Winsted City Council Minutes

City of Winsted

City Council Meeting

Council Chambers

October 2, 2007

6:00 p.m.


Present:                        Mayor Steve Stotko

                                    Council Member Bonnie Quast

                                    Council Member Tom Ollig

                                    Council Member Tom Wiemiller

Council Member Dave Mochinski


Staff Present:                        Brent Mareck, City Administrator

Deb Boelter, City Clerk-Treasurer

                                    Fran Eggert, City Attorney

                                    Mike Henrich, Police Chief

                                    Jamie Stotko, Maintenance Lead

                                    Dave Meyer, Maintenance Lead


1)            Mayor Stotko called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.


            a)            The Pledge of Allegiance was taken.           


2)            Consent Agenda


Quast motioned to adopt the Consent Agenda as presented.  Wiemiller seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


a)      Minutes - Regular City Council Meeting – September 18, 2007


            Accepted the minutes of the Regular City Council meeting of September 18, 2007.


b)      Meeting Reschedule – Regular City Council Meeting – November 7, 2007


Authorized the Regular City Council Meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, November 6, 2007 at 6:00 p.m., to be rescheduled for Wednesday, November 7, 2007 at 6:00 p.m.


c)            League of Minnesota Cities – Annual Membership Dues


Authorized the payment of the City of Winsted’s Annual Membership Dues to the League of Minnesota Cities in the amount of $2,023.           


d)            Hainlin Park Picnic Shelter – Ram Buildings Inc.


Authorized Ram Buildings Inc. to construct a picnic shelter in Hainlin Park for $7,085.


e)      Sludge Storage Tanks – Pay Request # 10


Approved Pay Request #10 in the amount of $58,242 to Gridor Construction, Incorporated for work completed on the Sludge Storage Improvements project.


f)      Salary Step Increase – Jamie Stotko – Maintenance Lead


Authorized a salary step increase for Jamie Stotko (Maintenance Lead) based on the recommendation of the City Administrator.


g)            Claims


            Approved the Claims List for October 2, 2007 as presented.


Mayor Stotko presented Stotko, Jamie with a Certificate of Appreciation for five (5) years of service to the City of Winsted.

3)            Public Hearings

            a)            Weed Ordinance


Mareck presented the proposed amendment to the Weed Ordinance.  The City of Winsted’s Weed Ordinance gives a property owner up to seven (7) days to remove weeds, grass or other specified vegetation exceeding twelve (12) inches in height.  If the property owner fails to perform the maintenance on their property, the city contracts through its lawn service to have the property brought into compliance.


Currently, the city charges the property owner all direct costs associated with maintaining the property.  The ordinance allows for additional fees to be added for collection, but does not charge the property owner any administrative time to enforce the ordinance.  


Mareck stated that the City could establish a $75 administrative fee for materials and staff time associated with the enforcement of each offense that requires the city to contract for lawn service.  The city would continue to charge service charges depending on the size and scope of the needed property maintenance.  The city cannot justify costs for a fee of over $75, which is a requirement for a municipality to establish a fee.


Mareck stated that he had received e-mail correspondence and telephone calls regarding the City’s compliance of the Weed Ordinance in regards to City property.  Mareck discussed the issue with the Public Works Department and they will monitor all City property to make sure it is mowed and trimmed.

Ryan Jopp, 415 Lake Drive, addressed the City Council regarding blighting conditions at 417 Lake Drive.  Boelter stated that she would inspect the property at 417 Lake Drive.

Bill Gilk, Southwest Sales and Leasing, addressed the City Council regarding the administration of the Weed and Blight Ordinances.  Gilk recommended that the administration and enforcement of Weed and Blight Ordinances be removed from the City Clerk-Treasurer and become the responsibility of the Planning Commission and/or Winsted Police Department.  Gilk asked for permission to address the City Council at a future meeting to discuss a bill he received from the City of Winsted for mowing Southwest Sales and Leasing’s empty lots located between 2nd Street South, 3rd Street South, and Baker Avenue West.  Gilk requested that the City Council not approve the proposed administration fee and reconsider it at a future City Council meeting.

Collin Botner, 141 Fairlawn Avenue East, stated that if the City has to continually send certified letters to property owners who repeatedly violate the Weed Ordinance, there should be an administration fee in place to cover the cost of staff time, postage and supplies.

Mochinski recommended that in the future, Boelter take pictures of properties that have a violation of the Weed and Blight Ordinances, and that invoices prepared for properties mowed and/or trimmed by Mathew’s Lawn Service contain the address of the property and the date the grass was mowed.

Quast stated that she continually receives complaints about the tall grass and noxious weeds located on the empty lots between 2nd Street South, 3rd Street South, and Baker Avenue West.

Ollig motioned to close the Public Hearing.  Quast seconded.  Motion carried



Quast motioned to adopt Ordinance O-07-11 amending certain sections of the Weed Ordinance to establish an administrative fee of $75.  Mochinski seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


4)            Old Business


            a)            Storm Sewer Analysis – Short Elliott Hendrickson, Incorporated (SEH) – Justin Black


Mareck stated that the City was asked by three (3) separate property owners to assess different storm sewer locations in the community.  These locations all had instances of high water overflow adjacent to their individual properties.  The City had SEH perform an analysis regarding these locations and asked them to propose any needed corrective measures.


Justin Black, SEH, presented information on the following three (3) different storm sewer issues and the consideration of the corresponding construction quotes to address these areas:

1.     Fairlawn Avenue

2.     4th Street North

3.     Sherman Avenue


Mochinski asked the Public Works Department if they could prioritize what storm sewer issues they would like to remediate.  Stotko, Jamie stated that he would like to see the Sherman Avenue and Fairlawn Avenue storm sewers repaired first.


Collin Botner, 141 Fairlawn Avenue East, asked Black if all the storm sewer drains were going to be evaluated and repaired on Fairlawn Avenue.  Black stated that the area located in front of 141 Fairlawn Avenue East is a low spot and SEH’s analysis shows that the addition of another catch basin would be capable of intercepting more storm water volume and alleviate the flooding issues around the existing catch basin.

Botner stated that he does not believe that the addition of a second catch basin will stop the flooding.


Mochinski stated that in the fall you will often see flooding around storm sewer drains due to tree leaves and grass clippings plugging the drains.


Ollig motioned to accept the bid from Kubasch in the amount of $8,490 to correct the storm sewer drain on Sherman Avenue, to accept the bid from Henning in the amount of $3,485 to correct the storm sewer drain on Fairlawn Avenue, and to have SEH do an analysis of the storm sewer further west on Fairlawn Avenue and prepare a construction quote.  Quast seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


            b)            Shed Placement in Meadowbrook Park


Mareck reviewed the issue with the property at 141 Fairlawn Avenue East.  The City discovered that the property owner had a shed and asphalt surface located on Meadowbrook Park property, while conducting a storm sewer analysis in the area.  There is no formal agreement between the City and the property owner for their placement of the shed and asphalt surface in the park; however, after some discussion with the previous Mayor, the asphalt surface was put in with his acknowledgement and he noted that if it had to be removed, it would not be the responsibility of the City to pay for or replace it.  The shed appears to have been placed on the property some time later.


Mareck stated that since the City has developed plans for the future use of this park property, it seems likely that delaying the removal of this shed will only become more difficult as time goes by.  In addition, the placement of a private shed on park property encourages similar requests or uses throughout the community, as well as places a remote insurance liability on the City.  The asphalt surface does not appear to be an issue, as it does not interfere with the use or future use of the park.

Mareck stated that the Council may want to consider a split rail fence in this area to eliminate future property misunderstandings and order that the shed be removed from the City park property within sixty (60) days.  Mareck also provided the option for Council consideration to enter into some type of rental/use agreement with the property owner, with a stipulation that the shed be removed within thirty (30) days of notice by the City.


Collin Botner, 141 Fairlawn Avenue East, addressed the Council and stated that he would prefer the option of entering into some type of rental/use agreement with the City and that he would be willing to remove the shed within thirty (30) days if directed by the City to do so.  Botner stated that he does not have any other location on his property to move the shed to.  Botner reminded the Council that he does have homeowner’s insurance on the shed.  Eggert stated that if someone was injured as a result of the shed, the City would still be sued because the shed is located on City property.


Wiemiller asked Botner if he would be in favor of a split rail fence.  Botner stated that he would prefer not to have a fence installed.


Eggert stated that if the City would enter into an agreement with Botner, this would be the first one.  There are no other agreements with property owners for private use of City property.  Eggert stated that such an agreement may set precedence for other property owners.


Mareck stated that the Council should consider how they would address any future requests from property owners to place private property on City property.


Wiemiller stated that he would not be opposed to entering into a rental/use agreement with Botner.  If another property owner requested to use City property for private use, they would have to address the City Council for consideration and approval.


Ollig recommended that the City give Botner until June, 2008 to remove his shed            from Meadowbrook Park.  Ollig also stated that if other property owners are using City property for private use, the items should be removed as well.


Quast asked that the City evaluate all properties in Winsted to determine if any other property owners are using City property for private use.


Mochinski stated that he believes the City will have problems in the future if property owners are allowed to use City property for private use.

Ollig stated that if the City Council does agree to enter into a rental/use agreement with Botner, the agreement should contain a stipulation that when Botner sells the property, the shed must be removed.


Ollig motioned to have the City Attorney prepare a rental/use agreement between the City of Winsted and Collin Botner for his shed located in Meadowbrook Park, to be presented for approval at the next City Council meeting.  Wiemiller seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


5)            New Business


a)       Fourth (4th) Officer Presentation – Chief Mike Henrich


Chief Mike Henrich gave a presentation on the importance of a fourth (4th) Police Officer position.


Mayor Stotko commented that Henrich’s presentation was done well and he believes that the Winsted Police Department does a good job of serving the Community, and the addition of a fourth (4th) officer is necessary.


Ollig stated that he believes that a fourth (4th) officer is needed.  The City Council and staff identified in its team building activity that they wanted to engage the City’s youth and to do so a fourth (4th) officer is necessary.


Mochinski stated that Henrich’s presentation answered many of the questions that he had regarding the necessity of a fourth (4th) officer.


Quast stated that she believes a fourth (4th) officer is important.


Wiemiller discussed the importance of the Police Department to the City of Winsted and its residents.  He also stated that he believes a fourth (4th) officer is necessary.


Mareck and Henrich stated that they will prepare the necessary information requesting the hiring of a fourth (4th) officer to be presented at a future City Council meeting.


b)              Construction Update – City Hall and Lakefront Promenade


Mareck presented a construction update on the City Hall and Lakefront Promenade construction project.  He discussed the following items:

1.     Contaminated soils.

2.     Overhead utilities.

3.     Lake bank restoration.

4.     Council chambers.

5.     Mill work and cabinetry.

6.     Lower level kitchen.

7.     Office furniture.

8.     Lobby flooring.


Mareck reviewed the finishes on the color board provided by the Cuningham Group.


Mayor Stotko stated that he appreciated the monthly updates on the City Hall and Lakefront Promenade construction project.


6)            Department Reports


a)              Short Elliott Hendrickson, Incorporated (SEH)


Justin Black, SEH, reported on the following:

1.     Sludge Storage Tanks.

2.     Comprehensive Street Inventory.

3.     Industrial Park Storm Water Treatment Project.

4.     Winsted Ponds.


7)            No Open Forum.


8)            Announcements


a)            Historic City Hall - Update on Pending Litigation


Eggert stated that he has the pleadings prepared for the Historic City Hall litigation, and would like Mareck and the Council to review them.  Mareck will forward a copy of the pleadings to the City Council.


Ollig motioned to schedule a Special Closed City Council Meeting for Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at 5:00 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers to discuss pending litigation.  Quast seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


b)            163 Main Avenue West – October 23, 2007 McLeod County Court


            Mochinski directed Mareck to contact Mike Long, McLeod County Attorney, to obtain information on the status of the October 23, 2007 court date and the requirements of the subpoenaed City Council and staff on that day.  Mareck will contact Long and report to the Council and staff.            


9)            Adjournment


Quast motioned to adjourn.  Ollig seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.




Respectfully submitted,




Deborah R. Boelter

City Clerk-Treasurer

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