By Lynda Jensen
DASSEL, MN After some discussion and the input of a concerned resident, the Dassel City Council adopted a modified version of an amendment to the city’s on-street parking ordinance.
The amended ordinance puts into place a 72-hour time limit for on-street parking, but with an exception for holidays, when the time is extended limit from three to five days during that period of time.
Resident Jason Benzing asked if the council should lengthen the amount of time that it was considering for on-street parking. He said the proposed 72-hour limit was “too strict, too fast,” and that a more strict time frame could be changed later if the lenient one didn’t do the trick.
Mayor Mike Scanlon felt that the 72-hour limit was enough time. Administrator Myles McGrath noted that other communities had ordinances, with 72 hours being the least restrictive, he said.
However, other council members weighed in their comments, asking for some kind of exception, or wanting a longer time frame.
Council Member Bob Lalone said he looked at major holidays and discovered that most of them extend to a four-day period, such as Thanksgiving. “I’d like to see it five days, myself,” Lalone said.
Council Member Pat Haapala said she would like a 96-hour time frame with some kind of exception clause.
McGrath said that the process for ticketing might take long enough, it would actually end up being five days by the time someone is fined. However, it was uncertain what the process was when it came to tickets.
“If our real intent isn’t 72 hours, then we shouldn’t do 72,” Council Member Bob Wilde said.
Discussion ensued, with the council saying that residents should be given some kind of grace period and Scanlon saying that warnings should be issued at first.
Scanlon is opposed to an exception because he said the ordinance should include specific examples of what the exception would be. He also said there were only a few chronic offenders, and that the sheriff’s office was aware of who is a problem and who isn’t.
In the end, it was decided to keep the 72-hour limit, but add the exception.
Purchase of parcel is tabled
The council tabled a possible purchase of land that encompasses a portion of where Red Rooster Days takes place at the 800 block of First Street, on the southeast edge of the ballfield; adjacent to the Dassel Museum.
The land is owned by Realtor Alex Hanschen of Roseville. He is asking for $205,000, giving the city a tight deadline of May 28 to close the deal.
Scanlon toured the parcel and outbuildings with city building inspector Kevin Piepenberg, Wilde and Lalone recently.,
They found a host of problems with the existing buildings, including the large warehouse, two front buildings and a concrete structure that has roofing issues.
In addition, there have been fluctuations in the property description, along with the cost.
Scanlon expressed misgivings about the total cost of the deal, saying it might cost quite a bit more to obtain the desired parking that the parcel could provide.
The ballfield and Red Rooster activities both encroach on the property.
At a recent workshop meeting, Chris Hansen suggested a breakdown of community organizations that may contribute to the purchase including the city, the Dassel Area Historical Society, Dassel Development Corporation, Dassel EDA, Red Rooster, and DC Saints.
Piepenberg will return with a written report, along with quotes for roofing and how much demolition would cost.
City may get ‘really killed’ by LGA cuts
The council heard from Scanlon, who recently attended a mayors’ conference, where everyone was “holding their breath” about the legislative budget issue. Keynote speaker was St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
If the governor’s cuts take place (which they have, since that time), “we’re going to get killed on LGA I mean, really killed,” Scanlon said.
Asking around, Scanlon found many cities that are composed of 50 percent of LGA or more. This is not the case with Dassel, which will suffer less than this. Dassel is funded based on a ratio of 32.33 percent LGA.
Roofing to be done at city building
The council also approved a new roof for the city office building, with a bid of $49,270 from Horizon Roofing & Sheet Metal of St. Cloud.
The existing flat roof is plagued with problems associated with the rock surface. During the roof work, city operations will continue as usual.
The new roof will be angled and comes with a 15-year warranty.
Council honors Scepaniak
In other business, the council awarded Dave Scepaniak of public works a certificate honoring a recent achievement.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recognized Scepaniak for outstanding performance in wastewater operations in 2008. This is the ninth award for him.
The award was announced March 26 at the annual Wastewater Operations Conference in Brooklyn Center.
To be eligible for the award, facility operators had to comply with discharge permit requirements throughout the year. These requirements included submitting all monitoring reports to the MPCA correctly and on time, demonstrating compliance through monitoring or in surveys, and employing MPCA-certified operators.
Quietly voting ‘no’
During the meeting, Haapala voted against nearly every measure that pertained to spending money based on the current economic times, she said. “I don’t know how people are getting by,” she commented after the meeting. She added that she didn’t necessarily want any extra attention over her resolve to vote this way.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• was given an update about the Highway 12 sign by Scanlon, who reported that Porta Dock is donating a black sheet of metal that will be used for light colored lettering. A swing arm clock will be affixed on top.
• noted that the citywide curbside junk pickup appeared to go very well.
• approved the following claims related to the Dassel Museum project: ProBuild, $703; Monson for painting services, $1,670; Servin Plumbing, $9,883; and Compton Anderson for carpentry work, $15,778.