By Jordan Gerard
The Caledonia City Council met on Tuesday, May 27.
•The council started off their meeting by approving the building permit for Elsie’s Bar and Grill addition, which would add 928 square feet of new space on the east side. Administrator/Coordinator Mike Gerardy said the building permit does not require a variance since the building will not be extended to the property lines. The new space will be used for kitchen space and a walk-in area. The west side of the building will also be renovated.
•The city council opened a public hearing at 6:15 p.m. for a garage variance for Glen (Buck) Gavin at 608 N. Sprague St. He requested a five foot variance on the street side of his home and a six foot variance on the south side of his home, which would be into a side yard. The council questioned whether the garage addition could be moved back five feet into the backyard and therefore the variance may not be needed. Dave Augedahl, representing Gavin, said that he would prefer not to have the garage addition be built five feet back into his backyard because there is an existing patio there and he would also like to break up the outline of his home. The council approved a variance of three feet on the south side yard for the new garage addition.
•Dr. George Frisch requested that something needed to be done about the storm run-off at his home on 528 Decorah St. Frisch said he talked to the council about this same issue last year. He thought maybe a lift station could be put in and the water hauled away. The water is eroding his property and it runs through the city and eventually down to the golf course. The council said they would look into the issue and let Frisch know their decision.
•The city council approved a state-ordered mandate that will require the city to maintain the reflectivity of traffic signs. The mandate gave three options to determine when the signs need to be replaced. Gerardy recommended the option requiring the installation date of each sign being recorded, which is the most inexpensive option. This would allow the signs to be replaced every seven years and a database to be kept of when signs are to be replaced.
•The city council approved approximately $1,000 on fire hydrant maintenance, specifically cleaning the caps and threads. Fire Chief Gavin requested the maintenance program be continued and to maintain as many fire hydrants as possible with the money allocated. Firefighters will be paid an hourly wage of $12 to perform the task. The council requested that the conditions of the fire hydrants and how the inspectors will be selected and trained are reported to them.
•Fire Chief Gavin also brought concerns to the council about the liability coverage for the fire department when they are called outside of the city. Because the Caledonia Special Fire District is its own entity, they may not have adequate coverage outside of city limits. The council thought it best that the Special Fire District be covered under the city fire department or have their own coverage. The issue was tabled until further research can be done on the issue.
•The council approved the hiring of Karen Gran for a temporary part-time librarian position, which could become permanent, but would be opened to the public first. The council would not lose or gain payroll because the temporary position would be paid the current part-time librarian’s wages.
•The council approved a Statement of Interest from Houston County Emergency Management. This would allow the city to participate in a hazard mitigation plan that has a better plan and to save on overall damage costs if a major natural disaster was to hit the city of Caledonia. This plan is more inexpensive compared to Caledonia having its own hazard mitigation plan.
•The council made a motion to increase the City Clerk/Administrators wages by $8,000 and gave him credit for an additional 80 hours of vacation based on him dropping his health coverage through the city. This is to go into effect May 25, 2014. The Police Chief’s wages were also increased $.60 an hour effective January 1, 2014.
•The council approved the advertisement for bids for the Trunk Highway Shared Use Path project in Caledonia. Bids will be accepted at city hall until 10 a.m. on June 25.
•The council approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and Local Operating Engineers Local 49 that would add an additional holiday, the day after Thanksgiving, to the approved list of holidays. They also approved the hiring of a water/wastewater treatment plant supervisor.
•The council approved a temporary gambling permit for St. Mary’s School on August 26, 2014 and a temporary liquor license for the American Legion Post 191 on June 20, 2014, at Legion Park.
•The council approved to waive a liability coverage waiver on the presumption that the city has enough coverage to protect itself.
•The employee overtime records were reviewed and accepted.
•The council went into closed session to discuss labor negotiations. A statement was issued after they reconvened and the motion was carried to approve the 2014 Police Department Association and City of Caledonia labor agreement.