Winsted City Council Minutes

City of Winsted

City Council Meeting

Council Chambers

April 1, 2008

6:00 p.m.


Present:                        Mayor Steve Stotko

                                    Council Member Tom Ollig

Council Member Bonnie Quast

                                    Council Member Dave Mochinski

Council Member Tom Wiemiller


Staff Present:                        Brent Mareck, City Administrator

Deb Boelter, City Clerk-Treasurer

Fran Eggert, City Attorney

Justin Heldt, Police Officer


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.  Mochinski seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


a)              Minutes – City Council Work Session – March 18, 2008


Accepted the minutes of the City Council Work Session of March 18, 2008.


b)              Regular City Council Meeting – March 18, 2008


            Accepted the minutes of the Regular City Council Meeting of March 18, 2008.


c)      City Hall and Lakefront Promenade Project – Pay Request #6


Approved Pay Request #6 in the amount of $468,507.70 to Greystone Construction Company for work completed on the City Hall and Lakefront Promenade project.


d)     City Hall Office Furniture


Approved the purchase of the City Hall Office Furniture in the amount of $90,672.87 from General Office Products Company.

e)      City Hall Appliances

Approved the purchase of the City Hall Appliances for the Community Center kitchen and City Hall break room in the amount of $3,327.48 from Appliance Smart.

f)            Claims


            Approved the Claims List for April 1, 2008 as presented.


3)            No Public Hearings.


4)            Old Business


            a)            Pedestrian Safety – McLeod County Highway Engineer- John Brunkhorst


John Brunkhorst, McLeod County Highway Engineer, was in attendance at the meeting.

Brunkhorst distributed a copy of McLeod County’s policy for “Slow Children At Play” signs to the City Council and audience members.  Brunkhorst reviewed the policy and explained why McLeod County would not install “Slow Children At Play” signs on Baker Avenue.


Mayor Stotko asked Brunkhorst how often the policy is reviewed by McLeod County.  Brunkhorst stated that it was last reviewed in 2003.


Ollig stated that the circumstances on Baker Avenue are different because there is increased traffic on Baker Avenue due to the businesses located there.  The traffic includes semi trucks and other large vehicles.


Brunkhorst stated that McLeod County could consider restricting on street parking on Baker Avenue to make it easier for pedestrians to see vehicles approaching and for vehicles to locate pedestrians.  Brunkhorst also stated that McLeod County Highway Department would work with the Winsted Police Department to study the traffic on Baker Avenue.


Brunkhorst stated that the pedestrian light and painted crosswalk lines at the intersection of County Road 1 and Main Avenue West have been effective at reducing traffic speed in that corridor.  McLeod County Highway Department will conduct another speed study and traffic count in spring, 2008, and present it to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MN DOT) for approval of a speed reduction in that corridor of County Road 1.


Lenora Kubasch, 210 – 6th Street North, stated that the flashing lights at the pedestrian crossing at the intersection of County Road 1 and Main Avenue West have not been working properly.  Brunkhorst stated that the McLeod County Highway Department was not aware that the lights were not working and he will make sure they are evaluated.


Kubasch stated that the presence of the signs and the pedestrian crossing appears to have slowed the traffic on County Road 1.


Mayor Stotko stated that Winsted Police Department Chief, Mike Henrich, will contact Brunkhorst to consider doing a speed study and traffic count on Baker Avenue.


Officer Heldt stated that the Police Department works to enforce the speed limits on Baker Avenue.


            b)            Historic City Hall


Mareck presented the City Council with a copy of the proposed agreement prepared for Colonna’s signature for completion of restoration of the Historic City Hall.


Eggert commented on the purpose of the agreement.


Wiemiller stated that the agreement does not include anything about the restoration of the exterior of the building.  Mayor Stotko stated the exterior tuck pointing should be added to the agreement.  Eggert stated that he will add it to the agreement.


Mochinski asked if there were any stipulations in the city’s original contract with Colonna regarding the interior of the building.  Mareck stated yes.  Eggert added that the proposed agreement is an addendum to the original contract so Colonna is required to follow the stipulations of the original contract.


Ollig stated that the proposed agreement requires Colonna to pay $100 per day in liquidated damages if he does not meet the completion deadline as outlined in the agreement.  Ollig asked what authority the city has to enforce the payment of the $100 per day.  Eggert stated that the city’s lawsuit against Colonna is on hold and would be put into motion if he would fail to make the payments of $100 per day.


Quast stated that she would like the windows to be sealed and approved by the Building Inspector.  Eggert stated that he will confirm with the Building Inspector whether the windows are required to be sealed.

Quast requested that the Building Inspector prepare a checklist with information regarding what he can and cannot inspect for final approval of the Historic City Hall restoration project.


Mareck stated that before the Building Inspector issues the Certificate of Occupancy at the completion of the project, a thorough inspection is done and any issues, such as the windows not being sealed, are addressed.


5)            New Business


a)              Winsted Municipal Airport – Land Lease Amendments


Boelter stated that the City’s 2006 audit revealed that the Winsted Municipal Airport had a deficit of $24,049.  In an effort to eliminate the 2006 deficit and avoid an increasing deficit in future years, the city conducted several meetings with Airport Commission members.  During the meetings, financing options were discussed for addressing the deficit and the future operating expenses of the Airport.


The Airport Commission has also asked that the paragraph stating that “any fees charged for fire fighting services upon the leased premises shall be paid by the TENANT” be eliminated from the Winsted Municipal Airport Land Lease.  The Airport Commission agreed that hangar owners pay personal property taxes to the City of Winsted, and just as a home and/or business receives fire fighting services as part of the property taxes paid so should hangar owners.  The City of Winsted’s 2008 Fire Protection budget does include the airport hangars as a unit.


Boelter also stated that when the Land Lease was last amended to include the insurance requirements as dictated by the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT), there was some question by the hangar owners as to whether the Land Lease allowed the city to amend it.  To eliminate any uncertainties regarding amendments to the Land Lease, the City Attorney also added a paragraph stating that “Winsted may amend this lease from time to time as may be required to remain in compliance with all laws and regulations governing the airport and appurtenances thereto established by the Government of the United States, State of Minnesota and County of McLeod.  Such amendment may also be made to modify any taxes, assessments, license fees, maintenance charges, airport access fee or other charges as may be deemed necessary by Winsted from time to time.”


To ensure that the city can enforce the requirements of the Land Lease, there is language allowing the city to terminate the lease should any hangar owner not comply with any part of the lease.


Boelter stated that the financing options discussed by the Airport Commission and city staff included the following and have been added to the land lease:

1.     A yearly $200 improvement fee to be paid by each hangar owner.  The fee would be collected and saved in an Airport improvement fund.  The money would be used to pay for future improvements or expansion of the Airport.  Currently there are forty-two (42) hangars at the Airport so that would be a total of $8,400 collected and saved each year.  At their December 10, 2007 meeting, the Airport Commission asked that language be included in the Land Lease that the $200 improvement fee be evaluated every five (5) years.

2.     When entering into a Land Lease for new hangar construction, the hangar owner will be required to pay a $4,500 Airport Access Fee.  This is a one (1) time fee and would be used for the annual operations and maintenance of the Airport.


Boelter stated that the Airport Commission voted unanimously at their December 10, 2007 Airport Commission meeting to recommend that the City Council amend the Winsted Municipal Airport Land Lease and to include a five (5) year evaluation schedule for the $200 annual improvement fee.


Ollig asked if the proposed improvement fee will help with the Airport Fund deficit.  Boelter stated yes.  The fee will be used to fund improvements at the airport; therefore, not taking money from the operations and maintenance area of the Airport Fund.

Ollig asked if there will be a deficit in the Airport Fund in 2007.  Mareck stated that it would be determined after the 2007 audit.  Mareck also added that the deficit may be increased in 2007 because the city expensed approximately $27,000 in engineering costs for the proposed 2007 improvement project.  Mareck stated that the Minnesota Department of Transportation/Office of Aeronautics (MN DOT/OA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have indicated that they will not provide the city with grant money to pay for the 2007 engineering costs since the city decided not to proceed with the project.


Mochinski motioned to approve the Winsted Municipal Airport Land Lease amendments.  Wiemiller seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


b)              Private Docks on City Property


Boelter stated that the City of Winsted received an inquiry regarding private docks on city property.  A staff attorney for the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) wrote an article in 1990 asking cities to establish an agreement or permit system allowing private docks to be attached to city property.  The recommendation came from a lawsuit where a young man became a quadriplegic after diving off a private dock located on city property.  “The court determined that it is the city’s responsibility, and not the dock owner’s responsibility to safeguard such a dock.”


The LMCIT states in the article that, “the permit system should be established by ordinance and require the City Council to give permission.  This will help provide a basis for a discretionary immunity defense because the decision occurred at a policy level.”


Boelter presented the LMCIT recommendation that the agreement or permit primarily address liability and should include the following:

1.     The dock owner should agree in writing to defend, indemnify, and hold the City harmless for claims arising out of the existence of the dock.

2.     The dock owner should carry adequate insurance, in the amount specified by the Minnesota State Statutes, and the policy relating to the dock should name the City as “an additional insured.”  A certificate of insurance would be required to be presented to the city each year.

3.     The dock owner should maintain the dock to certain specifications as outlined in the agreement or permit.

4.     The dock owner should install warning signs in English and Universal symbols indicating “NO SWIMMING” and “NO DIVING” and/or “PRIVATE DOCK—KEEP OFF.”


The agreement or permit would also allow for the removal of the dock should the dock owner not comply with the requirements listed above.


Boelter asked the City Council to consider the following:

·       The City of Plymouth grandfathered in the property owners who had docks on or before a certain date.  Their ordinance states that if the property is sold, “it is the intention of the City Council to phase out and eliminate the existence of such docks…as each such property abutting a public park is sold.”  The LMCIT recommends that cities eliminate the existence of docks on city property.

·       The City of Worthington has their Public Works Department inspect the docks that have a permit or agreement each year to make sure they are in compliance with the city’s criteria.  The City of Winsted’s Public Works Department would have to establish criteria for acceptable docks.


Boelter stated that there are currently two (2) property owners who install private docks on city property and they have been contacted regarding the process.  If the City Council would decide to pursue the implementation of an ordinance regulating docks, a public hearing would be scheduled and all property owners whose homes are located on or across from the lake would be notified and invited to attend.


Boelter presented the following annual fees for dock permits or agreements:

City of Plymouth            $25 per year (Effective from January 1st to December 31st each year.)

City of Worthington            $85 per year (Effective from April 1st to November 1st each year.)


Ollig asked if the City could sell the property to residents that wanted to install a dock.  Mareck said it is an option the City Council could consider; however, the city would have to be willing to sell property to all the residents located along the lake and that could result in several docks being installed on former city property.


Eggert stated that if the city would allow residents to purchase city property and/or install docks on city property, anyone could potentially install a dock on the city’s lake property.


Mochinski asked if the City could designate the city’s property on the lake as a park.  Ollig stated that the issue with this option is that in city parks, the playground equipment is owned by the city, and the docks would be privately owned by the property owners.


Mareck stated that the issue was presented by a property owner who lives on the lake and another resident installs a dock on the city’s property, next to this property owner’s dock.  The property owner has concerns about the private dock on city property because it allows anyone using the dock located on the city property to access the property owner’s private property and to look into the back of their home.


Mareck stated that another option to consider is having the dock owner donate their dock to the city and the city would maintain it, carry the insurance, anyone could use it, and the city would install and remove it.


Ollig stated that he does not believe that the city should be in the business of maintaining docks during the summer season.


Mareck recommended that the issue be tabled, a letter be sent to property owners on Kingsley Street inviting them to the next City Council meeting to discuss it, and the City Council consider their input at the meeting.


Ollig stated that if the city sold their lake property to residents, it may jeopardize the trail plan.  Eggert recommended that if the City Council would decide to sell city lake property, they should discuss the effect to future planning with the city’s engineers.


c)              2008 Goals and Action Plans


Mareck presented the Goals and Action plans for 2008.


Ollig motioned to adopt the City of Winsted’s 2008 Goals and Action Plans.  Mochinski seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


d)            Project Requests – Winsted City Hall and Lakefront Promenade


Mareck presented two (2) change orders from Greystone Construction Company for the lakeshore clean up and plantings and installation of gas piping for a gas fireplace in the lower level Community Room.

            Lakeshore Clean Up and Plantings                        $69,300

            Gas Piping for Fireplace                                                $  1,034


Ollig motioned to approve the Greystone Construction Company change orders to clean up and install plantings on the lakeshore in the amount of $69,300 and to install gas piping for a fireplace in the amount of $1,034.  Quast seconded.

Motion carried 5-0.


            e)            Public Nuisance – 121 Main Avenue West


Mareck presented a public nuisance identified at 121 Main Avenue West due to a sewer back-up.  The city received complaints from some people in the area that the sewer back-up happened some time ago and it had not been cleaned up.


Mareck and the Building Inspector, Rob Beckfeld, inspected the property and determined that the City Council needed to address clean up of the building immediately.  Mareck recommended that the City Council require the property owner, Doug Bebo, to have the property cleaned by Friday, April 4th, 2008 and if he does not comply the city would contact Service Master to clean the building and it would be assessed to his property’s taxes.  


Quast motioned to require Doug Bebo to clean up the public nuisance at 121 Main Avenue West by 8:00 a.m. on Monday, April 7th, 2008; and if Bebo does not comply, the city will contact Service Master to clean up the public nuisance and it will be assessed to the property taxes.  Wiemiller seconded.  Motion carried 5-0.


6)            Department Report


a)              People Service


No one was in attendance at the meeting to give a report.


b)            City Hall and Lakefront Promenade – Construction Progress


                        Mareck gave an update on the construction progress.


7)            Open Forum


a)              Lenora Kubasch – 210 – 6th Street North


Kubasch addressed the City Council regarding large rodents roaming the city streets in the early morning.  Kubasch is concerned about rabies.


Mayor Stotko stated that the city will discuss the issue with Winsted Police Department Chief, Mike Henrich.


8)            No Announcements.


9)            Adjournment


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




Respectfully submitted,




Deborah R. Boelter

City Clerk-Treasurer

City of Winsted

City Council Work Session

Council Chambers

April 1, 2008

5:00 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


I.            Call To Order


Mayor Stotko called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.


II.            “City of Winsted” Sign


Mareck presented drawings of the proposed “City of Winsted” sign as prepared by the Herald Journal.


The City Council discussed the various options and decided on option number seven (#7).  The Council stated that they would like recessed or solar lighting for the sign.  The Council would like the wording on one side of the sign only and the sign installed at an angle so it can be seen from both directions.


The Council directed Mareck to contact Millerbernd Design and Fabrication regarding the making of the sign.           


III.            Seal Coating Schedule


Mareck distributed a map detailing the seal coating priorities of the City of Winsted streets.


Mareck presented a report showing the cost of seal coating each section of City streets, and also information on different types of seal coating material.  Mareck stated that the City’s Public Works Department would like to use granite when seal coating the streets.


IV.            Sludge Storage Tanks


Mareck stated that the City is required to eliminate the lagoons at the Waste Water Treatment Facility by the year 2010.  The cost to remove the lagoons is estimated at $100,000 and should be able to be funded through the Sewer Fund.


V.            Westgate Street Lights


Mareck stated that he has been working on improving the street lighting in the Westgate housing development.  Mareck stated that the existing lights do not illuminate very brightly; and therefore, Westgate streets are dark at night.


Mareck stated that he has requested a proposal from Xcel Energy to replace the street lighting.

Mareck recommended that a section of street lights in Westgate be replaced each year beginning with the first three (3) streets lights located on the South side entering the development.  Mareck stated that this is the section of the Westgate housing development with the highest concentration of residents asking for improved lighting for Westgate streets.


Mochinski asked if the Public Works Department has any street lights stored somewhere that could be used to replace the existing lighting in Westgate.  Mareck stated that he will ask the Public Works Department.  Mareck reminded the City Council that the street lights are not owned by the City but are the property of Xcel Energy.


VI.            Park Property


Mareck presented the City Council with a copy of the proposal letter he sent to Mr. Belanger, Edco Manufacturing Company, for the City of Winsted to purchase the Edco property.


Mareck stated that he did receive a response from Belanger and he asked what the City would pay for interest to purchase the property.


Mareck stated that there is $25,000 in the Park Fund that could be used to purchase the property.


Ollig stated that when the Council looks at the City’s list of priorities, is the Edco property something that the City wants to purchase.


Mochinski asked what the Edco property is zoned.  Mareck stated that the property is zoned commercial.


Ollig stated that if the City would decide to purchase the property it would not be for what the City wants but more for what the City does not want at the Edco location.


Mayor Stotko stated that he believes the City should continue to pursue the purchase of the Edco property.  The City Council agreed.


VII.            Schank Water and Sewer Connection


Mareck stated that he and Jake Saulsbury, Bolton & Menk Engineer, met with two (2) of the property owners in the Westgate housing development to discuss the purchase of an easement on their property for the City water and sewer connection extension to the Schank property.  Both property owners were receptive to providing the City with the needed easement.


VIII.            Country Acres Water and Sewer Connection


Mareck stated that he has started the process to connect the Country Acres Trailer Park to the City’s water system.  They are currently connected to the City’s sewer system.


Ollig asked if the water access charges could be assessed to Country Acres’ property taxes.  Mareck stated yes and it would be the property owners decision to pass that expense on to their individual trailer residents.


IX.            Small Cities Development Grant


Mareck reported that the City did not receive the Small Cities Development Grant.  Mareck asked the City Council if they wanted to continue to pursue the grant.  The Council stated yes.


X.            League of Minnesota Cities 2008 City of Excellence Award


Mareck stated that Cities can submit a nomination to the League of Minnesota Cities for their 2008 City of Excellence Award.  Mareck distributed a copy of the City of Winsted’s nomination for the City Council to review.  The nomination highlights “Spotlight on Winsted.”

XI.            JOBZ Program


Ollig asked Mareck if he had any information on the proposal before the Minnesota State Legislature to discontinue the JOBZ Program.  Mareck shared what information he had.


XII.            Ochu’s Property


Wiemiller asked if the City has heard anything from the Ochu family regarding their property located on the corner of Main Avenue West and County Road 1.  Mareck stated no.  Mareck is working with the City Attorney, Fran Eggert, to determine the steps to take to address the clean up of the property with the Ochu family.


XIII.            Airport Commission


Mareck stated that he has cancelled the April, 2008 meeting.  In the near future, Mareck is going to schedule an Airport Commission meeting to present options for the future of the airport.  Mareck stated that he will get a recommendation from the Airport Commission and bring it to the City Council.


XIV.            Combining the Park and Planning Commissions


Mareck stated that he sent a memo to the Park and Planning Commission members proposing to combine the Commissions and having one meeting each month.  Mareck has received two (2) responses in favor of the proposal.


Ollig stated that he talked to Planning Commission member, Marv Ebensperger, and he was concerned that nine (9) members might be too many.  Mareck stated that he believes it would be a good idea to have nine (9) members at first, and in the future consider reducing the number of Commission members to seven (7).


XV.            City Council Work Sessions


Mareck asked the Council if they wanted to continue with the City Council work sessions.  The City Council stated yes.           


XVI.            Adjourn


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




Respectfully submitted,




Deborah R. Boelter

City Clerk-Treasurer

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