Fires, noise, and a rooster were among the main discussion items during the Spring Valley city council’s regular meeting on October 10, with all council members present (Mayor Tony Archer, John Dols, Chris Danielson, Luan Ruesink, and Greg Brooks). City Clerk Deb Zimmer also participated. There was “standing room only” as roughly twenty citizens were on hand to listen and/or speak to the council on one or more topics.
Several spoke about concerns regarding fires and noise at a home on Maple Lane. Citizens said the fires burn day and night, are often unattended, and cause smoke that creates a nuisance for nearby homeowners that would like to have windows open during pleasant weather.
The council heard from citizens on both sides of a “rooster issue.” During the council’s September meeting, the council had voted to deny from Heather and Alex Knutson (319 East Avenue) to keep a rooster as an emotional support animal. The agenda for the October meeting originally included Item #7 (Knutson request for reconsideration of emotional support rooster) and Item #8 (Knutson request to use trailer as office during construction of home) but the council voted to remove those agenda items upon the meeting being opened.
One citizen played an audio recording that she said was the crowing of the rooster in question, and she said it’s been very bothersome to her sleep. She said she’s been calling law enforcement (sheriff’s department) but very little has been done. Heather Knutson said the rooster is kept indoors every night from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., in order to avoid bothering neighbors. At the end of the meeting, Officer Mike Hadland voiced his frustration that because the council isn’t acting on the issue, he is left in “limbo” and will likely continue to field daily complaint calls regarding the rooster. The council voted to approve Resolution 2022-30 (Resolution Denying a Variance/Conditional Use Permit for Heather Knutson for temporary housing of a trailer).
A proposed sewer rate increase was considered. The proposal called for an increase of 64 cents per 1,000 gallons, and a $1 increase to the base rate. The council unanimously voted to approve the increase, which will begin with January 2023 usage (billing in February).
Kristina Rader addressed the council regarding the library budget. She stated that the budgeted amount for 2023 ($135,000) leaves the library board anticipating a shortfall of $30,000. She asked the city to consider allocating another $15,000 to the library, and she said the library board will work on finding grants, doing fundraising events, or whatever is needed to raise the additional $15,000 needed. Rader also noted that the board hopes to have the library open on some Saturdays, in response to patron requests, but that may not be possible as the budget currently sits. Council members said there simply isn’t anywhere else in the budget that has enough wiggle room to solve this shortfall, with Greg Brooks supporting the need for more library funding but stating, “You can’t pull a rabbit out of a hat.” After discussion, Deb Zimmer said she would review the city’s budget and bring options to the November meeting for the council to consider.
John Fenske, Park & Rec Director, submitted a written update which stated, in part, “Working on getting everything ready for winter starting Monday the 17th will be closing down the outside bathrooms at South Park, taking down the volleyball, tennis and pickle ball courts… Organizing Winter Rec trying to find volunteer coaches is getting harder and harder. The plan is to start the second week of November.” Fenske also noted, “Thank you to all the gracious donations that help keep the Rec programs running! Valley Lanes, Essig Agency, Valley Home Improvement, Home Federal, Racks Bar & Grill, Hindt Funeral Home, Bloomfield Mutual, Valley Wash, Ody’s Country Meats, English Electric, Oeltjen Seamless Gutters, Chevrolet Buick, Mettler Family Chiropractic, O’Connell Excavating & Plumbing, The Pizza Place, Spring Valley Dental, Marburger Insurance Services, Hindt Photography, Minnwest Bank, and Edina Realty.”
John Dols stated, “Thank you from Spring Valley Emergency Management and Spring Valley Ambulance for Matt and Brenda Stier, and the crew at Tractor Industry for the donation of a standby generator.” The council approved Pay Estimate #6 on the 2022 Street & Utility Improvements project, as submitted by the engineering firm of Bolton & Menk, in the amount of $247,946.
The next regular meeting of the Spring Valley City Council will be 6 p.m. on Monday, November 14, at city hall. The public is welcome.