Tuesday, Sept. 11, Sleepy Eye City Council meeting

At the Tuesday, Sept. 11, Sleepy Eye City Council meeting the preliminary budget and tax certification for 2019 was approved. City Manager Mark Kober went over the proposed budget, highlighting what he called significant increases for streets, and to EDA funds to concentrate on downtown improvements. The budget called for an increase in the tax levy of $145,000, or 11.74 percent, over the 2018 levy. Kober said the council can continue to work on the budget and adjust it down some before final approval in December. The concensus of the council appeared to be an inclination to arrive closer to a nine percent increase.

Kober also presented a spreadsheet detailing city taxes in area and similar sized communities, pointing out that Sleepy Eye’s tax is, and will remain, lower.

City Attorney Alissa Fischer, along with building inspector, Bernie Wenner, and Fire Chief Ron Zinniel, addressed the council about the condition of a home at 105 7th Ave. NE. with a long list of structural and habitability issues. The council determined the property as hazardous and ordered it razed. Fischer said the next step is filing the order in court and after a judge approves it the owner will have 30 days to fix the problems, followed by 30 days to raze the building. If neither is done the city can then proceed to raze the building.

Fischer also asked the council for clarification on the prohibition of front yard parking, at the request of the Blight Committee. It was determined the council would have a work session to consider options and likely amend the ordinance.

Kober told the council he and Ron Zinniel discussed rental inspections and that Matt Ibberson is interested in taking on that duty, with input from the fire department. Kober said the council should work on improving the ordinance. He said the current ordinance calls for a $50 fine if the property owner doesn’t cooperate with arranging the inspection, but it hadn’t been enforced. He recommended keeping, and enforcing, that provision.

Parks Director Steve Lingen received council approval to have a tile line installed at the softball park to alleviate wet field conditions.

Police Chief Matt Andres received approval to order a F-150 four-door pickup truck, to replace the department’s 2005 Expedition.