The Stacy city council opened the New Year Jan. 8 with the swearing in of councilor members Jim Ness and Cindy Bruss, and the swearing in of Mayor Mark Utecht to a second term.
Utecht’s first order of business was to address how business is conducted. The mayor had checked Robert’s Rules of Order and advised his colleagues that if he hears silence in the form of a council member not voting “yes” or “no,” that counts as a “yes.” In the past this was counted as an abstention.
“It has to be a conflict of interest and you have to excuse yourself before the vote, if you don’t vote, it’s an affirmative. If you miss your opportunity, it’s a non-vote and it will go with the majority,” the mayor said.
Partnership to handle water supply work
Reporting directly to his bosses for the first time at the meeting was city maintenance worker Tanner Jones. Jones advised he had obtained the services of Charles Prickett of the Forest Lake Public Works Department to handle water quality duties on a contract basis. Prickett is a licensed water and sewer operator who will provide supervision over Tanner Jones’s water supply work. The city considered a contract for two hours weekly. “This is what we need to do because of the fact that we don’t have a certified water/sewer operator in place,” Utecht said.
The mayor thanked representatives of Stantec, the city’s engineering firm, who have also been helpful in covering water quality responsibilities. The council learned that the Minnesota Department of Health has required “certain things” are in place to ensure compliance with state health laws. City Attorney Peter Grundhoefer expressed concern that Prickett is not insured to do the contract work. Grundhoefer declared Prickett an independent contractor, and suggested Stacy hire Prickett as a temporary employee in order to indemnify. The mayor responded he views Prickett’s assistance as “a very short thing” and doesn’t want to contract more extensively than the city has to. MDH has approved the city’s contract with Prickett, which will satisfy state requirements, but the council wanted assurance of liability coverage.
With the departure of City Maintenance Supervisor Jon Ehlert, Jones has assumed City Maintenance Supervisor responsibilities. The mayor recalled that when former City Maintenance Supervisor Tom Archibald went out on a leave, Ehlert, who was then the city’s sole maintenance worker, had assumed supervisor responsibilities in the interim.
The council agreed to promote Jones in the interim and proposed an increase in pay. When a new supervisor is hired, Jones will return to his present salary.
“In my estimation, Tanner is doing everything he can to see that the city gets what it needs to get through this process,” Utecht said. Jones said he has been learning a lot and “I’m getting more comfortable every day.”
Councilor Cindy Bruss thought it unfair to give Jones a raise and then take it away. Bruss’s colleagues disagreed, saying essentially it is a temporary appointment, and voted to pay Jones a higher wage until a replacement for Ehlert is hired.
Stacy Lions will continue to rule their den
Stacy Lions Club member Jerry Schroeder brought a draft of a diagrammed beer garden of sorts to the council directly. The Lions beer license is up for renewal and the Stacy council, to be in compliance with state liquor laws, has required the Lions contain alcohol served at their Doyle Field events to a restricted consumption area. The map outlining the designated drinking area is the last item the Lions needed to provide in order to obtain beer license renewal. After a brief evaluation and assurances from Schroeder that the Lions will ensure enforcement at events, a motion to grant the license passed.
The council moved on, reviewing the newly written Doyle Field lease agreement. Utecht met with the Lions to reach an agreement. The mayor asked for the provision of automatic renewal to be removed. Councilor Ness thought still that there is no clear “out” of the lease and that is a concern for the city. The other council members disagreed and the motion to accept the agreement passed with Ness casting the only dissenting vote.