By Clay Schuldt
Andy and Sheri Allen attended the Jan. 14 Caledonia City Council meeting to request an update on the pending land encroachment issue brought up in November. During the November meeting the Allens presented a land survey and picture showing the adjacent property owners, Dean and Henrietta Foltz, had built a retaining wall partially on their property.
Since then Administrative Coordinator Mike Gerardy and the city council confirmed that the Foltzes’ retaining wall had crossed into the Allens’ property. Foltz told the council that he considered that land part of his property because he had been taking care of the land up to the fence line. Foltz’s argument was the land was his through adverse possession, and was prepared to take the issue to court. Foltz was cited for the violation and has made no effort to move the barrier. Foltz did send a letter stating that he is attempting to acclaim adverse possession of the property and will move the wall if this attempt fails.
The council informed the Allens that because Foltz has not responded to the citation, the issue will be taken to District Court for a hearing on Jan. 28 at 8:30 a.m. Prior to this hearing the city of Caledonia could not take any further action.
Highway 5 project delayed
The council received an email from County Engineer Brian Pogodzinski regarding the Highway 5 project originally scheduled to be completed in 2013. For budgetary reasons, the project will be moved to 2014.
The council expressed concern that the cost to Caledonia’s portion of the project could increase over the next year. Administrative Coordinator Mike Gerardy and City Administrator Ted Schoonover said they will meet with Pogodzinski to discuss the matter.
Change orders and payments
A change order to Dakota Supply Group was approved for an increase of $9,527. The bulk of the expense is for the purchase of extra water meters to meet future needs. In addition, the final payment request for Dakota Supply Group was approved in the amount of $104,226 along with a motion to accept the substantial completion date of Dec. 15.
At the previous council meeting Winona Mechanical submitted a change order for the sanitary sewer rehabilitation on North Pine Street. The change order included the purchase of a new power cord for the portable generator, but despite this addition, most of the change order was for a decrease in material lowering the cost of the project $18,960. Items under street repairs, such as hot mix asphalt patching, were removed from the project and others were scaled back, such as lawn restoration.
Mayor Robert Burns was concerned that the decrease reflected future costs that the city of Caledonia would need to address later. The change order approval was tabled until the Jan. 14 meeting to ask Davy Engineering the reason for the project reduction.
Since the previous meeting it was explained that Griffin Construction Co. could obtain a better price on the mixed asphalt. The change order from Winona Mechanical was approved with the understanding that the deducted items were to be completed by Griffin Construction Co.
The council approved committee and position appointments for 2013. Councilmembers Tom Murphy and Bob Lemke were assigned to the General Government Committee. Burns and Lemke will serve on the Public Safety Committee. Burns and Councilman Dewayne Schroeder will cover the Ambulance Department. Public Works, Health and Welfare Committee will be represented by Randi Vick and Murphy. Vick and Schroeder were appointed to Culture-Recreation Committee. Burns and Lemke will represent the council on the Seasonal-Recreation Committee. Murphy and Schroeder will serve on The Enterprise Funds Committee.
• Gerardy informed the council of groups using the city auditorium to play various games. Gerardy was concerned over possible damage to lights, scoreboards and other equipment if this continues. “I think we have to put limited use on it because it has just been a free-for-all,” he said. Councilmember Randi Vick commented that there needs to be a policy change to protect the building. City Administrator Ted Schoonover agreed to review and update the policy on usage to prevent damage.
• The council agreed to fund Music in the Park at a cost of $2,000, as the Arlin Falck grant was not approved this year. These funds will be used in the event alternative funding is not secured in time. The necessary funds will be transferred from the liquor store profits.
• The Smith and Schafer auditing proposal was approved by the council with Mayor Burns voting against due to cost factors. The firm did not present the lowest bid but promised more hands-on services.
• The council voted to purchase three computers at a cost of $4,144. The computers are for the administrative coordinator, accounts payable clerk and secretary.
• A 1.5 percent increase in wages was approved for the city accountant, chief of police and city administrator upon completion of probationary period. In a separate motion the librarian and assistant librarian received a 1.5 percent pay increase, with Burns abstaining.
• The part-time liquor store employees received a 1.5 percent pay increase with Burns opposed.
• The next regular meeting of the Caledonia City Council will be Jan. 28 at 6 p.m.