The Whalan City Council continued meeting virtually for the June 8, 2020, regularly scheduled monthly council meeting.
Engaged in the Zoom meeting were Mayor Marlys Tuftin, Council members Kim Berekvam, Owen Lewis and Tanya Cook, along with City Clerk/Administrator Michele Peterson. Council member Thore “Everett” Johnson was absent.
Minutes of the regular scheduled meeting on May 11 2020, and Treasurer’s Report and Bills Due were read with no additions or corrections
Ben Ruberg made a suggestion to the City of Whalan, saying, “In light of recent events, specifically the murder of George Floyd, I wanted to ask the city council to consider issuing a proclamation or passing a resolution expressing its support of its black residents and visitors and all people of color, and for a town of its size and location, Whalan has a quite diverse population.” Ruberg suggested “the city should express its support of and solidarity with those individuals but to also acknowledge the deep pain that they are experiencing and to condemn the systemic racism and oppression that is so present in our country and society.”
Peterson stated that if Ruberg has examples of such a proclamation or resolution, she would gladly have the council look at them. Ruberg stated that he could provide examples that other cities have used.
Tuftin and Peterson went to Merchants Bank and had the safe deposit box, which the City of Whalan has been paying rent on for years and the contents were unknown, drilled open. “We didn’t hit the jackpot,” stated Tuftin jokingly. The single item in the safe deposit box was a CD certificate from 1990.
The bank was the National Bank of Lanesboro at the time and has since changed hands more than once and Merchants Bank, the current bank in Lanesboro, has no record of an active CD for the City of Whalan. The assumption is that the CD was rolled over at some point and time by a previous council decision. The City of Whalan will not be renewing the rental of the safe deposit box.
Tuftin gave an update on the COVID 19 response saying, “We are in the second phase right now so businesses are slowly getting back. We are continuing social distancing, masks by employees and workers in public service jobs or businesses if they are serving customers, still recommending masks for others as well, especially when the social distancing cannot be maintained.”
The Town Hall has not been available to rent due to COVID-19 and it is unknown when that situation will change.
Peterson recommended posting signs at the playground and gazebo encouraging people to follow the COVID-19 guidelines and the city council agreed it was a good idea. Peterson will make signs available to the city.
If Wi-Fi is available in the city hall building through the museum, it is possible the Whalan City Council could hold a meeting at city hall for the July 2020 regularly scheduled city council meeting, and also offer the option of attending the meeting virtually through Zoom. Otherwise, the meeting will be through Zoom only. Call the City of Whalan at (507) 467-2212 for further information.
Dust control decisions were tabled until the July meeting.
Two new members are needed for the Planning and Zoning Board. If interested, call the City of Whalan phone number. “It’s an interesting job, it’s a big job,” states Tuftin.
Berekvam was contacted by Jesse LaBonne, who stated that the memorial bench for Allie Culbertson is ready. Culbertson’s friends will install the bench but would like input from the city on where it should be placed. Berekvam and Lewis will meet near the playground to find an appropriate spot.
The next regularly scheduled Whalan City Council meeting will be held on Monday, July 13, 2020, at 5 p.m.