At the November 28 council meeting, the Caledonia City Council approved Robbie Sobczak’s request for his spring leadership class to begin the application process to designate Sprague Woods as a School Forest.
Councilman Bob Klug started by asking, “Why do we need the DNR?”
DNA Forester Val Green replied, “It all depends on what the city wants out of that little piece of forest.”
“It just gives us the possibilities for grants and funding from the state that we can move forward with. As I said last time, the biggest thing is, it would give the school a platform to actually start to utilize it,” said Sobczak.
Mayor Klug again stressed that the school can use the woods at any time.
Councilor Amanda Ninneman answered, “I think the answer to your question is not that the city needs this program in order to function. I think it is the school that benefits from it. They are the ones who are going to get the benefit from the structure of the program.”
Green confirmed that the city still owns the property and makes all the decisions.
Sobczak summarized, “We need to think about the possibilities of what can come from this rather than trying to think about the complications.”
Mayor DeWayne (Tank) Schroeder called the meeting to order at 6 p.m. and led the council and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Council members in attendance include Mayor Schroeder, Robert “Bob” Klug, Amanda Ninneman, and Brad Rykhus. In addition, Council member David Fitzpatrick was absent.
Others in attendance included City Clerk/Administrator Jake Dickson, Public Works/Zoning Director Casey Klug, Finance Officer Stephanie Mann, Carol Hood, Robbie Sobczak, Kari Newmann, Jean Kinneberg, Polly Heberlein, Bonnie Tollefson, Randy Mell, and Val Green.
The council approved the November 14 council meeting minutes. The consent agenda, including Resolution 2022-22, which allows the city to assess property owners for unpaid special charges, tobacco license renewals (Kwik Trip #733, Kraus Oil, Dollar General, Quillin’s IGA, and The CBD Shop) and liquor license renewals (Elsie’s Bar & Grill, The Wired Rooster, MADD Alley, Good Times Restaurant & Bar, and American Legion 191) was approved with Ninneman abstaining due to a conflict of interest.
Mann shared an overview of the city’s financials, followed by an update on the 2023 budget. Mann stressed that the 2023 budget is tight. Mann made minor changes to the budget, “I still have a budget with a bottom line of $26,110, still with an 8% levy. I don’t see how we can lower it at this point. There’s not a lot of wiggle room.” The property tax levy will be set at the next city council meeting following the Truth in Taxation public hearing.
In other business the council,
• Approved the increase in the 2023 ambulance fees;
• Authorized Dickson to post and advertise for the street maintenance technician position;
• Approved the utility easement at the wastewater treatment plan;
• Accepted resolution 2022-23 supporting an active transportation grant;
• Reviewed the overtime report for October 31-November 13. No action is required.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:41 p.m.
The next regularly scheduled Caledonia City Council meeting is Monday, December 12, 2022, at 6 p.m. at the Caledonia City Hall, 231 E. Main Street, Caledonia. The public is invited to attend.