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Chatfield officer receives traffic safety award

Fri, Sep 28th, 2012
Posted in Chatfield Government

Chatfield Officer Grace McCallum was awarded a certificate of accomplishment and given a commendation letter from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. She was one of four officers in the state of Minnesota to receive the award. She was recognized at the September 24 city council meeting.

Scott McConkey of the southern Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety nominated her for her effort during the 2012 May/June enforcement wave. McConkey noted that rural highways have a higher per miles driven fatality rate than do metro communities.

Officer McCallum stopped 16 vehicles and issued 16 citations for No Seatbelt Use during a four hour shift during a “Click It or Ticket” seatbelt enforcement campaign. McConkey insisted that “the people we stop are not the enemy, they are the people we serve.” He related that the first fatal crash that he was involved with happened about 25 years ago east of Chatfield. The victim did not wear a seat belt. McConkey said there was no reason for the person to have died.

Sergeant Derek Fugelstad, Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department, presented her with the certificate of accomplishment and Chief Shane Fox with McCallum’s letter of commendation to be placed in her file.

The council approved a resolution to again participate in the Office of Traffic Safety “Safe and Sober” campaign. This is a program administered by the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department. The federal grant funds pay for overtime for officers to enforce DUI, seatbelt, and speeding laws.

Help Our Neighbors

Pastor Mark Docken, Chatfield Lutheran, explained that Help Our Neighbors is a community wide organization developed with the primary goal of helping senior citizens stay independent as long as possible, allowing them to stay in their homes longer. Services they want to provide include transportation, respite care, doing chores around the house, leaf raking, and chronic disease and falls prevention education. This is a partnership effort involving several congregations and other local civic and volunteer community organizations. Chatfield Lutheran is the sponsoring organization.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has awarded a grant of $180,000 over three years toward this effort.

Bill Sullivan noted that this organization is not specifically religious based. He said that CCTV is a huge asset to help get the word out. Councilor Ken Jacobson suggested information about the project be included in the monthly newsletter.

Utility Rates

Mike Bubany, David Drown Associates, offered estimates on proposed utility rates for 2013. He explained adjustments need to be made to avoid having to make larger adjustments in the future. Bubany warned that the city can get into trouble with enterprise funds by not looking at the rates.

Bubany’s presentation assumed that development will continue to be slow, operational costs will continue to go up about four percent per year, and the utility will receive about 1 percent interest on monies in the fund.

His rate change figures would generally produce an overall increase in utility rates of about 5.25 percent.

Councilor Paul Novotny said he was not opposed to doing something. The reality is the slow down in development, just wasn’t a slow dip. Novotny added they need to act now, but was questioning whether it would be better to have a larger up-front increase and then wait a few years for another increase. Bubany had shown a yearly increase.

Mayor Don Hainlen stated he was concerned about unforeseen breakdowns. Councilor Ken Jacobson said they have to be prepared. Councilor Josh Thompson suggested they have come to the point where they have to do something, adding we held off as long as we could. Jacobson said they should discuss the issue more in committee.

Other Business In Brief

•David Morrill, McGhie and Betts, explained a change order for the 2012 Water Distribution Improvements on Second Street to CR 2 and on a portion of Winona Street. The first pay estimate was reduced $938.05 to $115,323.45. The change order was approved. A repair patch is still to be made. Payment was approved with a five percent retainage until the repair is satisfactorily made.

•There will be a $50 increase in Ambulance Service rates. New base rates as of January 1, 2013, will be $650 for those in the Primary Service Area and $750 for those outside that area. The ambulance service is almost entirely self supported getting just a small amount of money from cities and townships.

•Two new employee positions were approved with the upgrade of two city employees. City Clerk Joel Young said the new positions will adequately recognize their work and value, but will result in very little pay increase right now. The employees are Brian Burkholder (water system operator and tree inspector) and Pat O’Neil (WWTP, Class B operator’s license).

•Ordinance #405 was approved designating Block 19 (Center for the Arts) as a Chatfield Heritage Landmark. Young noted that the designation will make the property eligible to apply for grants and tax credits. It will also put some regulations into place, requiring exterior work to go through the Heritage Preservation Commission.

•An On-sale and Sunday sales liquor license was issued for Jeff and Candi Hare for JAC’s Bar and Grill.

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