By Lynda Jensen
DASSEL, MN -- The new fire truck pumper ordered by the Dassel City Council is expected to arrive March or April, according to Fire Chief Dale Grochow.
To this end, the city council took care of additional business during its meeting last Monday, approving “loose” equipment for the new fire truck in the amount of $23,267.
The equipment was part of the original process, but scheduled to be dealt with later, according to Dave Johnson of the fire department.
Some of the equipment includes a defibrillator, air packs, a specialty chain saw, and upgrades to nozzles in order to make the existing truck similar to the new one. Bids were received from three companies for the equipment.
The fire department asked the council to approve a high-end figure of between $30,000 to $35,000, with a “not to exceed” clause in it but through a series of questions from Scanlon and others, this number was whittled down to $23,267.
Scanlon expressly noted that he would rather the department ask for specific items that have specific numbers behind them, rather than a “not to exceed” figure, because it might encourage spending that would otherwise not take place.
The new truck is expected to replace the department’s old yellow 1981 General pumper truck, which has been deemed unreliable.
Budget committee to be formed
In other business, the council also moved forward with formation of a budget committee.
The committee will tentatively have three residents on it, as well as two city council members. The actual number of people on this committee is yet to be determined, and a mission statement and charter will be set up at future council meetings.
Anyone who is interested in joining this committee should call city hall at (320) 275-2454.
Liquor store improvements
After a bit of debate, the council approved spending $15,000 for liquor store improvements that it felt was needed in order to attract a renter.
As it stands, the empty portion of the building, the western half, has been empty for what will be three years at the start of the year, according to Scanlon.
This space has not been advertised except for a sign in the window.
Benzing asked how much rent money was being lost, and Scanlon estimated the potential monthly rent amount at about $2,700.
“The money is there, and it needs to get done,” Warner commented.
It was mentioned that the EDA could tackle this subject.
Odds and ends
In other subjects, the council:
• appointed Benzing and Haapala to a committee that will address the subject of enforcement of snow removal on sidewalks. It has been noted before that the existing ordinance is hard to enforce. The duo will bring back their findings to the council.
• heard from Scanlon, who asked for volunteers from the city council to help load spent Christmas trees on a truck, to assist public works with collection of them after the holidays, at a date to-be-determined. Lalone, Benzing and Scanlon will help with this project.
• noted that the refrigerator in the city hall kitchen, which is used for senior dining also, was replaced with commercial model for $1,217. This was after trying to fix the old one, which was at the end of its life.
• will set a personnel meeting in January to address personnel policy revisions.
• approved the continuation of IRS section 125, known as a cafeteria plan for city employees.
• approved utility rate increases on a split vote (see separate article).