Zumbrota, MN 

Bridging the Past and the Future

April 1 Council Minutes






APRIL 1, 2010 6:00 P.M.    



Pursuant to due call and notice thereof, Mayor Rich Bauer called the Zumbrota City Council to order at 6:00 p.m.  PRESENT:  Mayor Rich Bauer; Council members Doug Borgschatz, Betty Jo Grothe, Dale Hinderaker and Sara Nygaard. Others present: City Administrator Neil Jensen, Public Works Director Rick Lohmann, Community Development Director Dan King, Police Chief Gary Selness, City Attorney Matt Rockne, Library Director James Hill , Jim Wedge, Brian Haugen, Larry Zielsdorf, Mae Eckert, Paul Kalass, Scott Logan, Barbara Stussy, Sue Hinrichs, Ben Kerl, Freddy Groth, Denny Ness, Dirk Niles, Wayne Gadient, and NewsRecord Reporter Sandy Hadler.


The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance.



Motion Borgschatz, second Grothe to adopt the agenda.  Approved 5-0-0.



Motion Hinderaker, second Borgschatz, to approve the regular meeting minutes of March 18, 2010.  Approved 5-0-0.



Motion Nygaard, second Grothe to approve the accounts payable of $4,233.90.  Approved 5-0-0.


Public Comment: 

Freddy Groth was present to request a speed limit sign on 435th Street.  Council member Borgschatz reminded him the state regulates speed limit on all public roads. 


Mae Eckert requested the Council stop paying longevity pay to employees in order to address budget concerns.


Paul Kalass expressed concern the City would try to reach out and control the rural area surrounding the City.  He has property within the 2 mile buffer zone currently being considered for wind energy projects.  Kalass stated wind energy conversion systems benefit farmers and the City should proceed with caution.


Public Hearings/MeEtings: 

The public hearing was opened at 6:05 pm.  The Mayor gave a brief overview of the proposal to start a $4.25 monthly street lighting fee and a $0.75 monthly storm sewer fee.  Mae Eckert asked how much the fees would raise.  It is estimated the street lighting free will raise $65,700 per year and the storm water fee will raise approximately $8,000 per year.  Also a resident had called and requested the fee not be used in general fund.  Statute states these types of fees must be accounted for in their own special revenue fund.  The public portion of the meeting closed at 6:20 pm.


Unfinished Business:

7-a.  2010 Budget Discussion

The Mayor informed the Council that the Zumbrota Area Ambulance dues had been reduced from $4 to $3 per person.  There is still uncertainty regarding the LGA cuts for 2010.  The City/County EDA meeting indicated that the budgets are being changed to anticipate the reduction in state funding.  Council member Hinderaker stated he felt the City of Zumbrota needs to address the reductions immediately.  Administrator Jensen reminded the Council Governor Pawlenty still has unallotment authority.  What the Governor will do is unknown.  Jensen also stated the municipal reserves will diminish and the City needs to find ways to increase revenue.  Cuts may become more visible and LGA will likely be gone in the future.  Jensen stated in the future it may be necessary to cut entire departments if there is no increase in revenue.  The City needs to maintain infrastructure and property so larger future expenditures to repair and rebuild may be avoided.  Borgschatz said groups could be encouraged to volunteer to do some activities such as cut grass at the ball fields.  Council member Nygaard agreed.  Council member Hinderaker said he thought public entities should work cooperatively to share equipment.  Mayor Bauer also added that Cannon Falls is proposing county wide law enforcement.


7-b.  Goodhue Wind LLC Buffer Zone Agreement

Borgschatz expressed he believes Resolution 2010-5 should not be withdrawn.  The resolution requests a two mile buffer around the City.  He stated future developers of wind projects and other projects need to contact the City.  Nygaard asked if this resolution was setting precedence and if the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) can over rule the resolution.  City attorney Rockne said the PUC probably could.  Mayor Bauer said the resolution is sending a message to the PUC that this project is OK but no more.  Bauer asked if individuals can acquire wind rights without the PUC.  Ben Kerl from Goodhue Wind said yes.  Nygaard questioned whether property owner’s rights were being infringed upon.  Council member Grothe asked if the agreement could be tabled.  Kerl stated that resolutions are not binding on the PUC but they don’t often overrule cities.  The agreement would set a precedence that cities and developers can work together and validates a two mile buffer zone.  Hinderaker stated that health, growth and industry are all concerns and the city needs to protect its ability to grow.  The agreement is analogous to spot zoning and the biggest concern of the agreement is potential adverse effect on the Highlands.  Nygaard and Grothe requested more time.  Motion Grothe, second Nygaard to table the Goodhue Wind LLC Buffer Zone Agreement.  Approved 5-0-0.




8-A.  Street Lighting and Storm Water Utility Fee

Hinderaker told the council that property values for the City were up very slightly.  Fees are a quick solution to the shortfall in tax growth.  Borgschatz asked if the fees could be approved yearly possibly in July during budget preparation time.  Jensen said that could be done and there is a possibility that some of the revenue burden could be transferred from fees to the levy over time.  Borgschatz also asked if the level of lighting could be adjusted.  Red Wing turned off every other street light.  Nygaard said she felt the storm water and street lighting fees were preferable to cutting services.  If approved the $0.75 storm water fee added to the water and sewer bills would replace the levy line item for storm water.  City staff was directed to draft an ordinance establishing a $4.25 monthly street lighting fee and $0.75 monthly storm water fee for the next meeting. 




City Administrator Neil Jensen

Reminded the Council the Waste Management contract is up for renewal this year and would need to be reviewed. 


Public Works Director Rich Lohmann;

Reported there had been digester cleaning problems which still need to be resolved.


Mayor Rich Bauer;

Told the Council the Zumbrota Area Ambulance fees had been reduced, the City had been invited to tour the Red Wing Solid Waste Disposal Site and the Board of Equalization meeting would be Wednesday, April 7th.


Meeting adjourned 7:20 p.m.


                                                                                    Neil Jensen City Administrator

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