Report on Feb. 13 City Council meeting.

When the Sleepy Eye City Council met Tuesday night, Feb. 13, each councilor found a welcome sight at their spot—the new City Code Book—filled with page after page of city ordinances. The digital version will soon be available on the City of Sleepy Eye website, www.sleepyeye-mn.com, in fact it may already be posted. Citizens can now find each city ordinance they might be curious about.

The council also approved a contract with Laserfische OPG3 for archiving services at $12,348 for start-up and annual rate of $1,800. All of the city’s public record documents will be digitized—eliminating many boxes of stored records—and become readily available to the public through the city’s website.

One of the first items on the agenda at the council meeting was a public hearing on the renovation of the former liquor store to be used as a police station and public works office. With some additional paperwork needed, the hearing was left open to be continued next month.

Mayor Wayne Pelzel announced assignments to two committees. The Blight Committee members, who will advise on enforcement of the new blight ordinance, are Doug Pelzel, Dick Zinniel, Matt Vickery, Alissa Fischer, Matt Ibberson and Sara Hornbrook. Mayor Pelzel said he’d also re-established the Lake Improvement Board, with members Brian Cook, Matt Mathiowetz, Steve Morasch, Ed Treml, Sam Domeier and Tom Moldaschel. Pelzel said the group is scheduled to meet with a DNR official to discuss the condition of the slough (across Highway 4) which runs into the lake.

Al Windschitl and Clark Trebesch, of the Fire Department Relief Association, asked for and received council approval of an increase in firefighter pension payments, from $2,000 per year of service to $2,200. Windschitl explained the relief funds come from interest earned on investments, a two percent charge on fire insurance policies and city contributions. City council approval of the increase is required, because the city guarantees the amount. “Our relief fund is safely in the black,” said Windschitl. “We can afford this increase without any additional city money.”

Fire Chief Ron Zinniel was also in attendance to ask the council to approve a simple by-law change for the department. “Our monthly, first Monday, meetings begin at 8 p.m. as called for in our by-laws,” said Zinniel. “The members voted to change that to 7 p.m. Changes to our by-laws require city council approval.” Approval granted.

With Chief Zinniel already seated before the council, City Manager Mark Kober asked to take up another fire department related item that was scheduled later on the agenda—setting rural fire rate options. Kober told the council that he and the mayor and Chief Zinniel had met with the Rural Fire Association officers to discuss fire service rate options. He said the rural association asked the council to consider setting the rate for a three-year period, rather than the usual one year at a time. Kober said two options were discussed: option one set the per section rate in the $220 to $225 range; the second option would set the rate at $173 to $177, while requiring the rural association to pay their share of the most recent turnout gear purchase up front. Kober said he thought the rural officers liked the second option best. The City Council is invited to the Rural Fire Association meeting on Feb. 26 at the fire station, at which time the association will adopt one of the options.

With the city attorney absent due to illness, the council tabled a request from Sleepy Eye Liquor LLC to change their contract regarding campground reservations which they have had difficulty processing. Kober explained the city had already put in place a system for taking reservations by phone (the new number is 794-3736) and would soon have the capability to take reservations online.

Engineer Dave Palm brought the final MnDOT cooperative construction agreement for the 2018 Highway 14 project to the council for approval. The estimated amount for the city’s share of the project is $213,000 with an additional $15,000 for the flashing crosswalk sign at St. Mary’s St. and Highway 4 (crosswalk to the lake trail). A motion for approval and resolution for the mayor and city manager to sign the documents was passed. Palm said MnDOT’s dates for the project are March 23 for bids, May 21 for early start, and Aug. 17 for finish.

Palm also mentioned the 2020 Street and Utility project, reminding the council of their plan to “walk and talk” the proposed area in May to help set priorities.

The next City Council meeting is Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m.