The Caledonia City Council held a public hearing at its November 13 regular council meeting to hear the public’s opinions and concerns before taking action to certify the special assessments. Hearing no comments, the mayor called to close the public hearing at 6:27 p.m.
The council approved Resolution 2023-17 authorizing the assessment of properties for delinquent utility bills and unpaid special charges. Properties include 315 W. Grove Street, 420 W. Caledonia Street, 104 S. Kingston St. #2, 204 N. Pine Street #1, 214 W. Lincoln Street, 618 Highland Lane and 324 W. Main Street.
Mayor DeWayne (Tank) Schroeder called the November 13 council meeting to order and lead his fellow council members and the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The mayor announced that all the council members were present: Robert (Bob) Klug, Amanda Ninneman, Mayor Schroeder, David Fitzpatrick and Ryan Stenzel.
The council unanimously approved the meeting agenda and the minutes from the regular October 23 council meeting.
In one swift motion, the council approved the consent agenda, including accounts payable, payment on the Grove/Marshall Street and Utility Reconstruction project in the amount of $388,329.84, payment on the wastewater treatment plant in the amount of $308,004.46, the request to purchase two Toughbook computers for the city’s ambulance department at $6,939.69, and liquor license renewals for Elsie’s Bar & Grill, Good Times Restaurant & Bar, The Wired Rooster, American Legion 191, and a new application from The Alibi located at 139 S. Marshall Street.
During the public comment segment of the meeting, City Clerk/Administrator Jake Dickson was asked to respond to a letter sent by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent to the State of Minnesota indicating that water in the Southeast Karst Region of Minnesota, including Houston County, shows “dangerous levels of nitrate contamination in its drinking water” and is wondering about the status of water in Caledonia. Dickson replied, “Our wells 6, 7 and 8 were all sampled. Six and 7 were sampled in April 2023, and 8 was sampled just in September. All three are in compliance with the State of Minnesota’s nitrates, nitrogen and nitrites limits.” He added that he understood that the EPA was referring to private wells.
Clerk/Administrator Jake Dickson presented the council with three city ordinances to consider updating. No action was taken at this time. According to the staff report, they recommend an update to animal licensing “to allow a lifetime license at a higher fee to lessen staff time on renewals and promote an increase in licensing.” The second ordinance to review is Chapter 33, Fire Department Billing, noting that cities are authorized to bill for fire services, but the choice to bill and the rate must be set by ordinance. The report states, “No recommendation or request has been received from the fire department, but recent large-scale fires within city limits started the discussion.” The third ordinance deserving of a review is Chapter 74, Recreational Motorized Vehicles. Staff noted that they received one public comment request to discuss ATV regulations, specifically regarding driving an ATV at dark, early morning, or evening.
There was no action on the proposed donations of two statues because of unanswered questions. The first donation is from the Caledonia Lions Club. The club proposed donating the club’s lion statue to the city for placement in a city park. The statue is the one seen on the club’s parade float. As described in the staff report to the council, “The City also received a proposal to procure, decorate, and place a Freedom Rock in North Park. Freedom Rocks are monuments honoring American veterans and are popular across Iowa and in other states.”
In other business, the council:
•Authorize the city staff to advertise a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the city’s 2024 official newspaper.
•Reviewed the overtime reports from October 16 through October 29. No action is required.
•Adjourned the meeting at 6:40 p.m.
The next meeting of the Caledonia City Council is scheduled at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 27, 2023, at the Caledonia city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.