HJ/EDJune 26, 2006

Joan Guthmiller new NG city clerk

By Ivan Raconteur
Staff Writer

New Germany has a new city clerk, following the appointment Wednesday of Joan Guthmiller.

Guthmiller, of Norwood-Young America, will replace Shelly Quaas, who submitted her resignation earlier this month.

“This will be a growing position right away, and I was looking for that,” Guthmiller commented.

She said that, while she does not have any experience working as a city clerk, she has been employed in several office management positions.

When the company that Guthmiller had been working for in Waconia relocated to Lakeville, she began looking for a new position.

“I would rather stick around the area than drive an hour to work,” she said.

Guthmiller has always lived in the area.

She was born in Mayer, and graduated from Watertown-Mayer High School.

Her husband, Rick, is employed as a mechanic at the Dodge dealership in Waconia.

They plan to move to a hobby farm outside of Glencoe.

The Guthmillers have three grownt children.

Also, the council reluctantly accepted the resignation of Council Member Tommy Mathisen, effective Tuesday, Aug. 1.

“I hate to see Tom go. He was a huge asset to the city council,” Council Member Steve VanLith commented.

Mathisen was elected to the council in 2004.

Mathisen is leaving to build a house on land he owns in Howard Lake.

“It was costing me too much to wait,” Mathisen said.

He explained that he had planned to stay in New Germany until his daughter graduated in four years, but with recent increases in the cost of building materials, he decided that he could no longer wait to build his new house.

The council will consider what to do about the vacant position at its Wednesday, July 5 meeting.

Development challenges

Planning Commission Member Pete Pederson said that the planning commission is concerned with slow growth in the city, because the actual growth rate during the past six months has not kept up with engineer projections needed to meet cash flow obligations for municipal projects.

Pederson said that the city may be able to purchase insurance against not meeting predicted growth rates.

Developer Clay Montgomery, who with his father, Sam, is working on several projects in the area, was present at the meeting.

“Ann is certainly not helping growth,” Montgomery said, referring to city planner Ann Perry.

Montgomery said that when he and his father first came to New Germany to begin developments, they worked with the city and with City Engineer Kreg Schmidt to find ways to help the city get needed sewer and water projects completed.

“Ann has come in, and basically shut us down. We can’t even bring plans to the planning commission,” Montgomery said.

Pederson and members of the council expressed surprise at this, and said they were not aware of the situation.

Montgomery made reference to properties that they have purchased on the south side of New Germany, and said that the only reason they purchased these properties was that they thought it would help the city by showing the Metropolitan Council that the city was serious about development, which might influence the Metropolitan Council to help the city build a new sewer plant.

Montgomery said that, even if the city is not able to approve new plans at this time, he would like to work with the planning commission and the city to get plans ready so that when the sewer plant issues are resolved, they will be able to move forward with the developments.

Montgomery made it clear that he has found Schmidt, the council, and the planning commission easy to work with, but said Perry had put a stop to progress.

“We were told that there would be no approvals until the comprehensive plan is complete. We were told, without question, that this is not the time to be bringing plans forward,” Montgomery said.

“That is not the feeling of the planning commission,” Pederson said. He also said that he doesn’t see any reason why these projects can’t move forward in conjunction with plans for a new treatment plant.

Quaas said she would call Perry to see if there has been some mis-communication.

On a related subject, resident Paul Engelhart asked if there were any plans to build townhomes in New Germany.

“That is our next step. We want to put in some multi-family units across from Goodie’s (Lowell Latzig) property. Twins, or quads, we are open to debate,” Montgomery said.

City hall changes

Quaas said she agrees that, for security reasons, it would make sense to lock the city office door and have a window for the use of people with city business, as approved at the last council meeting. However, she does not feel the current arrangement of using the existing ticket windows for this purpose is very professional.

“I am going to feel like I am in a barn, with cows poking their heads through,” Quaas commented. She said there needs to be a more professional arrangement, and a counter for people to work on.

Pederson agreed to donate the labor for enlarging the window and adding a counter.

The council approved the change.

The council also approved a new citizen complaint form and procedure.

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