By Ryan Gueningsman
LORETTO, MN On a split vote, city officials in Loretto extended an offer to Travis Rosin to become the next city clerk.
At the regular city council meeting Dec. 11, the council noted the three top candidates were interviewed by the city’s personnel committee, with Rosin being recommended as the top candidate. Current City Clerk Cindy Patnode tendered her resignation, effective at the end of the year.
Council Member Tom Pedersen said Rosin graduated with a major in political science, has interned for cities, has election experience, grant-writing experience, and paid his way for a clerk’s training session.
The council discussed the priority of the job for Rosin, office hours, Rosin locating closer to Loretto, and training. It is the plan to train office assistant Mary Schneider so she would be ready to move into the city clerk role in the future.
The city clerk position was offered to Rosin with a wage of $19 per hour, with hours per week ranging between 24 and 27 hours.
Council Members Clark Lohr, John Neumann, and Pedersen voted in favor of extending the offer. Mayor Kent Koch and Council Member Jeff France opposed.
The council then unanimously approved increasing the office assistant’s hours to 14 hours per week for 2013. The council also noted it is understood that during this transition, office staff may put in more than the budgeted hours.
City’s levy, budget for 2013 set by council
The city conducted its Truth in Taxation hearing at the meeting, and set its budget and levy for 2013.
The city’s general fund levy for 2013 remained at the 2012 amount of $337,695.
The council discussed that a wage increase of 3 percent was figured into the levy, pending input. There was no audience participation, however, council discussion noted opposition to wage increases and previous levy increases from 2010 and 2011.
The council felt justification for wage increases should be based on performance, according to the draft minutes of the meeting.
Additional items discussed included office furniture costs, money for updating the city’s codes, and an increase to Fun Fest.
The council approved the 2013 property tax levy and general fund budget with the stipulation that wages are not automatically increased.
France opposed the motion.
In other business moving into 2013, the council also approved the fee schedule for the coming year.
Looking at the water fund, Public Works Director Jeff Leuer shared concerns about aging infrastructure, hydrogen sulfide in the water (not a health concern, but an odor issue), and new Minnesota Department of Health mandates that will increase lab costs.
The council approved a 2 percent increase to the current water rates that will be dedicated to the water capital fund. This is a 60-cent increase in the base usage of water, and 15 cents per 1,000 gallons of water over the base of 4,000 gallons. The rates will be $30.60 per 4,000 gallons, and $7.65 per 1,000 gallons over the 4,000- gallon base.
No public comment was received during the open portion of the conversation, however, a letter was received on the matter from Tom Van Beusekom, who stated he was opposed to the rate increase. He requested a comprehensive review of the system.
The council amended its fee schedule to include the new rates.