By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN In a 3-2 vote, Dassel City Council approved registering the city’s red rooster logo to prevent another entity from claiming it as its own.
During last Monday’s meeting, Council Member Jason Benzing suggested the idea, since the logo is now linked to the city of Dassel.
“I think there needs to be something to protect it,” Benzing said. Registering it would allow the city to recuperate any legal fees if someone would infringe on it, he added.
The cost of registering the logo is a total of $475, and registration would be good for 10 years. This would be taken from the council’s discretionary fund.
Mayor Mike Scanlon noted that by doing this, it could prevent future problems.
Earlier, Scanlon gave an example of a school district in southern Minnesota that happened to be using the same logo as the state of Wyoming.
Since the state had it registered, the school district could no longer use the logo.
The red rooster logo is currently on the water tower and is being used on city-related advertisements. The tag line "A lot to crow about" will also be included in the red rooster logo.
The council approved registering the logo 3-2 with Scanlon and council members Wayne Medcraft and Benzing voting for it, and council members Bob Lalone and Alesia Warner voting against it.
Council hears audit report
Auditor Dennis Oberloh gave a clean audit report, with some suggestions for the council to consider.
He noted that the city’s general fund balance is depleting and is down to 21.5 percent. The state auditor recommends cities maintain a fund balance of 35 to 50 percent.
In 2009, the city was at 41.7 percent in its fund balance.
He suggests cities operate with at least six months of revenue in reserves, especially with the delays in payments from the state for local government aid (LGA).
“You either have to raise revenue or cut services, and nobody likes either,” Oberloh said.
Council Member Bob Lalone did add that the city “has been cutting quite a bit of expenditures” from 2007 to 2010.
“I’m not saying you aren’t,” Oberloh said, “but the outlook in revenue isn’t good.” The same thing is happenings to other cities, he noted, adding that Dassel isn’t in a crisis, just at a critical point.
He later added that, as far as expenditures, he didn’t see where the city had been “out of line” in any of the categories, and that the city may have addressed some of these concerns that were already mentioned in the 2011 budget. Mayor Mike Scanlon confirmed that the budget has addressed some of these critical points.
In addition, the water fund showed a $18,000 deficit, sewer had a “positive sway,” but is still at a $49,992 deficit; and the liquor fund had an operating income of $41,984, up from $23,441 in 2009, and including operating losses in ‘08 and ‘07.
The council approved the audit report as presented.
Fire department to purchase two cameras
Dassel firefighters Dave Johnson and Mike Enerson addressed the council requesting the replacement of the department’s thermal imaging camera.
The camera allows the firefighters to see better when going into a fire by using infrared technology. The previous camera quit working and was found not to be repairable.
The cost of a replacement would be just under $10,000 and would include a truck charging kit, extra battery, and one-year warranty. The council was asked to pay for $6,000 of the cost, which would come from the fire department’s capital equipment fund. The remaining $4,000 would be paid for through the department’s gambling fund (pull tabs).
Scanlon reminded the council that the city is still unsure of what it’s going to be getting from the state in local government aid (LGA) and therefore, needs to be careful.
He asked if the department was considering paying the city back with future pull tab money. Johnson told the council the department hadn’t discussed it.
Benzing noted that this was a necessary item since it can detect and help find people in a burning building.
Johnson also noted it helps prevent unnecessary damage to a structure because it can detect where the heat is coming from.
The council approved the $6,000 to supplement the cost of the thermal camera. Scanlon abstained.
In addition, the council was asked to OK the purchase of a second camera for the second pumper truck, to be paid for with money from the department’s relief association.
It was noted that any equipment purchased by the department must be preapproved by the council.
The council approved (Scanlon abstained) the purchase with the understanding that equipment replacement and depreciation would be added to the department’s budget each year.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• heard from Steve Mattson of Northland Securities on refunding a bond issue currently at 4.22 percent, and reissuing it at 2.27 percent. This would save the city $3,000 annually and a total of roughly $25,000 over the course of the bond.
The council approved the resolution to start the process.
• approved a change in law firms representing the city from Couri, Mac Arthur and Ruppe LLC, to Mac Arthur Law Office LLC.
Attorney Andy Mac Arthur has been the city’s attorney for four years and is starting his own law firm.
The only noted change was a reduction in the current meeting fee, from $350 to $300.
• approved necessary street repairs including patching on CJ Moe and Galligers Lane, not to exceed $18,000.
• approved the purchase of a garage door that will replace the door for the public works building on Third Street, which will then replace the one in disrepair at the compost building. The cost of a door, including installation, is $1,843.
• approved the removal of contaminated soil located on Fifth Street, that was left from street repairs done in 2009. The cost of removal will be $1,650.
• approved a 36-month lease of a reconditioned copy machine for city hall at a monthly cost of $120. It can then be purchased for $1. This would save the city $45 a month over a new machine.
It was noted that there may be potential for printing water bills, which would be a cost-savings of $62 annually.