The Spring Grove City Council met Monday, May 16, at 6 p.m. at Spring Grove Communications, Room 100. Mayor Scott Solberg led the council and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
All city council members were present – Mayor Scott Solberg, Travis Torgerson, Karen Folstad, Chad Rohland, and Trent Turner. Also present were City Clerk/Administrator Julie Amundson, Sue Schulte, Miles Schulte, Public Works Director John Sylling, Adin Solum, Aaron Solum, Sean Young, Pat Longmire, Pat Longmire Jr., and Todd Olerud.
The council adopted the May 16 meeting agenda and approved the consent agenda, including the minutes from April 19, regular meeting, and financials, and accepted three donations – Gemini Corp, $250.00 for summer recreation, Gary and Jan Lee Buxengard, $100 for parks, and Joe Pellowski, $100 for the fire department.
Council members had questions for Sylling regarding the work on the swimming pool. Sylling answered that work will take place in the fall instead of this summer allowing the city to open the Aquatics Center on June 6. Amundson confirmed that the slide for the Fest building has been ordered and will be delivered in August.
The council had a lengthy discussion regarding the municipal liquor store with Sean Young, Pat Longmire, and Pat Longmire Jr. weighing in on the conversation. Councilman Rohland asked the city to prepare a profit & loss statement for the first four months of 2022. The P&L showed that store’s revenue was $129,613 and expenses were $137,059, resulting in a loss of $7,446. Erin Konkel, treasurer/deputy clerk noted on the report that this is typical for the first four months of the year as the city pays for insurance and inventory in advance. Rohland shared that, “We have lost money two years in a row. The liquor store lost $26,385 last year after receiving some COVID funds and lost $43,000 the year before. The year before COVID there was a small surplus of $5,779. Before that it has been kind of trending down.” Rohland went on to explain that the council needs to decide the next steps. There are three options: 1. Have a public hearing and the council makes the decision whether to close the liquor store or keep it open; 2. The council can decide without a public hearing; and 3. Hold a public hearing, and then have an official vote by the public to decide whether to keep the store open or close it. Mayor Solberg stated that he is not comfortable with the store losing money. He asked, “How do we turn that business around?”
The mayor said, “It feels like we are tabling the decision even though we need to have a vote.”
The city approved a request from Adin Solum to connect to city water and will be charged double the rate. Amundson will connect with Houston County Environmental Specialist Amelia Meisner, have the city lawyer review the ordinance regarding the sewer hookup, and get back to Solum as soon as she hears from the lawyer. The request to connect to the sewer will be on the June city council meeting agenda.
Miles Schulte submitted a request to build a privacy fence on his property. He explained that the existing fence will not be removed. The council approved his request.
Amundson presented the new Fest building fee schedule after noting that she has received requests from non-profits about paying a fee to use the building. The council approved the new Fest building fee schedule – rent is $275, damage deposit $100, bar service fee $100, additional days $50, optional stage $50, non-profit security deposit $100, non-profit rent is $50, non-profit bar $100, additional days is $50, and optional stage $50.
The council unanimously approved hiring Christopher Strinmoen, director, Logan Brumm, Jaxon Strinmoen, Ben Udstuen, Caleb Griffin, Gabe Klug, Kody Moore, Jordan Anderson, Alisha Solum, Jessica Morken, and Niels Olesen for the summer recreation program.
Athletic Booster President Todd Olerud appeared before the council to ask for $1,500 to update the sound system at the baseball and football fields. The Boosters will be paying the bulk of the expense, $5,000. Olerud will ask the school board for $1,500. The project’s total cost is $8,000 as the Boosters will be installing the system at no charge. This was approved pending the school approval.
The council went into a closed session at 7:24 p.m. to discuss the police chief’s position.
The Spring Grove City Council will hold a special meeting with a public hearing on Tuesday, May 24, at city hall from 5:30-6 p.m.
The Spring Grove City Council’s next regular meeting is Tuesday, June 21, at 6 p.m. at Spring Grove Communications room 100. The public is invited to attend.