At the start of last Wednesday night’s Canton City Council meeting, the first meeting of the new year, outgoing mayor Cindy Shanks administered the oath of office to her successor Josh Nordsving as well as new council members Jen Dowling, Kristy Ziegler and Jason Magnuson.
Nordsving served on the council before becoming mayor and Ziegler was appointed to fill a council vacancy late last year. She was re-elected in November to begin her own term in 2023. Dowling joins the council for the first time, while Magnuson previously served a term on the council several years ago.
Prior to turning the meeting over to Nordsving, Shanks shared a few thoughts about her time on the council. “I have served on the city council for many years and I have learned a lot about what it takes to run a city,” she said. “It does not matter what size the city is, they all have to meet the same requirements.”
She continued, “Being on the city council is an important job as we are the ones making the decisions on behalf of our city. I feel we have made a lot of improvements over the years for Canton.”
Shanks welcomed the new mayor and council to their positions and wished them the best in the year to come.
“It has been a privilege to serve the city of Canton,” she concluded.
As Shanks took a seat in the audience, the council and those attending the meeting gave her a round of applause.
Nordsving began his first mayoral report by thanking the residents of Canton for electing him and thanking Shanks for her service to her community and for the time and work she dedicated to Canton.
He encouraged the Canton residents to contact him, as mayor, and the councilmembers with any concerns. “We will try to handle it on our level as best we can,” he said.
Nordsving also noted he plans to continue and prioritize many of the projects the former mayors and councils were addressing in 2022. This includes continuing to review and update city policies, procedures and ordinances. “I want to get as much current as we can – that is my agenda for the next year – I want to get out of the 1970s if possible,” he joked, referring to a recent outdated policy the council had reviewed.
In her clerk report, Anne Koliha noted that the draft of the updated personnel policy has been reviewed by the city attorney and she will go over his edits and present those at the February meeting.
She has been completing end-of-year financials and reports and preparing for the annual audit.
Koliha also told the council Minnesota Energy will be implementing a rate increase for services to municipalities at 9.91%. However, she said they would increase the charges gradually with an interim rate closer to 9%.
Councilmembers were given a new binder with information regarding the city and an article that would provide good information for new city officials and a good reminder for those who have been serving, Koliha said.
In her deputy clerk report, Barb Kerns reminded residents that pet licenses are now due for new pets and for renewal for pets licensed in past years. The cost is $5 until March 31, at which time it increases to $10. She asked that these payments be made separate from utility payments and one can call the city office with any questions or may check the city website for more information.
New business for new year
The council approved several resolutions to prepare for operations in 2023. The first was to certify the annual city appointments for the year.
Kristy Ziegler was appointed as acting mayor in case Nordsving should have to miss a meeting.
Official newspaper is the Fillmore County Journal; official depository is First Southeast Bank; city attorney is Nethercut-Schieber; and the city auditor is Hawkins Ash.
Authorized signatures were approved for Anne Koliha, Barb Kerns, Josh Nordsving and Kristy Ziegler.
Bill Richardson was appointed as fire chief and Kyle Ryan as assistant chief.
The regular city council meetings will continue to be held on the second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Canton Town Hall.
Polling place for elections will be “balloting by mail” and official meeting and public notices will be posted at the Canton City Hall.
Each council member was appointed to committees with Nordsving serving on personnel, finance, planning and zoning. Dowling will serve on personnel and utilities. Ziegler will serve on utilities and finance. Both Magnuson and Randy Gossman will serve on streets and parks and recreation. The planning committee will also include Jim Davis, as a city employee, and resident George Hafner.
The council also approved an off-site gambling permit for the Canton American Legion Post 400 to host events at the Canton Town Hall and the Fireman’s Pavillion during the year 2023.
A billing policy was adopted for the Canton Fire Department, which provides guidance and expectations to the fire department for reporting calls to the city for invoicing. The policy is to assist the city in gathering the proper information so bills can be prepared and sent in a timely manner.
When the council reviewed the fee schedule for services within the city, Public Works Director Jon Nordsving suggested increasing the cost of a new water meter and replacement water meters from $200 to $275 to reflect higher costs for the equipment.
He also suggested removing the extra cost for use of foam, which is currently set at $40 per gallon, as he said it is hard for firemen to actually know how much foam is used to fight fires. He suggested implementing a flat rate if foam is used. Gossman suggested adding a minimum and a maximum charge so there can be a “general idea” of how much to charge based on an estimation of how much foam is used.
As she reviewed the list of fees, Dowling mentioned that she would like to see the fees for chicken licenses listed on the schedule as well, to which the council agreed.
The council approved the schedule of fees, with the change to the meter charge increased, however the other two changes will be reviewed and implemented at the February meeting.