Canton City Council members met on May 13 at the town hall to comply with social distancing requirements.
Coincidentally, Governor Walz announced that Minnesota’s Stay-at- home directive would be allowed to expire on May 18.
Council updates to COVID-19 policy included opening of the city office on May 18 and the resumption of the normal utility disconnection policy.
Social distancing and sanitation practices were not changed.
The special meeting required due to a variance required for the construction of a garage on the Dowling property was called to order at 6:30 p.m.
Mayor Johnson explained the need for the meeting due to the planned erection of a garage within the setback area. The construction would be within the 10-foot setback area to within two feet on the south side and three feet from the east. There was discussion explaining the actual construction, with no objections to granting the variance expressed at the meeting.
The special meeting was adjourned at 6:59 p.m.
The regular meeting was called to order at 7 p.m.
Minutes from the April meeting were approved as presented.
There were no public comments.
Monica Hauser, representing Hawkins Ash CPAs, was moved up in the meeting as an agenda change. Hauser presented the 2019 financial statement for the City of Canton, giving a brief overview of the audit. Software updates were recommended. Some payroll inconsistencies were noted and the township fire contracts should be reviewed according to Hauser to ensure timely payments. Mayor Johnson stated that it looks like a pretty clean audit and she had no questions. Council members also had no questions for Hauser. The audit report is available on the city website.
Consent agenda items presented by Clerk Bergey included amending the 2020 fee schedule to include $65/hour with a $65 minimum charge for city staff to address uncontrolled plant growth on private property as outlined in the ordinance 92.35, requests to wave the Canton Town Hall rental fee for the Canton Township Board and Canton Historical Society to allow for social distancing and request from Abby Henry, Abby’s Concessions to allow occasional food service sales with electrical use near the Town Hall Pavilion. All consent items were approved with exception of the financial report, which was moved to new business.
Clerk Bergey reported 15 delinquent utility accounts totaling $2,400, with one account owing $459.84.
Public Works Jon Nordsving provided an estimate for a concrete ramp and landing for the town hall at a cost of $3,225, not including removal or a railing. The similar configuration using lumber was estimated to be approximately $500. The existing deck was built in 2003 and needs repair. Approval given to repair the bottom step and address the replacement next year.
A quote was obtained from Driveway Specialist LLC for concrete patching, $40,000 for approximately 15,000 square feet for Hudson Avenue and Canton Avenue near Main Street. After extensive discussion, it was approved to accept the quote. Bergey inserted that future budgeting for streets could be funded by a bond issue, assessed to the property owners or continue to be funded through the general fund. It was noted that it would be difficult to start fully passing along the cost now, with other streets having been covered with general funds dollars.
Mark Prestby, Fillmore County Commissioner, who was present, stated that the repair on North Main is “on the county engineer’s radar,” but reworking the area is not in the five year plan. Any repairs will be a short term solution to the deteriorating pavement and standing water issues but are being looked into.
East Prairie Avenue project will be put off until a dollar amount can be obtained from Tom Davis to rework the ditch area.
The needed repair to the blacktopped alley between Prairie and Canton Avenue was discussed. Mayor Johnson stated the adjacent property owners paid for the original blacktop. The city attorney will be consulted as to what the proper course of action should be.
The missing section of sidewalk on the north side of the Canton Pub was discussed. It was approved that this sidewalk be replaced by the property owner, Jamie Knutson, as it is in the business district.
The sheriff’s office report was reviewed with the majority of the calls being on Hudson Avenue noted.
There were five planning commission items for consideration; all were reported as having met requirements. Dowling variance application for the construction of a garage – passed and the variance was approved. Dowling, Davis, Kerns, Prestby and Snyder land use permits approved. Nichols filed a land use permit for fence construction on South Main. Carl Ernst explained that construction needs to be 22 feet from the field fence to allow for utility access. No land use permit approval was needed, and the property owner understands the requirements.
Personnel Committee members Gossman and Ernst reported that the quarter one salary report is within the budget.
Unfinished business updates
Popplewell property – owner has stated that the property will be removed within the year and has currently done some work to clean up the bricks and lawn. It was decided that the condition will be monitored and citations will be issued as warranted.
Whalen property – Deadline for cleanup is May 15; no progress has been made to meet the cleanup requirements. Whalen had talked to Clerk Bergey, who provided Whalen with the list of required cleanup items. Whalen previously pled guilty and agreed to the conditions as presented originally and with non-compliance, jail time or other consequences are to be enforced. Evidence of non-compliance will be sent to the county attorney on May 16 by the city clerk.
Torgerson settlement conference is scheduled for May 19.
Melander court date not set as of the meeting. Melander unemployment appeal continues; phone hearing continued to May 26. Although the former city clerk requested withdrawal of her benefit application, the case must go forward because of benefits already received by Melander.
Crosswalk designations – tabled until the June meeting.
Utility rates: Meeting with Jeff Dale, MN Rural Water, was rescheduled for May 19 at 11 a.m.
Other: Mary Kelly house; this property is being neglected by the owner(s) unknown. The cost of maintaining the lawn should be put on the property taxes. The city clerk will investigate and report back to the council.
New Business items
Audit report from Hawkins Ash CPAs accepted.
Main Street planters: Adopt a planter program will resume. Interested persons should contact the city clerk for details. $100/$75 and $50 prizes will be awarded with details to be posted on the city website.
Other: Haffner questioned responsibility for alley light, which is believed to have been installed by a previous property owner. Haffner will be referred to MiEnergy.
Financials: Fund balances were reviewed, with discussion on cashing a CD to ease the cash flow issues. Since the water/sewer fund owes the general fund for past wages and also has a shortage in that fund and surrender penalties were less, approval was given to cash in a water sewer CD for $27,120.42 and disburse funds as designated.
The next meeting will be on June 10, 2020, at 7 p.m.