NYA City Administrator to step down in August

NYA City Administrator Tom Simmons announced his early retirement on Monday. (NYA Times photo by Adam Gruenewald)
NYA City Administrator Tom Simmons announced his early retirement on Monday. (NYA Times photo by Adam Gruenewald)

NYA City Administrator Tom Simmons is stepping down after 13 years on the job.
Simmons, 64, plans to stay on until his replacement is found, which could come as early as Aug. 1.
Council members approved his resignation on Monday and also OK’d the hiring of St. Paul-based Springsted, Inc., as the search firm for a cost not to exceed $13,300.
Among the items included in the contract are the development of the community profile, conducting interviews and reaching an employment agreement.
Simmons expected council to meet with Springsted in the coming weeks and also said they will look at combining his position with that of Community Development Director Chelsea Alger.
“I’m shooting for August 1,” said Simmons, “assuming there are no glitches in getting a city administrator.”
The timing was right for Simmons, who previously was an office manager at Bongard’s Creameries and assistant city administrator in Hastings.
“I just thought it was time,” said Simmons, who plans to stay in NYA with his wife of 41 years Dottie, a retired school teacher.
At the forefront of his plans are to keep in touch with his three kids, Kevin, Kelli Jo and Kortney, and six grandkids.
Also Simmons said he plans to do some traveling including a trip to a summer cabin in Montana, near where he grew up.
Among the highlights in his time at NYA, Simmons mentioned group efforts to expand senior housing, new water tower, wastewater treatment plant, new industrial park and pavilion renovations.
Leaving the city in capable hands is a priority for Simmons as well.
“I’m staying until somebody is on board,” he said. “When they come into the new position I’ll hopefully be able to help them.”
In other news, council members began a discussion on potential changes to in the city code regarding nuisance violations.
While they were on board with backyard composting and abatement restriction fees proposed by Alger, there was some concern regarding a public intoxication and open container violation proposed by Town Deputy James Fogarty of the Carver County Sheriff’s Office.
“Time after time we’ll get violation notices during the year,” said Alger. “The hope is to curb some of that by doing this. I know some look at administrative penalties as a way for the city to make money, but the real spirit is to gain better compliance.”
Fogarty said adding alcohol violations in the loitering and disorderly conduct (Sec. 680.02) would keep NYA in line with the other 10 cities in the county with similar laws.
“If a crime is left unchecked, it will expand exponentially,” said Fogarty. “We do have discretion in enforcing this. If you are an individual having a beer and walking across the street to visit your neighbor, the officer has discretion. Is this person causing disorderly conduct? No they’re not.”
Mayor Tina Diedrick questioned the addition of the rule.
“Certainly I want you guys to have all the tools possible to enforce the law,” said Diedrick, adding they already have those tools under other sections of disorderly conduct and state statutes. “I just disagree. If they’re disorderly, you have the ability… to enforce disorderly conduct whether they have an open bottle in their hand, are intoxicated or sober.”
Questions also arose regarding the effect it would have on bars, Stiftungsfest and even town baseball games.
“I foresee a problem coming with Stiftungsfest,” said Fogarty. “In years past, Stiftungsfest I have been involved with… they have enforced nobody taking alcoholic beverages outside of Stuftungsfest grounds. Basically we shouldn’t have been doing that.”
Fogarty will likely meet with Stuftungsfest Committee and council will continue to mull over potential changes before revisiting the issues at an upcoming meeting.
Council members also approved an as-needed contract with Municipal Development Group for planning services and warehouse expansion and variance for Par 3 Real Estate at 665 Tacoma Boulevard.
They also OK’d the sale of $1,985,000 in general obligation bonds for the 2010 City Hall project.
Mark Ruff of Ehlers, the city’s financial advisor, explained that the city had previously used Build America Bonds for the project.

On the negative side, sequestration has affected the rebates received from the government on those bonds.
“One of the things that is on the chopping block is those rebates,” he said. “Right now it’s not a substantial amount, but it’s $3-4,000 a year.”
On the more positive side, interest rates have dropped, giving the city the opportunity to refinance the bonds through Wells Fargo.
“Overall this will enable you to save in the neighborhood of $25,000 per year in the tax levy,” he said, explaining there will be no change in the length of the bonds which are on the books until February 2031.
The NYA City Council will next meet on May 13 at 6:30 p.m.

Contact Adam Gruenewald at [email protected]