Winthrop City Council
Monday, March 27th, 2023
A Regular Meeting of the City Council of the City of Winthrop was called to order at 7 p.m. on March 27th, in the city council chambers of the City Hall, for the purpose of conducting city business.
Councilors Present: Mayor Edwards, Councilors Trebelhorn, Schmidt, O’Connor, Wickenhauser, Machaiek
Councilors Absent: None
Staff: City Administrator Michael Looft, City Clerk Heather Haun, Public Works Supervisor Troy Martin, Police Chief Logan Anderson, Officer Brian Hasbargen, Ambulance Capitan Ed Stoll.
OPEN PUBLIC FORUM
Superintendent Horton advised that there is some new agricultural impact information that is going through the legislature currently. Showed the tax impact calculation for the ag lands. Advised there was a third party that viewed the tax calculator to verify the accuracy, as well as the Renville and Sibley County Auditors’.
Councilor Schmidt questioned why there wasn’t a year label for the different questions. Horton advised that this current sheet is the tax impact calculator which focuses on one year. Also advised there is a debt calculator that would show the impact over the years.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
Establish Current Agenda – Schmidt added agenda item 5.5 2nd street update, and 5.6 Resolution 2023-Motion made by Trebelhorn to approve the amended agenda, second Wickenhauser. Motion carried.
4.1 Approval of Minutes: January 23, 2023 – Enclosed
4.2 Approval of Financials, Quarterly Budget Summary Included – Enclosed
Motion made by Machaiek to approve minutes and unaudited financials, seconded by O’Connor. Motion carried.
5.1 EAP for Fire, Ambulance, and City Staff (A) Fire and Ambulance volunteers see and take on a lot of mental responsibility when assisting the community with emergency situations. Volunteer mental health advocates will confirm that episodes of duress often happen in the middle of the night. Currently options from Minnesota Ambulance and Fire associations mental health hotlines do not cover overnight calls. Often it is 24-48 hours later, after the episode happens, that the volunteers get a return phone call. Cost per year is $3,850 for up to 75 employees. Each employee receives up to 8 sessions per issue for free. After the 8 sessions they can go through their own billing. EAP helps with mental health, life coaching, financial consultant, legal consultant and many more. This would also be available for city councilors and board members.
Motion made by Machaiek, seconded by O’Connor. Motion carried.
5.2 First Reading for updates on Ordinance Chapter 8: Nuisances and Offenses With the help of City Attorney Walton, Police Chief Anderson, and Asst. Police Chief Hacker, we have improved the nuisance ordinances in the following way:
• Changed 10 inches tall to 6 inches in height.
• $50.00 Per citation.
• Allows 10 days to correct the violation.
• Nuisance violations not corrected are corrected by Public Works and assessed on taxes, with Council approval.
• Creates a closed loop process to directly address ordinance violations.
Discussion was held regarding looking into the different tree diseases. Discussion regarding a defined area of walkways for shoveling snow.
Motion made by Trebelhorn, seconded by O’Connor. Motion carried. Second reading to be held next council meeting.
5.3 First Reading for updates on City Ordinance Chapter 7: Traffic Code
• Updated winter regulations for parking.
• Defined no parking regulations.
• Better defined the business district and residential districts.
• Better defined snow emergency declarations.
Discussion on designating parking areas, citizens will be pointed towards parking areas.
Motion made by O’Connor, seconded by Wickenhauser. Motion carried.
Councilor Schmidt asked about cars being parked on the street more than 24 hours at time, Walton discussed some of the reasons for the language.
5.4 Quarterly Financial Reporting (I) Each quarter City Council and the public will get a budget overview of current standings on expenditures for the city. The reporting will fall on the third month of each quarter. (March, June, September, and December)
Looft will send out the key to the accounts for department breakdowns. Mayor Edwards advised he would like the committees to see these reports as well.
5.5 Councilor Schmidt wanting an update on 2nd Street, Looft explained we are waiting for the properties that have to comedown and we have not gone out for a bid yet. Schmidt advised she has heard from the general public that the project won’t be happening this year. She also stated as a business owner on 2nd St, she is wondering when the notification will be made to the business owners for the start of the project. Trebelhorn talked about different possible solutions to work through the difficulties that may come to the residents.
5.6 Councilor Schmidt wanted to update on some confusion on the resolution. Schmidt stated that Winthrop’s resolution is not Gibbon’s resolution, more specifically councils resolution didn’t state a centrally located school. Mayor Edwards stated that the school presented both resolutions as they were passed and people and reporters may have said other things; however, the information was presented. Horton advised and demonstrated the resolution packets that were given out with the resolution that was passed.
REPORTS OF OFFICERS, BOARDS AND COMMITTEES
Administration/EDA – Charter April 18th Charter Commission Meeting, audit report is going to be delayed. Culvert project is being delayed until 2024. An ambulance building meeting is scheduled for tomorrow. We have been working on ordinances as well.
Electric – we use more energy in the summer. Monticello electric plant is currently down, could cause impact to energy prices.
Ambulance – talked about recruitment and retention, there is one in the process of interviewing ad we need about five to six more. Will be placing something in the next city bill and the paper.
Police – A little down on the numbers due to the weather and being busy with the parking violations. There was another controlled substance DWI, this is due to the officer that is DRE certified and we have been able to help surrounding agencies as well. The K9 fundraiser has kicked off, looking at spring of 2024 for implementation, spoke to the difference between dual purpose and single purpose dog. Winthrop’s will be a single purpose essentially meaning it is drug and tracking only and not a bite trained dog. The evidence room is good to go for the move, gave an update on the remodel of the new building. Two part-timers have started.
Cable Commission – Edwards advised we will be asking to have reimbursement for the OWL and a smart board.
Park Committee – Meeting will be soon, we have construction documents for the pavilion, waiting on the bids to come back.
Library committee – working on establishing a friend of the library group.
Motioned to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 PM by Wickenhauser, seconded by O’Connor. Motion to adjourn carried.
Michael Looft, Administrator
Winthrop City Council