The Spring Grove City Council met behind closed doors on Dec. 17.

Shortly after convening, members voted to hold the closed-to-the-public session to discuss "a personnel matter" and "possible litigation" with City Attorney Joe Hammell.

A half-hour later, Hammell reported that the personnel issue had to do with what the city council will expect from Corner Store employees, as job descriptions at the city-owned liquor store are brought under scrutiny.

The possibility of litigation took more time to discuss, according to Hammell. "There is a potential that the city could be sued by Verizon Wireless for refusal to grant a cell tower (building permit)." he stated. What that would mean for the City of Spring Grove, and how the council could respond, were the main topics.

Later in the meeting, Hammell raised the matter again. "There have been discussions about allowing cell towers to be built on EDA (Spring Grove Commercial Park) land," he noted, adding that with proper re-zoning, that may be possible. "I recommend we study that and bring it up at a future meeting."

There was no vote to do so, but members assented by consensus to Hammell's suggestion.

There were several votes, however.

The salary for position of Clerk/Treasurer was set at $45,000 for 2014. Hourly wages were also approved for part-time city employees Larry Bjergum and Sylvan Hauser, who clean city-owned buildings. The rate for both will be $9.37.

Members also voted unanimously to hire Smith Schafer Associates of Rochester to perform the 2013 city audit. There were three bids for the task, including one from the Decorah firm (Hacker, Nelson & Co.) which has done the audit in recent years. The new company offered to do the work for a fee that "will not exceed $17,500," according to the proposal.

Another vote named City Clerk/Treasurer Erin Konkel as "primary contact person" for the task of applying for the Minnesota Department of Transportation's "community roadside landscaping partnership program" on behalf of the city. If the city is accepted, MNDOT would supply an assortment of planting materials to be used along the Highway 44 corridor.

A number of liquor, beer, and cigarette licenses were approved, along with an amendment to the alcohol sales fee schedule.

Dianne Kroshus from Legion Post 249 asked members to consider trimming increases, which were set to kick in during 2014. After discussions, Council Member Nancy Nelson motioned to leave the "liquor on sale" fee at $500 for weekdays, but cut the Sunday sales fee from $300 to $100. Only Council Member Lorilyn Dehning opposed. Councilman Robert Vogel was not present.

The council also discusses requiring proof of dram shop insurance for temporary liquor permits, but tabled the matter for further study.

Mayor Bruce Poole appointed Brian Lavelle to the Spring Grove Public Library Board of Directors.

Finally, Debra Revels was hired as part-time bartender at The Corner Store by unanimous vote.