BY STARRLA CRAY
WINSTED, MN “We need to, as a city, spark some interest in people running for city council,” Winsted City Council Member Tom Ollig said at the Jan. 5 work session.
With Max Fasching’s recent resignation, the city currently has one opening it hopes to fill before the end of January.
More positions may be available in the future, as the terms of current council members Bonnie Quast, George Schulenberg, and Ollig, as well as Mayor Steve Stotko, expire Dec. 31, 2016.
Ollig noted that he hasn’t decided if he will be seeking re-election, and Quast is not planning to run again.
“The council could be completely different,” Schulenberg commented.
“We’re kind of at a crossroads here,” Ollig said. “I’m sure there’s a lot of good candidates out there, and we need to make sure people who are well-meaning run for these positions.”
Applications for the current vacancy are due at Winsted City Hall by 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, and interviews will start Thursday, Jan. 21 at 5 p.m.
Candidates must reside within the city of Winsted and be at least 21 years old. Questions can be directed to city hall at (320) 485-2366 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part-time pay boost
The Jan. 5 work session also included discussion about wage increases for a few part-time positions with the City of Winsted.
Recommendations from city staff include:
• part-time police officer: From $15.50 per hour to $18 per hour,
• part-time administrative assistant: From $12 per hour to $15 per hour, and
• administrative intern: From $10 to $15 per hour, depending on education level.
Police Chief Justin Heldt told council members that he believes the increase for police officers will help attract new applicants, which will be especially important since officer Fred Blaser retired Jan. 1. Blaser worked part time for the City of Winsted for 13 years, and filled many of the available shifts.
New year, new fees
In other matters, fees for 2016 were officially approved at the Jan. 5 regular meeting.
Increases to water and sewer charges are summarized below:
• Water rate (per 1,000 gallons) from $3.24 to $3.30
• Water minimum (per month) from $5.87 to $5.99
• Sewer rate (per 1,000 gallons) from $9.10 to $10.15
• Sewer minimum (per month) from $7.20 to $8.03
Fees were also established for brew pubs, breweries, and microdistilleries; park camping permits will be $25 (previously there was no charge).
In order to help offset the city’s costs, a fee of $2,500 has been established for tax increment financing (TIF) applications, as well as for tax abatement applications.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• noted that it plans to discuss ways to retain city administrators, since Winsted has had three administrators in about five years. A date for this meeting has not yet been set.
• authorized Stotko to send a letter of support of a “Safe Routes to School” planning grant application, as requested by the City of Howard Lake.
• accepted the resignation of Shaun Bush from the Winsted Fire Department effective Jan. 4.
• approved 2016 solid waste hauler licenses for Randy’s Sanitation, Waste Management, and Mumford Sanitation.
• approved a contract for DiamondBack to perform at the Winsted Summer Festival Saturday, Aug. 13.
• approved 2016 official appointments for the city’s various liaisons and commissions.
• reviewed a list of the city’s accomplishments in 2015, noting that the fire department responded to 294 calls for assistance, a record high.
“That’s up from 230 calls last year,” City Administrator Dan Tienter said.
• heard an update from public works supervisor Dave Meyer about the department’s activities the past few months, such as the repair of about 29 picnic tables, installation of new street signs, cutting down trees, fixing water main breaks, and more.