The Spring Valley City Council opened their regular meeting. All members were present (Tony Archer, Todd Jones, Mayor Jim Struzyk, Jessy Betts, Mike Hadland, and City Administrator Deb Zimmer).
A citizen addressed the council regarding her family’s pet rabbits, asking that they be allowed to keep them, stating, “They’re pets, they’re family members,” and she explained that they do not raise their rabbits for meat or any other use. She stressed that the family is diligent about keeping the rabbits and their droppings cleaned up. She also said although she currently has 12 rabbits, she will get it down to eight, and would not go above 10, adding, “This is our way of pursuing happiness.” Zimmer pointed out that currently, the city’s ordinance does not allow rabbits, since they would be included in the “other animals” that are not allowed. After discussion, the council chose to table the issue for now, and to look into possibly changing the wording of the ordinance if the city wants to allow certain additional types of animals.
The council also discussed the issue of the “hay ground fields” that the city owns and has an agreement with farmers to cut hay on. Two of the fields are seven acres each, and a third field is accessible only by the bike trail. It was pointed out that although the fields have been well taken care of by the farmers, citizens have asked why others don’t get a chance to bid on the use of the fields. Todd Jones shared his opinion that, “It’s not about money, it’s about fairness,” and made a motion to open the two seven-acre fields up for bids, and to eliminate the haying on the third field. After discussion, the council voted to move forward with this plan. Wording will be added to stipulate no trail usage by any farming equipment, to avoid damaging the trail surface.
The council considered a request by the Fillmore County Journal to have a newspaper rack installed downtown, from which citizens could help themselves to a free copy of the paper. Council members were concerned that on weekend nights, the papers would get scattered and create a mess. Jessy Betts said, “The idea is all right but I think it needs to be a better spot.” It was pointed out that the Journal is already available at Kwik Trip, inside the store. The council voted to deny the request as submitted.
The council looked into an option of applying for a grant of up to $10,000 for overhead doors at the city’s shop. Zimmer explained that to apply for the grant, the city would need to commit to making the purchase which has a total price of nearly $26,000. The other option discussed was to just install “electronic eyes” on the current door, for safety reasons. No formal action was taken. The issue was tabled until the next meeting.
The city accepted “Bid A” (from Rochester Sand & Gravel) of $139,934 for the Industrial Drive project. The council considered two quotes from JJBK Construction for gazebo repairs needed in Willow Park. Zimmer pointed out that the costs were not budgeted. After discussion, the council chose to see if city staff can make repairs for now.
The council OK’d the hiring of four firefighters, pending physical exams. The new firefighters are Ryan Hebel, Mitchell Plaehn, Kevin Burrichter, and Mitchel Czapiewski.
John Fenske shared that the “mass registration” for summer park programs will be May 17, and he said the bathrooms are now open in the parks. Chad Hindt stated that cameras have been installed at Willow Park. Zimmer reminded all that citywide cleanup will be May 13, 9 a.m. to noon, and that the Ambulance Pancake Breakfast will be May 21. The next regular meeting of the city council will be Monday, May 8 at 6 p.m. The public is welcome.