Stacy’s new voting booths not needed at Primary

The city of Stacy purchased two new voting booths that City Clerk Sharon Payne proudly said she bought “on sale.”

However, referring to the Aug. 14 primary Payne said, “We didn’t need them yesterday.”

She reported a voter turnout of 53 people. Payne defended her decision to employ all of the election judges at this primary, in order to have everyone trained for the general election that she anticipates will see a much heavier voter turnout.

“The last general election we had, we couldn’t keep up,” Payne said.

Mayor Mark Utecht said he was disappointed the city was paying that number of people to deal with one person every 20 minutes, but he understood Payne’s decision.

Plastic payment

Clerk Payne recently researched the fee charged by surrounding municipalities for credit card transactions. She reported that Center City charges $7 for a credit card transaction.

Payne said she has stayed away from accepting credit cards, but some residents whose water has been shut off had requested to pay their bill with a credit card.

Payne said the previous council had not wanted to go this route as they felt that if a resident was having difficulty paying the utility bill they would also have trouble paying their credit card bill.

Mayor Utecht suggested finding a way to run the transaction through the credit card system at Stacy Wine and Spirits.

This is the way things are done now,” Utecht said. “Plus if they have to pay over at the liquor store they may find this a convenience activity,” Utecht said.

The mayor asked if city hall could just get another terminal. Payne will check into this.

No bear backup

Payne advised the council the county no longer provides animal control services.

Utecht said residents can call the Sheriff’s office, as animals at large may be a public safety or health issue. He cautioned that deputies won’t respond in all cases. He told of calling 911 about a bear and was told by Chisago County dispatch, “We don’t do anything about black bears in Chisago County.”

Payne said she had received a number of calls about the animal licenses and residents asking why they need to pay for one.

The council said it is a public health issue as the licensing is tied to tracking animals that have had rabies vaccinations.

Play ball!

Mayor Utecht and Sunrise Estates Mobile Home Park owner Dustin Brakemeier surveyed the west side ball fields. The city was recently awarded a 2012 Minnesota Twin’s Fields for Kids matching grant of $8,300 to make improvements to this area. The mayor saw a vacant lot with a slab where Brakemeier hopes to place a double wide manufactured home. Brakemeier feels if a 90-foot home is placed on the lot, it may be too close to the ball field. Utecht reported that while Brakemeier doesn’t want to allow a permanent easement, he also doesn’t want to prevent upgrading of the ball field.

Brakemeier proposed a 15-year lease and the mayor countered this wasn’t long enough. Utecht asked City Attorney Peter Grundhoefer if the city could just continue to deal with the ball field as they have been, without any formal written agreements between Stacy and the mobile home park owner. Neither the Brakemeier’s nor the city want to spend money on matters both agree can be taken care of by a “handshake agreement.” Councilor Jim Ness said, “I think if we’ve been working on a handshake for this long, so be it.” With that Utecht said, “let the games begin” and directed Ehlert to work with the Brakemeiers and to pursue the ball field upgrade plans.

In other news:

• After years of trying to generate some interest in Stacy history, Clerk Payne excitedly reported that Stacy resident Mary Utecht has volunteered to take charge of the dormant Stacy Historical Committee. The mayor verified the level of enthusiasm that Mary, his wife, has shown over her new volunteer position.

• The Stacy Lions are requesting a liquor permit for the Stacy-Lent Fire Department’s 5th Annual Fire House Bash on Saturday, Oct. 6. The only stipulation to the permit is that the Lions must properly mark the area alcohol consumption is allowed in at the fire hall. Utecht and the council thanked the Stacy Lions Club for the fireworks display that was put on for July 4th.

• The trail crossing sign on Stacy Trail has been stolen again. “At some time we have to decide what’s an appropriate amount to spend for safety and I am at that point,” Mayor Utecht said. The maintenance department checked with the county, but county maintenance vetoed the city’s plan to bolt the sign to the road. The city also proposed adhesive and this was vetoed as well. The council then proposed a “cross walk sting,’ having a deputy park there to ticket those who ignored the crosswalk. The council was in favor of pursuing this rather than continuing to purchase signs.

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