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Discover Dassel proposes city improvements for 2020
November 18, 2019

Heidi Mirth
Staff Writer

DASSEL, MN – Julie Schumann proposed a new Discover Dassel project for 2020 during the Dassel city council meeting Monday.

Discover Dassel is hoping to install a pergola with benches and flowering trees next to city hall.

“It would really enhance Dassel,” Schumann said.

The project is expected to be relatively maintenance-free once completed, but will likely require a lot of volunteer hours to construct.

Discover Dassel receives $5,000 from the city each year for city improvement projects, but did not use the funds in 2019, relying instead on money from fundraisers.

Schumann asked the council if the unused funds from 2019 can be held over into 2020 and combined with 2020’s allotted $5,000 to cover the pergola project, which is estimated at a little under $10,000.

The council asked to see plans for the project and recommended Schumann apply for a permit.

In 2019, Discover Dassel used 120 volunteer hours and redid the landscape design by the northwest corner of city hall, as well as transformed the Dassel welcome sign at the intersection of Highway 12 and 15.

Road construction in 2020

City engineer Chuck DeWolf put forward the 2020 Improvement Plan, which would improve deteriorated infrastructure in five primary areas in the community.

Construction would focus on utilities and roads and is expected to start in May or June of 2020, to be completed by July of 2021. Estimated cost of the project is $2.4 million.

A public hearing on the project will take place in December.

Areas being considered for construction include portions of Lake Street, Galigers Lane, Guy Street, C.J. Moe Boulevard, and Summit Hills.

Complaints raised against possible zoning ordinance violation

Dassel community members Clint Scherping and Nick Corbin raised complaints against the operations of the feed plant in their neighborhood.

Scherping and Corbin questioned whether the plant is in compliance with current zoning ordinances.

“When you look at limited industry [zoning], right now, they do not look like they’re following the permitted uses of limited industries,” Scherping said. He asked the council to check into possible violations, and questioned whether the current zoning for the plant is even appropriate, considering that it is now surrounded by residential properties.

Corbin’s property abuts the plant’s property, and he mentioned being woken by loud pounding and banging noises from the plant as early as 5 a.m. He also noted that since the plant is zoned for limited industry, it should not have buildings exceeding 35 feet high and should be clean and quiet.

“There shouldn’t be noxious sounds, sights, and smells, according to the city ordinance,” said Corbin, but “you can see and smell and hear them.” He added that the property does have structures over 35 feet, and asked the council to review ordinances and see if the plant is in compliance with them.

Changes to personnel policies being considered

A proposal for amendments to employee paid time off and compensatory time was presented by city attorney Kurt Greenley.

Council members and employees previously made recommendations on the policy in an attempt to “maintain as much flexibility as possible,” according to Greenley.

“Basically, what we’re doing is eliminating the rollovers,” Greenley said.

According to the policy proposal, “The reason to amend the Dassel Personnel Policies and Procedures is to avoid the constructive receipt issue which complicates accounting, bookkeeping, and tax preparation for both the city and the employees.”

Under the new policy, employees would not be losing benefits, but would be required to use paid time off in the year it is accrued, or, alternatively, cash out up to 40 hours of accrued paid time off at the end of the year.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• noted that Red Rooster Days is looking for new volunteers. Council member Tom Weseloh said the event may be jeapordized if people won’t step up to the plate.

“We need more volunteers if people want this to continue,” Weseloh said.

Mayor Ron Hungerford agreed, adding “it takes a lot of bodies to do this,” and noting that current volunteers are overtasked and overwhelmed.

• noted that, after some uncertainty, Dazzle in Dassel will be happening this year. The event will be from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, with location yet to be decided.

• heard that Dassel Farmers Market will have a winter market Friday, Dec. 6 from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Dassel Community Room. The market is currently looking for more vendors.

• scheduled a special meeting Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m. to look at the 2020 budget, sewer and water funds, utility rates, and information on water meters and the liquor fund.

• heard that the Dassel Area Historical Society is hosting a lunch meeting at the History Center Tuesday, Nov. 26, at noon. Consultant and historian Daniel Hoisington will facilitate the meeting, which will provide a chance for community membors to share thoughts and suggestions on ways to improve the museum.

“I’d like to hear what people in the Dassel area think. It should be fun, even for those who just want to hear stories about local history,” Hoisington said.

RSVPs for the lunch are needed by Thursday, Nov. 21.

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