The city with heart

October 27, 2010 council meeting minutes


Regular Meeting

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 7:00 PM

Danube City Council Chambers



A regular meeting of the Danube City Council was conducted on October 27, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. with Mayor Gene Allex presiding.  Council Members Sharon Lothert, Ryan Bentley, Bob Simpson and Al Strunc were present.  Public Works Director Dan Kaufenberg and City Clerk-Treasurer Sara Wilson were also present.

Approval of Agenda


Council Member Lothert moved and Council Member Bentley seconded a motion to approve the Agenda, with the addition of “EDA Building” under New Business.  The motion carried unanimously


Approval of Minutes


Council Member Bentley moved and Council Member Simpson seconded a motion to approve the minutes from the regular meeting of October 13, 2010 as submitted.  The motion carried unanimously. 


Open Forum – Rod Black


Danube Resident Rod Black was present to ask for use of space in the Danube School Building to display 212 Conference history and pictures.  Tyrone Wacker, formerly from Stewart, Minnesota, is putting together a history of the original 212 Conference (from Brownton to Sacred Heart).  When it is complete, they’d like to be able to invite people to view the display.  They hope to have it done by 2011 Danube Fun Days.  Mr. Black requested use of the library, but Santa’s Closet is in the process of moving into the library.  Room 300, on the 3rd floor, overlooks the gym and is a good size. 

Council Member Strunc moved and Council Member Bentley seconded a motion to allow Rod Black to have the use of Room 300 on the 3rd floor of the school building, free of charge, with the understanding that if a time arises in the future that the City of Danube needs the room vacated, it will be done within 60 days of notice.  The motion carried unanimously. 

The City Clerk will draw up a simple contract for the use of the room. 

Public Works Director Dan Kaufenberg Monthly Employee Report


Public Works Director Dan Kaufenberg was present to give his monthly employee report to the council.  Kaufenberg reported that the previous night, his office window blew open and smashed into the building and needs replacing.  He was instructed to have Danube Lumber replace it. 


Kaufenberg has ordered a new hydrant to replace the one that was hit by a vehicle on 6th Street by the well house.  The new hydrant will cost $1,900 plus installation costs and will be charged by the Danube City Attorney against the driver responsible for the damages.


Kaufenberg also reported that half of the picnic tables are still at the Danube Depot since they were used for the Depot’s Fall Festival.  Kaufenberg wondered why they got moved in the first place, since the council had decided earlier in the year that the picnic tables were not supposed to leave the shelter anymore.  The council was unclear on the policy.  The Clerk will find the minutes that state that the picnic tables were no longer allowed to leave the shelters. 


Kaufenberg informed the council that Hardline Asphalt has been in town doing the street repairs and they are almost done.


Clerk Wilson reported a phone call from a resident to Kaufenberg.  The resident at 103 5th Street claimed that a tree on the boulevard was dead and branches blew off in the wind storm and hit a vehicle.  The resident wants the City to get rid of the tree.  Council Member Lothert and Public Works Director Kaufenberg both think it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to get rid of the tree, if she so chooses.  Clerk Wilson will check into this further and give appropriate notice to the property owner. 


Kaufenberg reported that the boilers at the school are up and running.


Kaufenberg said he needs to have a driver lined up to drive the City truck during snow removal and also trucks contracted for the removal of snow.  Sam Lang has driven the City truck the past couple years and Paul Nyquist helped out last year.  Kaufenberg wants to ask Paul Nyquist to drive the City truck during this season.  Art Nyquist and Bob Kopel have been contracted by the City for many years to help with snow removal and Kaufenberg would like to see them contracted again. 


Council Member Strunc told Kaufenberg that he wants to see the sanitary sewer problem fixed.  Strunc believes that rain water is getting into the sanitary sewer, and it should not go there.  Strunc feels that a big part of the problem is that sump pumps are not being drained outside, as required by Danube City Ordinance.  He would like to require that residents with sump pumps hard plumb them to the outside of their homes.  Strunc wants Chief of Police Les Schneider to go to homes that have sump pumps and knock on their door and check to see if it is draining inside or outside.  If it’s draining inside, Strunc said Chief Schneider should issue a ticket.  Kaufenberg stated that he needs an alarm on the lift station pump that calls him, rather than waiting for someone to spot the light on the pump and then call him.  He said the check valves seem to be working and that he will check manhole covers to see if rain water is leaking through them.  Kaufenberg clarified the rumor that a manhole cover was off in a neighboring field.  It was only a metal cover over the manhole that got pulled loose by farm equipment, not the manhole cover itself.  Council Member Strunc requested to look at daily water reports. 


Council Member Simpson reviewed the quote received from Climate Air for the Linkage Less System.  It would cost $9,500 to the install the system on one boiler at the school.  Simpson doesn’t think it would be money well spent.  The savings on gas cost would eventually be about $1,250 or less per year.  If something goes wrong, Simpson said it would take more than someone just tinkering with the system to fix it.  Repairs could be expensive.  The system comes with a one year warranty.  Kaufenberg suggested that maybe after the RCW School has had their Linkage Less System for a year or more, it could be looked at again.  Once it’s determined whether RCW had problems and if they were saving a significant amount of money, the council can revisit the possibility of installing a Linkage Less System.  Simpson also suggested that the boilers could be tuned up for significantly less money and possibly become more efficient, thereby saving money. 


Kaufenberg said the Christmas lights are very old, in bad shape and falling apart.  Half of them need bulbs.  He feels the lights need to be replaced.  They are expensive. 


Council Member Bentley asked Kaufenberg when he’d be switching back to five day weeks.  Kaufenberg figured around December 1. 


Mayor Allex asked if any buildings still need attention before winter.  Kaufenberg reported that all buildings have been winterized and properly taken care of.


2nd Street East Project


Clerk Wilson reported that on October 26 surveyors were in town looking for property corners, in order to verify the right of way along 2nd Street East. 


Xcel Energy Contract/MMUA Updates


Clerk Wilson received a packet from Steve Downer of the Minnesota Municipal Utility Association (MMUA) that contained a “Valuation and Compensation Issues in Establishing a Public Power Utility” publication.  Council Member Strunc suggested that an early stage decision needs to be made on the municipal electric utility issue before a lot of money is spent.  The town needs a committee of 3-4 local residents to pursue the issue.  Mayor Allex knows of someone who may be interested in heading a committee and he will talk to the person. 


Mahoney Lawsuit


Clerk Wilson was given a copy of a Quit Claim Deed showing the purchase of land by Mahoney from Terry Zieske.  The deed has not been recorded by the County Recorder.  Clerk Wilson emailed a copy of the deed to the City Attorney and he posed several questions to the City Council.  Mayor Allex feels we need to be concerned only with the Mahoney property and not Terry Zieske’s property.  Zieske’s property is commercial and does not require the same setbacks as Mahoney’s property.  Council Member Strunc thinks the City Attorney should address all six questions he proposed.  Clerk Wilson will let the City Attorney Aaron Walton know this.


School Building Updates


The Linkage Less System was discussed during Public Works Director Dan Kaufenberg’s portion of the meeting. 


Council Member Lothert had considered starting an open gym one day a week at the school, aimed at younger kids, but she had not had anyone show interest.


Approve Bills


Council Member Strunc moved and Council Member Lothert seconded a motion to approve the bills in the amount of 10,946.741.  The motion passed unanimously.


Council Member Strunc asked for a breakdown of the credit card bill, as there was not a copy in the council packets.


Utility Billing Software and Printer


Clerk Wilson informed the council that the software and printer she uses for utility billing has been getting more and more unreliable.  She said that during the last billing cycle, she thought she was going to end up handwriting the bills because the printer kept stopping after printing 1-10 utility bills.  There has been a lot of time, paper, a utility billing cards wasted trying to get the program to work right and interact with the printer.  The council told her to get some quotes on new software. 


EDA Insurance Bill


Council Member Lothert requested that the City help with EDA building insurance.  The EDA owes insurance money to the City for last year and this year. 


EDA Building


Council Member Lothert asked if the City wants to take over the EDA Building.  Lothert said that some EDA Buildings are run by the City rather than the EDA.  Lothert will check with the bank to see if the City can take over the loan payments.  Council Member Strunc asked if Clerk Wilson does the financial reports on the EDA.  Clerk Wilson said she doesn’t have any of the EDA financial materials and that Council Member Lothert has it all.  Strunc would like a financial report on the EDA by the budget meeting. 


Public Works Policies Seminar


Clerk Wilson attended a workshop on Public Works Policies for Street Maintenance and Snowplowing on October 21.  She reported that she got a lot of material from the workshop but hasn’t had a chance to go through it.  She stated that the workshop, itself, felt rushed.  Council Member Strunc requested that Wilson let the council know if she sees policies that she thinks should be in place within the City of Danube.



Set Date to Canvass November 2 Local Election Results


The Danube City Council will meet as a Canvassing Board to certify the results of the November 2nd local election on Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 3:30 p.m. in the council chambers.



Council Member Simpson told the council of his meeting attendance concerns due to an upcoming change in his work schedule.


Council Member Strunc requested that Clerk Wilson make notes on the back of the agenda regarding the item agendas.  He’d like to have a list, on the agenda, of what Public Works Director Kaufenberg and Chief of Police Les Schneider will talk about at each of their meetings. 


Council Member Strunc asked Clerk Wilson to check into the use of electronic debit as a method 

of paying utility bills.  She will check at the bank.


The City of Danube received a thank you note from the Renville County Senior Expo for allowing them to use the school building for their event.


Clerk Wilson told the council about problems she’s had with Davis Type from Marshall, MN.  Due to pricing issues, she had requested that they not stop at her office.  They stayed away for awhile but have come back in her office.  The council said it’s okay if she tells them again to stay away because she is not comfortable doing business with them. 




There being no further business before the council, Council Member Lothert moved and Council Member Simpson seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting.  With all members voting in favor, the meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.



Respectfully submitted:  Sara Wilson, City Clerk

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