At the February 22 meeting of the Chatfield City Council, the potential benefits of working with a consultant to better identify longer-term goals, along with a work plan, was discussed at length.
A proposal from HueLife was under consideration at a cost of $6,500 for consultant services.
City Clerk Joel Young said they could hire a facilitator to help them identify a clear mission, values, and a work plan for a three- to five-year period.
Councilor Paul Novotny asked what prep should be done prior to this retreat, working with the consultant? Should we get input from the public via a survey?
Councilor Josh Broadwater said he was not seeing the benefit of this yet; “I can see gathering information to see what the public wants.”
Young said department heads, EDA, heritage community, and other community members would be involved. The facilitator will listen to our thoughts and goals and then help find the way to get there.
Novotny noted the city has a Capital Improvement Plan; everything is in it. Broadwater said there are a lot of people in the community that don’t communicate with us, and I would like to see via a survey what the community values.
Mayor Russ Smith said it would give us more information. “Would the five-year plan be different? We are ahead of a lot of communities. What about job growth, housing growth, life cycle housing for all ages, or a hotel. We want everyone on board.”
Young maintained that strategic planning builds more structure, so we know where we are heading. Although, we always will be tweaking that five-year plan. The structure will help when there is turnover on the council and/or staff positions.
Novotny suggested that if you don’t start a process like this, you don’t talk about it. For example, there was no money set aside for a park in Lone Stone or there would be a park there already. Councilor Mike Urban said it pays sometimes to spend some dollars to learn.
Young said, “HueLife didn’t solicit our business. I think it is a good idea; it will help us be a better governing body, more structure and less ‘knee-jerk’ decisions.” Broadwater said he just wanted to understand what we will get for our investment. Mayor Smith suggested they invite the consultant to a Committee of the Whole meeting so they can ask questions. Novotny insisted we need to find a good way to get community input.
Young noted that many people don’t want the community to change. How do we grow and keep what we value? Smith ended the discussion, suggesting again that the consultant be asked to the Committee of the Whole.
Other business in brief
•Rocky Burnett gave the 2020 annual report for the ambulance department. There are 20 EMTs on the roster. There were 362 calls, which is normal volume. Billable calls were 308 of these. Both ambulances were out about three times more than normal, a total of 32 times. The year ended with a positive budget balance. “We are looking forward to celebrating our 50th anniversary,” shared Burnett.
Desiree Schlichter was hired to an EMS support position.
•A resolution was approved to authorize the submission of a grant for the improvement of Lone Stone Park (playground equipment). The application is to the Department of Natural Resources to get funding for the project.
•City Attorney Fred Suhler was authorized to draft an ordinance designating the Chatfield Center for the Arts as the official polling location.
•Young reported that the health officer position has not been filled since 2009. Novotny said maybe we don’t need a health officer. The City Charter requires the appointment of a City Health Officer. The Personnel/Budget Committee has determined that either the City Charter should eliminate the position or provide more clarity of qualifications and responsibilities for the position. A motion was approved to send this to the Charter Commission for their decision.
•An agricultural lease between the city and Schoenfelder Farms for 2021 was approved (lease $175 per acre, or a total of $7,000).
•Household Hazardous Waste Collection is scheduled for September 14.
•The Board of Appeal and Equalization for Olmsted County will be held on April 14 from 9-10 a.m. This will be held virtually.
•Councilor John McBroom asked people to please get their cars off the street during a snow event.