Stacy council springs forward with busy agenda

The Stacy Council opened its regular meeting March 11 with several additions to the agenda and Councilor Michael Carlson acting as mayor in the absence of a vacationing Mayor Mark Utecht.

Foxtail Woods

City Clerk Sharon Payne was asked to pull the Foxtail Woods development agreement. The city received a formal request to turn back the letter of credit and call the project complete.

City Attorney Peter Grundhoefer said the developer has completed landscaping and street lighting projects and has partnered with the city to settle an issue regarding an outstanding bill for an irrigation water meter. Grundhoefer asked for confirmation that streetlights in the development are working. City Engineer Mark Statz didn’t want to hold up the process and suggested the council could approve the turn back contingent on verifying everything is complete. The city attorney was hesitant, though.

“Once you release the letter of credit, you’d have a hard time getting them to come back, in my experience,” Grundhoefer said.

City Maintenance Supervisor Tanner Jones will be sent to Foxtail Woods with the punch list to verify completion of the agreement.

Wish list projects

City Engineer Mark Statz followed up with the city on possibly obtaining grant money to fund city wish list projects. Statz described a grant through the Bush Foundation that could be used for “non-specific community-oriented projects. This year’s grant proposals were due by March 15.

Payne suggested a good use of grant funds would be to open a new Teen Center at the Sunrise Estates Mobile Home Park.

Parking issue

Statz covered parking issues surrounding the intersection of Forest Boulevard and Stacy Trail. The county and the city have yet to come to agreement over the intersection of the road and intersecting county and city roadway priorities.

In an email memo, Chisago County Engineer Joe Triplett advised the city again that the goal is to improve the road on all sides of the intersection. This memo provided an update on the project and requested the city’s feedback of an attached parking area. A map showed potential changes to Forest Boulevard to the north of Stacy Trail.

Statz observed that it looked as if the county was trying to encourage more off-street parking in that area. Triplett commented that depending on how the road ends up being laid out, it may be possible to accommodate more parking spaces on the east side of Forest Boulevard. There was no indication the county engineer envisions widening the road or expanding the shoulder to accommodate more parking in this area.

The county has submitted a request for federal funds to upgrade the next section of Stacy Trail, and Triplett indicated this will be for 2018.

Doyle Field debacle 

Statz shook his head over the “debacle” at Doyle Field. The septic system sewer lines at the Doyle Field Building have frozen. Statz had inspected the problem and cautioned that the Stacy Lions would have to limit use of the facilities for “probably four more weeks until the ground thaws.”

“We’ve had a tough winter,” Statz said.

He added the infrequent use of the building during the winter months set up conditions that caused the lines to freeze. He suggested that in the future someone be assigned to enter the building and run water for a long enough period of time to prevent freezing. Statz also suggested placing straw over the ground area where sewer lines are and said that has been fairly successful.

In addition to the Doyle Field building, five homes in the city have had water main service breaks due to the winter weather. Utecht had requested that Statz evaluate whether a request to waive or decrease the resulting bill for these residents is reasonable. Utecht asked that Statz find an average reading and compare it to the present reading as the basis for water or sewer bill adjustments for those properties.

Special election discussion

The council briefly discussed the requirements for holding a special election. It has become more likely that Councilor Cindy Bruss will not return to her seat. Bruss has been out for several months, prompting the temporary appointment of Tony Olivolo. A letter will be sent to Bruss requesting an update and her return by April 15, or plans for a special election to fill the seat permanently will have to be made.

In other news

• Dennis Thieling was appointed to the Stacy Planning Commission.

• The city clerk will issue a quarterly notice to residents and businesses the week of March 17. The council noted there would be information on water quality and pet licenses that are due. Payne noted that, “Radium abatement companies are starting to come out of the woodwork.” Payne said she had already advised one contractor that the company may not use the city’s logo or allude to any city endorsement. The council is concerned that residents will be overwhelmed by vendors wanting to work on the radium issue on an individual basis when the city is moving forward on a community solution.

•The Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association and Stacy Wine and Spirits manager Brian Hachey presented the city with a check for $500. A drawing was held as a result of public service contest, and the city of Stacy won. The money is specifically for city projects and not for the general fund. The council agreed to use the money for purchase of playground equipment for Doyle Field.

• There is a vacant seat on the Stacy Economic Development Authority, and a reminder was made that not only may a Stacy resident fill a seat on the EDA, but also individuals who have a business interest in the city.

• The Park and Recreation committee is planning an Easter party to be held at the Lent Town Hall in April. City Council Member Jim Ness requested a budget after hearing a request for the city to contribute money for the party.

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