion to approve the policy, but to leave out the Reimbursement part in the title. Basically, the policy allows the ambulance employee that goes to the training to receive the cost of the training as payment. The policy calls for the payment to be treated as payroll by the City. For instance, if the cost of the training is $450, then the City pays for the training, is reimbursed by Minnesota’s Emergency Medical Services Board, then passes that $450 on to the employee as pay for their time. The cost for this comes out of the ambulance fund.

Next up was the City of Buhl Personnel Policy. When Contract negotiations took place last, the Council appointed Shari and myself to be the personnel committee for those negotiations. The Council also tasked the personnel committee to come up with a Personnel Policy for all City of Buhl employees. Not an easy task. Shari and I have worked with the City Attorney and the City Clerk to come up with the Personnel Policy and also a Pay Plan for City employees. These two documents were presented to the Council at the meeting.

Jesse White wants a more formal structure to what the personnel committee does. For instance, how long does the committee serve, how many council members are on the committee? So he and I will sit down and try to come up with a more structured plan for the committee. In the past, the committee was appointed by the Mayor to negotiate the City Contract with the Union. A new committee was appointed each time the contract negotiations took place.

The Council approved the new Waste Management contract, which provides garbage pickup for Buhl until Dec 14, 2014.

The Council agreed to an easement with Ziegler on the haul road near Whiteside. Ziegler will pay Buhl $4000 for 10 years of easement. This is a significant increase over the $100 for 10 years we received last time. The City Clerk and Mayor did a good job getting a large increase in this contract.

The Council approved the contracting of RLK as Buhl’s contract engineering company for 2009. The terms are the same as they were in 2008.

St Louis county asked Buhl if we wanted a voting machine to own for future elections. After I teased the City Clerk about the last election (all in fun), the Council approved the voting machine. The annual maintenance charge for the voting machine will be $40-50.

The Council transferred some money from a City capital fund for payment of the East Monroe Drive sewer improvements. The total transfer was $1926.07.

Finally, the Council approved a Knights of Columbus Bingo request for two dates in 2009.

Lots of typing, but the meeting was only 1 hour. Try to catch it on TV and let me know what you think.

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