The Caledonia city council certified the November 8 general election results for city offices at the council’s regular meeting on November 14.
Current Mayor DeWayne “Tank” Schroeder will serve another two-year term as mayor of Caledonia. In addition to working for Caledonia’s street department and the water wastewater department for 38 1/2 years, Mayor Schroeder served on the council for four years and has served as mayor for six years.
Current council member David Fitzpatrick was elected to another four-year term on the council and Ryan Stenzel will replace Brad Rykhus on the council.
Mayor Schroeder called the regularly scheduled meeting of the Caledonia City Council to order at 6 p.m. and led the council and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Council members in attendance include Mayor Schroeder, Robert “Bob” Klug, Amanda Ninneman, David Fitzpatrick, and Brad Rykhus.
Others in attendance include City Clerk/Administrator Jake Dickson, Public Works/Zoning Director Casey Klug, Carol Hood, Robbie Sobczak with Caledonia Public Schools.
The council approved the minutes from the October 24, regular city council meeting. They also unanimously approved the consent agenda, including the payments and disbursements in addition to a payment request from Wapasha Construction in the amount of $469,508.85 for work completed on the Wastewater Treatment Facility.
Robbie Sobezak, Caledonia social studies teacher, stood before the council and on behalf of the school asked for the council’s blessing to move forward and make Sprague Woods into a state-recognized School Forest. Sobezak’s plans are to have next semester’s Mindset, Growth, and Leadership class go through the process to apply for the Minnesota DNR School Forest Program. Sobezak noted, “It would be entirely student lead.” The project would benefit both the school and community ed.
“Students would go through the process to complete the application,” explained Sobezak. “Students would come here and speak to all of you. They would speak to the school board. I was hoping for them to go to the Lions Club and other committees to get funding for this.”
The School Forest program handout shared with the council left members with unanswered questions. Councilman Klug asked if the city retains ownership of the property. Sobezak confirmed that the city would retain ownership of Sprague Woods.
Mayor Schroeder questioned, “Does the city have to sign an agreement with the DNR and the school? You can go out and use it anytime you want. I don’t want to see the city get their hands tied up with the DNR and school and have three jurisdictions over one piece of land.”
Councilwoman Ninneman asked, “The benefit of being designated a School Forest is basically, after the designation you have funds available from the state to do education programs and run programs out there.” Sobezak confirmed that without the designation, the school would not have access to the funds or resources.
Sobezak stressed that he would get the answers for the council and Dickson plans to contact schools that are currently participating in the program to look at their agreements and to gain an understanding of the program’s requirements.
In other business the council,
•Approved resolution 2022-20 certifying the delinquent utility bills and special assessments.
•Accepted the non-union pay rates for 2023 as proposed by Dickson.
•Approved the Memordanum of Understanding between the City of Caledonia and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for the Statewide Monitoring of Per– and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).
The Council reviewed the overtime report for October 17 through October 30, with Mayor Schroeder stating that this is the smallest overtime report. He went on to warn, “Watch out, the snow is coming.” Action is not required on the overtime report.
The next regularly scheduled Caledonia City Council meeting is Monday, November 28, at 6 p.m. at the Caledonia City Hall, 231 E. Main Street, Caledonia. The public is invited to attend.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:02 p.m.