by Adam Gruenewald
Continuing an effort to streamline city business and adjust for needs, NYA City Council members approved the hiring of a Public Service Director during their regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 27.
Anthony “Tony” Voight was hired as a Public Service Director for the city and will start working with the city on Monday, March 13. A total of nine applicants were received for the position and five qualified candidates were interviewed with Voight being selected for his experience and also his management and people skills, according to members of the personnel committee.
Interviews held on Feb. 9 by the personnel committee as well as council member Dick Stolz as well as city employees Brent Aretz and Dan Stender.
As part of the reorganization of the Public Services Department, previous Public Works Director Brent Aretz will now be the Public Service Lead under the direction of Voight.
Also related to the Public Services Division, council members approved the purchase of a $63,500 Demo Jacobsen HR700 mower from TurfWerks in Eagan. As explained by Aretz, the mower has a 14-foot mower deck, comes with a 2-year warranty, has 25 on it and comes under the $80,000 budget.
“The 14-footer fits our perspective of where we mow a little bit better with a lot more low ground better,” said Aretz, adding the mower will also work well to cut the Highway 212 median from Tacoma Avenue to Reform Street as well as other ditches in town.
For example, the Young America Sports Complex took 90-minutes with two 6-foot mower and the new 14-foot Jacobsen mower allowed staff to cut it in 20 minutes.
“It will save us a lot of time,” said Aretz.
The city currently has a total of over 80 acres of land to mow each week and it remains a priority to find ways to save time and money in that process, according to City Administrator Steve Helget.
“Part of this is we’re trying to speed that up as far as man hours spent on our mowing,” said Helget. “We’re one of the few communities in the area that doesn’t have a mower like this so for us, this is a nice investment.”
In other news, council members also heard from Commissioner Jim Ische, Carver County Administrator David Hemze and Public Works Director Lyndon Robjent regarding the regarding the proposed sales tax and wheelage tax suggested by the county to pay for roads.
Outlining the plan, Robjent said the 1/2 percent transportation sales tax and increase in wheelage tax from $10 to $20 per vehicle per year would generate sufficient funding for roads.
“We have $1 billion roads and bridge needs in Carver County,” he said. “Being a small county we have a lot of roads to build. We have to figure out the highest priority projects and how to fund them… we can certainly make a dent in that.”
While they didn’t vote on the proposal, NYA council members seemed in favor of the tax as long as it addresses Highway 212 and that it includes yearly reviews.
Also, council members approved the idea of moving forward with a $3,250 application to designate the Tacoma West Industrial Park as a Minnesota Certified Shovel-Ready Site.
Helget said getting the designation will make Tacoma West Industrial Park more enticing for businesses.
“This is another opportunity to get more interest in developing out in our industrial park,” said Helget, adding the next round of applications are due April 30. “Shovel-ready sites are heavily marketed at national conferences and trade shows… so there is a return on investment.”
Council member Mike McPadden was among those who praised the concept and encouraged participation in the program as NYA would be the first city in Carver County to have a listing on the state-administrated site.
“I look at it this way – our industrial park has been there and we have a lot of land to sell yet,” he said. “Some other communities like Chaska have people lining up and we don’t unfortunately. It’s not the way it works out here for us. Basically it’s another tool we can use. If somebody wants to build here, they know that all the inspections have been completed so they can just start turning dirt.”
Council members also heard from Jon Ridge of the Ironman Bike Ride that will head through NYA and surrounding towns on Sunday, April 30, set request for bids for lawn mowing and hay baling, approved a lawful gambling application for Young America Baseball, set council meeting start times at 6 p.m. for both meetings, organized for 2017 with the appointment and swearing in of Charlie Storms, approved a variance and site plan for Xtreme Electrical at 211 Railroad Street West, OK’d the resignation of custodian Dale Hoof and restructuring the custodian role to move it to a full-time position at 30 hours a week and approved the advertisement of swimming pool positions for 2017.
Council members also started a discussion on the 10-year comprehensive plan update that is due by the end of 2018.
“It’s going to be a used document and there’s a lot that goes into a comprehensive plan,” said Helget. “We also want to get some public feedback and public input.”
In addition to a highlighted joint meeting between the EDC and Marketing Committee on March 8, the NYA City Council will next meet at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 13.
Follow Adam Gruenewald on Twitter @adamgruenewald.