Zumbrota, MN 

Bridging the Past and the Future

December 18, 2014 Council Minutes







DECEMBER 18, 2014

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 Dale Hinderaker, Sara Durhman, and Brad Drenckhahn; Absent: Tina Hostager. Others present: City Administrator Neil Jensen,  Community Development Director Dan King, City Attorney Matt Rockne, Public Works Director Mike Olson, Library Director James Hill, Sandy Hadler, Brian Haugen, Police Chief Gary Selness, Police Chief Patrick Callahan, Sandy Hadler, Stephan Jennebach, John Breene (DFA), Lucy Schwarz (DFA), Ron Collette (DFA), Steve Matthees and NewsRecord reporter Tawny Michaels.  


The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance.



Motion Drenckhahn, second Durhman to adopt the agenda.  Approved 4-0-0.



Motion Hinderaker, second Durhman, to approve the regular City Council meeting minutes of December 4, 2014.  Approved 4-0-0.



Motion Drenckhahn, second Hinderaker to approve the accounts payable of $23,952.11.

Approved 4-0-0.



Stephan Jennebach, who lives just outside of town, was present to ask the Council not to waive the October penalty fees for DFA as they have requested. 




Unfinished Business:

7-A.  DFA Penalty Waiver Request

John Breene from DFA addressed the Council about the request to have the fines from the October 2014 DFA sewer bill waived.  A letter, drafted by an attorney and signed by Mr. Breene had been delivered to the Council previously.  DFA took the position that the doubling of penalties was in violation of City Ordinance.  He spoke about how production has improved drastically since the May/June timeframe and that he felt accusations about discharge and a mysterious black sludge were unfair to DFA’s name and reputation.  Steve Matthees spoke of how they have spent almost $750,000 to improve how waste is handled in the past years.  Jensen referenced the City of Zumbrota’s permit with DFA and stated the DFA agreement supersedes the ordinance.  He did say that the company had begun to give City staff notifications over the past week of possible infractions.  Lucy Schwarz said the testing available does not allow them to catch all infractions in a timely manner.  Drenckhahn said he felt Council had to act in order to protect the multi-million dollar waste treatment plant.   He would be willing to revisit the penalty structure if DFA can remain in compliance over the next few months.


Discussion then moved to the installation and implementation of the new sampler.  The sampler has been installed by the City and samples taken from there will be split between DFA and the WWTP for testing.  There was also talk about where the black sludge was coming from.  Matthees said he did not believe the sludge was coming from DFA.  Olson said he would prefer to have the conversation about the sludge after the testing came back.


The DFA representatives stressed the plant is constantly improving their waste handling procedures and making changes all the time.  Mayor Bauer said prior to May things were good and he would like to go back to that time.  Durhman said she appreciates DFA’s efforts to correct this problem but did not feel the City should back off the fines which DFA has agreed to.  Area residents do not want Zumbrota to be the town that smells.  They are tired of it.   The increased fines were put in place to get DFA’s attention and it looks like that is working.  Hinderaker agreed the citizens of Zumbrota have had enough and the WWTP is being taxed.  Olson said he would appreciate better communication even with the little things.    Breene  thanked the Council for listening to their concerns.   


Motion Drenckhahn, second Durhman to not waive the penalties for the October 2014 DFA sewer bill in place.  Approved 4-0-0.


7-B.  Comprehensive Plan Update

King reported the contract has been sent in.  The next few steps will be to set up a time line and create a steering committee for the Comprehensive Plan Update.



8-A.  Resolution 2014-15 Approve 2015 Budget and Levy collectible in 2015

Motion Drenckhahn, second Durhman to approve Resolution 2014-15 Approve 2015 Budget and Levy collectible in 2015.  Approved 4-0-0.


8-B.  2015 Tobacco License Approval

Motion Hinderaker, second Drenckhahn approve the following 2015 tobacco licenses:

Casey's General Store # 2809

Casey's General Store #2810

Kwik Trip, Inc. # 463

Matthees Midtown Texaco

The Guilty Goose Inc.

Zumbrota Super America 

Approved 3-0-1 (Durhman abstaining).



8-C.  Handicap Parking Request St. Francis Health Service

The new addition to the St. Francis facility has shifted the entrance to the Bridges to the north side of the building.  St. Francis is requesting a handicap parking stall. 


Motion Durhman, second Drenckhahn to approve the handicap sign on the North side of St. Francis facility.  Approved 4-0-0.


8-D.  LMC Waiver Liability Insurance

Motion Hinderaker, second Drenckhahn to approve the LMC liability coverage waiver form and not waive the liability limits.    Approved 4-0-0.


8-E.  On and Off Sale Liquor License Approval

The Zumbrota Liquor Store has been sold to Barney Nesseth and Sara Durhman.  The business will be named The Guilty Goose.  It requires a new on and off sale liquor license.  Motion Hinderaker, second Drenckhahn to approve the on and off sale liquor license for The Guilty Goose.    Approved 3-0-1 (Durhman abstaining).


8-F.  WWTP Sludge Grinder

Olson presented quotes for a sludge grinder for the WWTP. The first quote is from Electric Pump for $8,737.00 and requires the return of the old cutter cartridge. The second quote is from Dakota Pump and Control, Inc. for $10,431.07 and also requires the return of the old cutting cartridge. City staff will install.  Motion Hinderaker, second Durhman to approve the purchase of a sludge grinder from Electric Pump for $8,737.   Approved 4-0-0.


  1. Reports

Community Development Director Dan King

Informed the Council the City had not received either the DNR Legacy grant for the trailhead or the Small Cities Rehab grant. 


City Accountant Kim Simonson

Told the Council the financial software is in the process of being installed.


Police Chief Gary Selness

Reported he believes that Chief Callahan is transitioning well into the police chief position.  He thanked the Mayor and Council for 34 years of employment.  They, in turn, thanked him for his excellent years of service.


Mayor Richard Bauer:

Thanked the Chief for his years of service.  He informed the Council the Fire Board meeting went well and the 1985 pumper will be sold.  He also handed out 2015 appointments for the Council to review.


Meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.


                                                                                    Neil Jensen City Administrator

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