Present: Jenae Ulbricht, Irene Ehlert, Juli Scherping, Romie Gessell, Chad Landowski and Brooke Thieschafer. Others present: See Sign In Sheet.
Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance: Mayor Ulbricht called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
Approval of Agenda City Council: Add AED Update to New Business. Irene Ehlert made a motion. Juli Scherping seconded. All in favor: motion carried.
Approval of the Minutes from September 2023: Juli Scherping made motion to approve the minutes. Irene Ehlert supported. All in favor: motion carried.
Approval of Bills City Council: Total bills for the month were $3,623.88. Total receipts for the month totalled $2,032.22. Irene Ehlert made a motion to approve the bills. Juli Scherping supported. All in favor, motion carried.
Old Business: Building Art – No update at this time, and will be removed off the agenda until early spring.
Snow Plowing of the City – The city received 0 bids for the snow plowing. There is a couple interested parties willing to do the snow plowing with the city’s snow plow. The interested individuals will meet with the mayor after the meeting and arrange further details for the upcoming snow plow season.
Contract Policing Rate Increase- Effective 01-01-2024 the Policing Contract will increase by $3.
City Locks /City Signs – The City is hoping to use Sourcewell Grant Funds to purchase new locks for the community center and new welcome signs on each end of town. More to come.
Office Update – Desk needs to be set-up.
Grants-Sourcewell – Mayor Ulbricht asked the City Council if they had any additional thoughts for the SourceWell grants. None at this time. The Mayor will continue to pull more hard numbers and quotes from a few vendors. The Mayor updated all in attendance what options SourceWell is offering. $1000 in grant money, no questions asked. Or match to match grants up to $20,000 to improve the city. Examples: The city would pay $10,000 and the city would receive $10,000 in grant money. Grant money does need to be spent in one year. Grant money is based on the fiscal year. Mayor also asked if the city residents have any ideas or suggestions. Please reach out to the city council member, city clerk, or email/call. Irene Ehlert suggested dividers in the women’s restroom at the Community Center.
Permits – Bobby Velkcamp asked the city council for permission to split his 2 acre parcel within the city limits. Irene Ehlert made a motion to approve the request. Juli Scherping supported. All in favor: motion carried.
Bollig Engineering Update – The city received an update from Bollig today, stating they should have numbers to present at the November and December meeting.
City Website – City Website is about 75% complete at this time. Contents are written. Waiting to get some pictures. Mayor Ulbricht is hopeful the website will be complete by the next meeting.
Road Signs – MnDot agreed to put out more signage. Have not heard when signs will officially be installed. The Mayor will follow up with MNDot to see the status of installation.
Halloween Trunk & Treat – The city will no longer be partnering with the church. All are welcome to set up Trunk and Treat behind the community center in front of the basketball area. One road will be closed for safety.
Faucet – The City received a quote from our primary plumber. Quote was $640 which included all parts and labor. There will be a tamper proof feature.
New Business: AED Update – The City received a donation of an AED from the St. Cloud area. The lady who donated the AED provided a contact name and number of someone who can build a special box to handle the heat and cold climates. Pads will also be replaced. Mayor will get a quote. This is something the city is hoping to include in the Sourcewell Grant funding. Bobby Velkcamp mentioned that there is an app for phones to show locations of the nearest AED in case of emergency.
Open Floor: Concerned attendee Dick Kuehne questioned all the centennial items that were ordered back in 1984, and why the city was giving these items away. He expressed that was taxpayers hard earned money. He also stated the city council did not vote to give or charge for items. Items in question were shirts, booklets, plates, and spoons. Mayor Ulbricht stated that when she took on the role of mayor, the office was a mess and very unorganized. With that came those specific items have not been used or touched in many, many years. Some of the items had been dirty, chewed on by mice, or had mice feces on them. Kuehne also wanted an inventory of all items, and an itemized list of what was there. He went on to say the books were given away, which is taking money away from the residents of the city. Kuehne expressed a willingness to take inventory and witness the counting. He stated the city is corrupt.
Resident Adam Ulbricht pointed out that the books and items in question are over 40 years old; they have long since been paid for and are a better use to people who want them now instead of sitting in the city office for decades. The City Council will meet and discuss a plan on what to do with the remaining items.
Former mayor Ron Strassburg also wanted an itemized list of inventory and questioned why the centennial items were given away. Attendee Tina Rhode asked the former mayor if he had an inventory list of when he was in the position. Strassburg suggested it is in the office. Mayor Ulbricht responded that when she took the role of mayor she was handed a bunch of papers in a Busch Light box, and the office was a complete mess and unorganized.
Resident Shawn Ehlert handed $3 to the Council for a book he was given free of charge when first arriving in town by Stassburg. Resident Mick Flood also gave the Council $20 for any books that had been given away at the Burtrum Cabooze.
Strassburg also asked the Mayor and Council about items that had previously been discussed relating to potential grants. He questioned why the City doesn’t just buy the items now. Mayor Ulbricht explained that taxpayers will be better served by including everything within the grant funding, which will save the City money.
Resident Lauri Browen voiced her displeasure with the former Burtrum school property, which she lives across the street from. She became heated discussing how the Council isn’t doing anything. Browen stated she has proof that shows the school contains asbestos. The owner of the property, Tina Rohde, responded that they have documentation from the State of Minnesota that shows there is no asbestos within the school. Browen became even more upset and shouted the current owners are lying. Mayor Ulbricht made repeated attempts to speak but was continually cut off by Browen. Mayor Ulbricht stated that the City was shown such documentation by the state that no asbestos currently exists. Given it is private property where no City ordinance is being violated, there isn’t much the City can do. Browen got up and called the Council corrupt, drunks, and shouted several expletives aimed at the Mayor and current owner of the school property. She angrily left the meeting and was followed out by Todd County Sheriff Mike Allen.
Once order was restored, a timeline of when potential asbestos was established. Former mayor Stassburg stated that asbestos was allegedly in the building as of 2014. It was found in bags in different areas of the school.
However, the current owner presented documentation from the State of Minnesota from a 2016 inspection showing no asbestos. Rohde recently purchased the property and has taken steps to prevent people from trespassing. No trespassing signs are now posted along the property along with all ground-level windows being sealed up. The lawn has been cut and debris has been removed from around the school.
Adjournment -Motion by Romie Gessell, seconded by Irene Ehlert to adjourn meeting at 7:46 P.M. Motion carried.
Next City Council Meeting is scheduled for November 7th at 7:00 p.m.
Brooke Thieschafer, City Clerk-Treasurer