The Clear Lake City Council met via teleconference Monday evening and welcomed new member Stefany Janish to her first meeting, after she ran unopposed and was elected in November to fill the seat of retiring member Bob Arnold.
However, the next order of business was to accept the resignation of another council member, Dale Powers, thus creating a vacancy.
“Member Powers resigned as of this morning,” announced Mayor Tim Goenner, who gave no further details.
The group adopted a resolution approving Powers’ resignation, followed by a motion and approval to declare a vacancy on the council. Next, they discussed their options moving forward which included a special election or the appointment of an interested citizen.
Clerk Kari Mechtel spoke of the significant costs associated with a special election and reviewed past practice of the council which has been to appoint an interested party if there was a vacancy so far away from the next election.
After a brief discussion, council directed Mechtel to advertise in the local newspaper for interested citizens to submit a letter to the city indicating their desire to be appointed to the council. A decision is not pressing, but council will discuss the progress of the search at its February meeting.
Mayor Tim Goenner discussed appointments for 2021, as council members are needed to serve in a variety of functions.
Karen White was named acting mayor and she will also serve on the water/sewer committee and the personnel committee.
Kristin Brandt will continue to be the liaison to the fire department and will serve on personnel, while Janish will be on the community development committee.
Goenner will keep his duties in emergency management, as well as fire relief association trustee.
Council had a bevy of permits to consider, including gambling permits for St. Marcus Catholic Church and the Lions, as well as several Lions Club functions including a wine tasting, steak dinner and the annual fish frys. Dates have yet to be determined for the Lions’ events, but Clerk Mechtel will work with the club to be flexible and meet their needs. All of the permit applications received unanimous approval.
With the first of the year passing, council approved the transfer of funds from the adopted 2021 budget to the individual accounts.
In addition, they were also asked to review the fee schedule for 2021 and after assurances from Mechtel that the city’s fees were in line with other similarly sized municipalities, the structure was approved.
City Engineer Keith Yapp requested and received approval for a payment of $197,200 for the work on Well #3, which is now online and contributing to the city’s water supply.
“This will take care of the 2020 expenses for this project,” Yapp explained. “There will be a little clean up in the spring once the snow melts, but that is all that is left to do on this project.”
Council expressed their appreciation towards Yapp for the smoothness of this project, as they viewed it as an integral step in ensuring a safe and adequate water supply for the city.
Yapp next explained that he has been working with Mechtel to explore the possibility of an application for a state grant to help with the establishment of a trail from Hwy. 10 to Hunter Lake.
Mayor Goenner stated that he has continued to work with Sherburne County and MnDOT on the issue as well, as the speed limit study is still under consideration.
Once more feedback is gained from MnDOT, council will decide if it is worth pursuing the grant funding.
In other business, the council:
• Listened to Mechtel review the sheriff’s report, including 23 calls for service. She also announced that Sgt. Johnson will no longer be briefing council on the monthly report but a replacement will be named soon;
• Heard from Public Works Director Dustin Luhning regarding the successful updates to Well #2, as well as citywide snowplowing efforts;
• Discussed employee reviews and the process for getting this done, as they usually occur in February;
• Postponed a decision on the format for the February council meeting. Local COVID numbers will be reviewed later in January before a decision is made;
• Directed staff to send letters to several homeowners regarding the shoveling of the sidewalks.