Report on July 9 city council meeting

The agenda for the Tuesday, July 9, Sleepy Eye City Council meeting included an item not on the preliminary agenda distributed the day prior to the meeting: “Preliminary consideration of allegations against a City of Sleepy Eye Council member.” This item was added at the bottom of an already full agenda, which took the council about two hours to complete. At that time, Mayor Wayne Pelzel announced that an allegation had been received against Council member Larry Braun. At Braun’s request (allowed under statute) the consideration of the allegation was held in closed session.

Just under an hour later, the council re-opened the meeting and passed the following motion:

The City Council makes the following determination — a July 1, 2019 email from River View Sanitation co-owner Brent Kucera to City Director of Public Utilities Bob Elston constituted a complaint against City Council member Larry Braun under the Code of Conduct. The factual allegations of the email state a sufficient claim for a violation of the code of conduct. The complaint has been lodged in good faith and not for impermissable purposes such as delay. A hearing will be held on the complaint on July 22 at 5:30 p.m.

An earlier agenda item, concerning garbage collection, also consumed a considerable amount of time. Mayor Pelzel said the item was placed on the agenda at Larry Braun’s request and asked him to speak on it. Braun said he has heard complaints, and asked for comments from the citizens in attendance. The room was fuller than usual at a council meeting, with about 20 people in attendance.

The comments were generally in opposition to the collection of garbage occuring in the street in front of houses, rather than in alleys. Comments included: Too much hauling from back garages to streets; some houses have no sidewalks from back garage to front street, making it difficult to bring garbage cans out; on a couple occasions trash was not picked up because a large truck was parked along the street where the garbage can was placed; garbage trucks are driving on the wrong side of the street with bright headlights and flashing strobes, making it difficult for oncoming traffic to safely proceed; garbage cans left in front yards are unsightly; and, why collect on the street versus the alleys?

Brent Kucera, River View Sanitation, answered that the garbage trucks are heavier and hard on alleys.

City Attorney Alissa Fischer said City Code says garbage is generally picked up in alleys; and the contract with RVS says garbage is picked up at a location agreeable to the resident and contractor.

The council tabled action on the matter.

Other council business:

•Approved a request from the Armbrusters to place two signs for Sleepy Eye Coffee Co. and Sleepy Eye Brewing Co. on the existing pole above the Pix marquee.

•Called for the first reading of an ordinance to annex Home Cemetery, at the request of the Home Cemetery Board.

•Approved the second reading of the rental inspection ordinance, and by resolution adopted a fee schedule for rental license and inspection of rental property.

•Approved adding full construction of Elm Street NE to the 12th Avenue Railroad Crossing project as an alternate bid item.