Zumbrota, MN 

Bridging the Past and the Future

City Council Work Session May 3, 2012




MAY 3, 2012 5:00 P.M.    



Pursuant to due call and notice thereof, Mayor Rich Bauer called the Zumbrota City Council to order at 5:00 p.m.  PRESENT:  Mayor Rich Bauer; Council members Dale Hinderaker, Sara Durhman, Tina Hostager and Brad Drenckhahn. Others present: City Administrator Neil Jensen, City Accountant Kim Simonson, Roger Ballstadt, Doug Somer, Bill Eberhart, and Sandy Hadler.



  1. Fire Department Pumper Truck Purchase

Jensen presented the Council with a replacement schedule for fire equipment showing three different scenarios.  The schedule took into account the replacement of turnout gear, SCBAs, and trucks.  It assumes a 45% participation by the City of Zumbrota and a 55% participation by the townships.  It was understood that these figures are fluid and assumes contributions by the townships and City.  Jensen explained in order for these replacement schedules to work the replacement fund would have to be front loaded during the initial few years.  The three scenarios were as follows:


Plan                 Total Contribution                  City Portion                Township Portion

1                      $150,000 Yrs 1-3                    $67,500/yr                   $82,500/yr

                        $75,000 Yrs 4 & beyond        $33,750/yr                   $41,250/yr


2                      $150,000  Yrs 1-2                   $67,500/yr                   $82,500/yr

                        $75,000  Yrs 4 & beyond       $33,750/yr                   $41,250/yr


3                      $112,500  Yrs 1-3                   $50,625/yr                   $61,875/yr      

                        $75,000 yrs 3 & beyond         $33,750/yr                   $41,250/yr


Jensen went on to explain that the first option will get the equipment fund in the black and keep it in the black sooner than plans 2 or 3.  Council member Hinderaker expressed appreciation at receiving the schedule and said it gives the Council some kind of picture of where they need to be in the realm of budgeting.    


The discussion then moved to how the City would attempt to fund this additional money.  Mayor Bauer and Jensen have discussed this matter.  A suggestion would be to take the money which has been set aside for the anticipated reduction in Local Government Aid (LGA).  This would allow the equipment fund to be funded and also allow the levy to be raised incrementally to cover the increase in expenditures.  Council member Hostager asked what would happen if the joint powers agreement were rewritten with different percentages of contribution.  Jensen explained the schedule is fluid and it is expected there will be fluctuations but at least there is a starting point for budgeting.


Mayor Bauer said he was under the impression the Fire Board would like to continue with the agreement as is with current percentages and underscored the fact that contributions will need to increase.  Council member Hostager said she is glad to see the City budgeting away from LGA and the Council is doing the responsible thing.


The next part of this discussion was about when the pumper truck should be funded.  The Mayor handed out a spreadsheet showing spreading out the replacement reduced the amount needing to be funded.  He stressed that the life of these pieces of equipment needs to be extended because the City will not be able to afford it going forward. Hinderaker agreed this discussion needs to be revisited as items are scheduled for replacement.  Council member Durhman said she understood that the Fire Department had been told they could purchase a truck in 2012 six years ago but that replacing the truck before the allotted 15 years in between truck purchases would not be financially responsible.   She asked how the Council felt about ordering the chassis in 2014 and having it built in 2015.  Both Bauer and Drenckhahn were comfortable with that.  Hostager said she thought the truck could be ordered any time in 2014 as long as the funds are available.  Council was reminded the City does not receive the first tax settlement of the year until July.  Drenckhahn also added he was glad to see the City look to the LGA funds for the purchase and that he didn’t like the possibility of a levy increase in a year when there could be a referendum.  He also stated he doesn’t have a problem with the Fire Department getting the truck when the money is there.  Durhman said her main problem with the purchase was that it was earlier than scheduled.  As an advocate of the taxpayer she said it was her job to ask questions.


  1. Fire Department Protection Agreement

At the last Fire Board meeting Hostager and Durhman were told the townships feel the existing fire agreement has worked.  Jensen reminded Council that an agreement needs to be signed this year in order to keep the 2% state pension money and that it should be done as soon as possible to avoid being out of compliance.  Hostager asked the Council if they thought more things should be spelled out in the agreement.  Durhman, Jensen and Hinderaker agreed the document was lacking and that it was a bare bones document.  Durhman suggested the agreement be signed now and a more detailed agreement should be drafted and approved at the 2013 Fire Board meeting at the beginning of the year.


  1. Air Packs

The Fire Board would like to begin purchasing air packs (SCBAs) this year.  The plan is to purchase seven per year.  Council agreed they are needed but was unclear if the money was to come from the City and townships or should be taken out the Fire Board’s equipment fund.  Representatives of the City will ask the Fire Board to clarify what the $113,000 in the equipment fund is earmarked for.  Hinderaker said he would like to see the Fire Department make a report to City Council when they need new equipment.                                                                                              

  1. Air Compressor

The air compressor used to keep the pressure in the truck air brakes failed.  Since it is a safety issue a new compressor was ordered by the City at a cost of $2,132.  The question is whether the compressor is a part of the building (which would be paid for by the City) or a part of equipment (which would be paid for by the Fire Board).  Durhman suggested the Fire Board be asked at the next meeting.


  1. Fire Department Carpet

The Fire Department carpet needs to be replaced.  A quote was received for $3,308.25 from Prigge Flooring.  Durhman asked what the budget was for maintenance of the building.  Jensen replied that the budgeted amount was $3,000 and is approximately $2,000 over budget currently.  Although Durhman agreed the carpet does need replacement she said it should wait until next year since the building maintenance was over budget already.  Jensen reminded the Council that the remaining half of the fire suppression system should be replaced in the near future as well.



Meeting adjourned 6:00  p.m.


                                                                                    NeilJensenCity Administrator

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