Mark Spanton of CenterPoint Energy was on hand for the June 10 Mayer City Council meeting, where he presented Mayor Mike Dodge with a check for $2,500. Fire Chief Rod Maetzold had applied for a CenterPoint Community Partnership Grant for funds to purchase a foam system, a pulse meter and blood pressure monitor.
Spanton was pleased to report that the grant program recently surpassed $1 million in donations to local communities to fund safety-related equipment and projects.
“At CenterPoint Energy our number one priority is safety and it’s rewarding to partner with communities to help them achieve their goals with new equipment, training or other safety-related projects that the grants afford them,” said Diane Englet, senior director of community relations for CenterPoint Energy. “We are proud that our Community Partnership Grants are leveraged with local funds to enhance safety in our communities.”
Somewhat reluctantly, the council approved a plan to repair and replace as needed the streetlight poles in the downtown section of County Road 25. A total of 28 poles sustained damage over the winter, which city staff felt was caused by snow plowing. However, the city’s snowplowing contractor, Molnau Trucking of Belle Plaine, would not take responsibility for the damage – saying that no inventory had been done before the winter season so there was no evidence that the snowplowing caused the damage.
Three of the poles need to be completely replaced and 25 poles need to be taken down, repaired and painted with damage primarily to the bottom three feet of the poles. Total cost of the project is $16,989.79. Of that total, the city will have to pay a $6,000 deductible and submit a claim for the remaining $10,989.79 to the League of MN Cities Insurance, explained City Administrator Luayn Murphy.
Murphy noted that all but two of the poles in the downtown area were damaged. Council members were not happy about the expensive repair, especially since the poles were just installed in 2007. They agreed to discuss the snowplowing procedures in detail at an upcoming work session.
“This can not turn into an annual expense,” said Councilmember Erick Boder.
In another matter, the council tabled a proposed ordinance on commission attendance. In asking the personnel committee to draft an ordinance, the council felt that city business was not always being conducted efficiently due to lack of a quorum at times or having members not always being completely informed on issues after missing too many meetings.
The proposed ordinance would give the council authority to remove a commissioner from his or her appointment if more than 25 percent of the meetings were missed.
Councilmember Bruce Osborn reminded the council that the commissioners are volunteers.
“Sometimes other things have to come first,” he said. Council members agreed that the personnel policy, which is currently being drafted, should outline reasonable reasons for missing a meeting – sometimes it can’t be helped.
Boder felt that the policy should be concrete and state that a commissioner would be, not could be, removed if too many meetings were missed.
“We don’t need a wishy-washy policy,” he said.
Mayor Dodge felt an attendance issue should be addressed by the personnel committee first. “If the committee feels there is a need for removal, that decision can be brought to the council for a vote,” he said.
A redrafted ordinance will be brought to the next council meeting for review.
In other business, the council:
• passed a resolution appointing Anna Boote to the Mayer Fire Department.
• approved a resolution amending a site/building plan for Schmidty’s automobile service station/convenience store, scaling back plans for relocation, remodel and expansion.
• thanked the park board, city staff, Deputy Jake Hodge and others involved in the successful Mayer Moves for Moxie 5K Run on June 1. “We had good participation,” said Councilmember Tice Stieve-McPadden.