St. Boni establishes consolidation committee

By Lorrie Ham

The St. Boni City Council established a St. Boni/Minnetrista Consolidation Research Committee at its Nov. 6 meeting. The council also set the date of Nov. 19 for a joint meeting with the Minnetrista Council to discuss possible interest in consolidation.
Mayor Rick Weible said the committee would be charged with laying out the facts about a possible consolidation, along with the statutory processes that would be required.
“Minimally, by talking with Minnetrista we can learn best practices from each other and find ways to work together,” said Weible.
Councilmember Joe Arwood said he would like to see the committee start with proposing reasons why the city should consider consolidation. “I’d like to see the committee’s focus begin with the pros and cons, instead of the mechanics,” he said. Councilmember Terrill Anderson agreed. “We need to see the advantages and disadvantages,” he said.
Councilmember Bob Smestad suggested the committee start by reviewing the “huge archive” of information that was gathered during the city’s prior consolidation study.
Weible and Anderson offered to represent the council on the committee, while Fred Keller and Mary Bishop were appointed from the city’s planning commission. Keller suggested that business owner Donn Thurk, who was instrumental in the previous consolidation study, might want to be involved. The council agreed to ask him. The council also invited any other members of the community who would like to serve on the committee to send a letter of interest to city hall.
Weible asked that the committee provide a preliminary report to the council for its Dec. 4 meeting. Bishop, a member of the committee, suggested that the group try to have a draft to the council prior to the Nov. 19 meeting with Minnetrista.
The two councils will meet in the St. Boni Council Chambers on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. Weible said he planned to do some preliminary research to present at that meeting, regarding the law and orderly process, along with some pros and cons of consolidation.
“The two councils can talk and see if there is any interest in pursuing possible consolidation,” said Weible.
In another matter, the council reviewed quotes from four vendors who responded to the city’s Request for Proposals (RFP) to provide the city’s sanitation and recycling services. Allied Waste, Elite Waste, Randy’s Environmental Services and Waste Management submitted quotes for the five-year contract. Representatives from all but Allied Waste were on hand for the meeting.
After hearing the presentations, the council voted to delay a vote until the Nov. 20 meeting in order to give council members some time to review the proposals.
Mayor Weible invited members of the community to provide input by contacting city hall. Councilmember Arwood thanked the three companies’ representatives for attending the meeting in person.
The council also heard from State Representative Jerry Hertaus, who represents St. Boni in District 33A. Hertaus said the legislative session resulted in a “significant” increase in taxes and spending. While legislative action increased the amount of Local Government Aid (LGA) going to cities around the state, Hertaus applauded St. Boni for offsetting that increase by lowering citizens’ property taxes. “That’s exactly what you’re supposed to do,” he said.