Mayor Scott Solberg called the Tuesday, May 25 regular meeting of the Spring Grove City Council to order at 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 25, at the Spring Grove Communications meeting room. Members in attendance were Travis Torgerson, Trent Turner, Karen Folstad, and Chad Rohland. The council unanimously approved the consent agenda.
The council was asked why the city has two websites, and neither one is updated? City Clerk/Administrator Julie Amundson explained that the city does not have administrative rights for the original website, and she has not been able to find any records as to who set up the website. The renewal for the domain name is up in six months, and the city will not be renewing it with GoDaddy. It was suggested that the city add a notice on the home page directing the community to the second website.
2020 audit presentation
Abdo, Eick, & Myers, Certified Public Accountants presented a “high-level summary” of the 2020 audit via Zoom. Overall, the city numbers are “pretty average” when compared with towns of the same size in the area. Findings highlighted that need addressed by the city. First, internal controls – whose doing what. The auditors suggest that the city look at segregating responsibilities as much as possible. Second, the high number of transfers between accounts every month which impacts the General Fund. Limiting the number of transfers will make it easier when it comes time for budgeting. It was also mentioned that the liquor store has been a challenge in past years posing the question of how to improve cash flow. Mayor Solberg asked for a list of suggestions on segregating responsibilities.
The council approved the hiring of John Sylling as the new utility director.
The council did not take any action on the position of the non-sports recreation director, as there were not any applicants.
On behalf of Syttende Mai, Torgerson requested $1,700 to pay for the kiddie inflatables. Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt and did not refund Syttende Mai’s 2020 payment. Torgerson informed the council that the existing speakers at the log cabin would need to be replaced. There was also damage to the second storage shed at Trollskogen Park when the float was pulled out of the yellow storage shed.
Swim Center Managers Alyssa Johnson and Mariah Edgington submitted a request to the council that the new hours be kept through the season, not just June. Edgington shared data with the council demonstrating that private lessons, and not open swim, make money for the city. Folstad reminded the audience that the swimming pool has never made a profit for the city. After hearing from passionate community members, the council tabled their decision until the June meeting, allowing time to see the results of the new hours. The council approved hiring lifeguard Tessa Pieper for the upcoming summer swim season.
The council, with Mayor Solberg abstaining from voting, approved the city’s recommendation to hire six summer recreation employees: Blaine Storlie, Chandler Bergrud, Nathan Solberg, Jaxon Strinmoen, Logan Brumm, and Jessica Morken.
Rebecca Charles with the Spring Grove Economic Development Authority Housing Subcommittee presented the subdivision housing feasibility study results. The feasibility study looked at three possible locations for immediate residential growth – Bender 4th Addition, Dave Morden Development, and the city-owned Roverud Park Quonset hut property. According to Charles, “The study showed the city-owned Quonset hut property is an economical and attractive place for development.” Charles summarized the benefits of the Quonset hut property. First, the property does not generate tax revenue for the city; has utilities present and is an in-fill project; it is city-owned, giving the city control over land costs; this site has room for eight patio homes suitable for older residents that are downsizing, and this property located in an area of the city where there are many homes in need of care providing the first step in the beautification of the area. Charles asked the council to approve the Housing Sub-Committee’s request to release a Request for Proposal (RFP) to develop the Quonset property. The council approved.
Greg Skauge, Richard’s Sanitation, attended the meeting to answer questions about the garbage totes. The 65-gallon tote for garbage is $11.15 per month, and the 95-gallon recycling tote is $3.85 per month for a total of $15 per month. The city will mail out a survey to determine the community’s preference, garbage bags, or totes.
The council will begin the 2022 budget process in July and negotiations with the union are scheduled for June 9 and 23 at 168 W. Main, beginning at 10 a.m.
The Spring Grove Chamber of Commerce is selling puzzles, which can be purchased at the farmers market Wednesday evening from 4-7 p.m.
Mayor Solberg mentioned that this week the school is promoting Safe Routes and students are encouraged to walk to school. Banners are hanging at each end of town, reminding drivers to stop for pedestrians at every corner, every crosswalk, every time.
Mayor Solberg called to adjourn the meeting at 8:25 p.m.
The Spring Grove City Council’s next regular meeting is June 15, at 6 p.m. at the Spring Grove Communications building.