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Zumbrota, MN
Bridging the Past and the Future

February 28, 2004 Special Council Meeting Minutes


SPECIAL MEETING           FEBRUARY 28, 2004   9:00 A.M.           TOWN HALL


This is a summary only.  The complete text is available for inspection at city hall.

            Motion Wilkinson, second Borgschatz to adopt the agenda.  Carried 5‑0‑0.


The purpose of this special meeting was to discuss the 2005 budget and potential service fees, and to discuss issues related to the police department.


1.  At the first meeting in January, it was suggested that a special meeting be called to discuss the 2005 Levy/Budget- either as an evening or Saturday morning workshop.  It was suggested that the discussion include the potential implementation of service fees such as hydrant and street light fees.  Presently, Mayor Bauer reviewed information obtained from the League of MN Cities web site that included the following related to the City of Zumbrota for 1997-2003:  market values, tax capacities, state LGA/HACA revenues/tax levies and property tax distributions.  The major impact to the city’s budget is the huge cut in Local Government Aid (LGA)- that went from $617,642 in 2001 to $422,023 in 2004.  Balancing the budget is necessitated by utilizing reserves.  In 2004, approximately $50,000 in cash reserves (fund balance) is projected as being needed to balance the General Fund budget.  Additional service utility fees, such as street light or water hydrant were discussed.  It was suggested that these fees, and/or franchise fees, be considered in the future- perhaps when reserves reach a pre-determined level.  Other items of discussion included utilizing Goodhue County for law enforcement instead of city staff and equipment, discontinuing one or both of the current COPS Grant Projects, privatizing services where feasible, raising utility fees, increasing  water and sewer connect fees, and reviewing developers’ fees in new developments.  No action was needed or taken. 


2.  At the February 5 meeting, Council voted to add “police department discussion” to the February 28 special meeting agenda.  Council members had received several complaints about the police department.  Presently, Councilmember Wilkinson read the first two sentences of the Vision 2020 of the Strategic Planning Project completed in 2001.  It read “People of all ages are proud of Zumbrota and feel supported and nurtured by the community.  New people are welcomed and quickly feel valued and safe”.  She suggested this be shared with the police department.  Complaints/comments received included, but were not limited to, the following:  being treated with lack of respect; being intimidated; “prospecting” for DUIs; sitting and/or operating unnecessarily outside city limits; (young adults) being stopped and given breathalyzer for no apparent reason; being asked, without apparent reason, “have you been drinking?”; following a vehicle while squad was driving without lights on at night.  It was noted, however, that there may be a perception that any stop is an illegitimate stop- and that is not the case.  The department needs to continue to enforce the laws.  In summary, Council presented the message that “prospecting” will not be tolerated; unsolicited patrolling outside corporate limits will not be tolerated; respectfully treating those that have been stopped will be expected.  It was also noted that Council does not intend to micromanage, and Police Chief Gary Selness will be expected to see that this message is received by the officers, and followed.  It was also noted that this negativity has taken on a life of its own and that it will not go away overnight. 



Motion Benson, second Wilkinson to direct Mayor Bauer, Councilmember Borgschatz and Administrator Johnson to discuss these expectations with Police Chief Gary Selness.  Carried 5-0-0.


Mayor Bauer adjourned the meeting at 11:35 a.m.




                                                                                    Ronald S. Johnson, City Administrator


City of Zumbrota; 175 West Avenue; Zumbrota, MN 55992