The Ostrander City Council held a regular meeting on October 1, with all members present (Stephanie Start, Dan Hellerud, DJ Start, Mayor Pam Kunert, Vernon Thompson, and City Clerk Wendy Brincks). No citizens had signed up to address the council.
Mayor Kunert read aloud a letter from Dustin Johnson, explaining that he and his family will be moving out of the fire department’s service area, so his last day as fire chief will be October 31. Wendy Brincks added, “He, at their October 8 meeting, is going to work on their recommendations of a replacement fire chief, and they should be bringing that to you guys at the November council meeting.”
Jason Rice, a member of the fire department, reported that the crew’s “grass rig” truck needs further repairs, so it will be taken to Southland Auto. He said an estimate will be obtained and considered for approval before the actual repairs are done.
Mayor Kunert welcomed Jeremy Runkle, as Ostrander’s new city maintenance person, stating, “I’m glad you’re with us. I think you’ll be a nice asset to the city.” Brincks said she’s been pleased at what Runkle has already gotten done in his new position.
The issue of city water and the wastewater treatment plant was discussed. Brincks said “The plant passed inspection… everything was good… They did do a flush last Tuesday (September 24). I have heard no complaints… Jeff (Tart) did a different style of flushing, and then Chris (PeopleService) did the standard flushing that PeopleService has to do.”
Brincks also informed that council that Jeremy Runkle can become trained to perform the water and wastewater work for the city, but he would need to be trained under an adequately licensed operator in the meantime. She suggested two options; Mark Arndt, or Steve Bushman (WHKS). Brincks stated, “Mark Arndt is from Wykoff. He used to manage the Wykoff plant… He would be interested in working with our town. He carries all the way up to a Class B license. He would be on a contract basis. You would need to contract him for three years.” She added that this options appears to be less costly than contracting with WHKS (Steve Bushman). She said Arndt and Bushman have each indicated they are willing to come meet with the council if requested. No formal action was taken at this time, but the council voiced an interest in looking further into the possibility of contracting with Arndt.
Brincks updated the council regarding the city’s efforts to contract with someone for the city’s snow removal for the 2019-2020 season. She said that advertising for bids was not yet done, because League of Minnesota Cities guidelines state that formal bids are not required under $25,000. Instead, the city can just get cost quotes. The council agreed with this plan. As quotes are received, they will be brought to the council for consideration.
“The Lions Club was wanting to buy a Christmas banner for the city,” Brincks reported. She gave council members several banner options to choose from, and said that the Lions Club would furnish the banners, but the city would be responsible for whatever type of brackets are needed to hang the banners from the city’s light poles.
A written report from the Fillmore County Sheriff’s office summarized the service and patrol activity for the month of September. There were a total of 13 calls/services listed, including four Ambulance, two warrant, two suspicious activity, one MAARC (Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center), one theft, one 911 hang up, one assist, and one animal complaint. Brincks also said she hasn’t yet heard back from Sheriff DeGeorge to schedule a time to visit with the council, but said she believes he still intends to do that.
Since the upcoming election is a special election, Brincks explained, the council could vote to shorten the polling hours, as a cost-savings measure. The council voted to have the polls open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on November 5. Brincks also pointed out that absentee balloting is now open. The council approved a quote from Kruegels for up to 4,500 gallons of propane, for the city’s 2019-2020 heating season, at a cost of $.979 per gallon. Due to the special election, the next regular meeting of the city council will be November 12 at 6:30 p.m., in the community center. The public is welcome.