On March 19, the Spring Grove City Council voted to allow up to $50,000 to be "borrowed" from Fund 430 to pay for the city's operating costs.

The general operating fund has recently been depleted due to pre-paying for engineering costs of the highway project, members stated.

The borrowed monies will be replaced once bonding for the project occurs. Fund 430 holds dollars that are set aside towards capital improvement projects. Last month it totaled $264,374.

Summer Rec discussed

Summer Rec coordinator Julianna Lile asked the council if they intended to have the city take responsibility for sports programs again this year, while Giants of the Earth coordinates non-sports offerings.

Representatives from that group have offered to help out again this year.

"What we did last summer, I thought worked just fine," Lile explained.

"I'd like to direct the athletic part to start up (and) to identify the offerings and the staffing for them," Councilman Robert Vogel said after a brief discussion.

Lile said that attendance fell off somewhat in July last year with record heat. She offered to plan four weeks worth of activities in June with basically the same set of athletic offerings. Last year, there were three weeks in June and three in July, she said.

Vogel's motion to have the city handle sports passed by a unanimous vote. The council did not move on the offer from Giants, but did not turn it down, either.

Resident Lisa Bornholdt reported that she recently drew up a curriculum of non-sports activities for the council's consideration. No vote was made on any specific plan for non-sports activities.

Members briefly considered salaries for sports coaches and decided to leave last year's pay schedule in place.

City to pull Syttende Mai float?

Angie Halverson of the Syttende Mai committee asked if a Spring Grove city truck could pull the organization's float in parades this year.

Members discussed the implications and decided to table the item so they could check with the city's insurance carrier.

Roverud Park's future considered

The council talked about plans to repair an eroded ditch in Roverud Park and decided by consensus to ask the Root River Soil and Water Conservation District to provide plans and a cost estimate.

Parks and Rec member and Councilmember Lorilyn Dehning stated that the original grant that the city applied for would have paid for the work, but it was not awarded.

Prospects for an alternative grant or other sources of funding were not discussed, but members showed interest in pushing forward.

Several residents expressed a desire to restore a pond in the draw, but Nelson cautioned against placing what is referred to as an "attractive nuisance" in the park as that could impact the city's liability exposure in case of an accident.

Dehning said that the birding trail grant that was previously awarded could use part of Roverud Park (less than an acre) as part of their project.

Shooting Star Seed has agreed to seed four acres at no charge along the route to help get the trail off to a good start, she stated.

Council member Nancy Nelson asked to see the plans before approving the seeding.

Birding trail volunteer Saundra Solum offered to bring more on the plan to a future council meeting.

Police/EMS staffing discussed

One individual from Caledonia has offered to fill in for Police Chief Paul Folz on an occasional basis, but so far all of the applicants for a half-time job with the department are from the Twin Cities, Nelson reported.

Members noted that getting someone to relocate for 20 hours per week and no benefits might be difficult.

Nelson asked the council to consider the shortage of volunteer help for the Spring Grove Ambulance Service, since some individuals have recently retired.

At some point, the city may want to offer first responder training for those who are willing to help out, she said.

Other news from the council

Members agreed by consensus to hold a line-by-line budget review on Tuesday, April 2, apparently as part of the regular agenda.

Nelson broached the subject, which drew few comments.

The council approved a one-day temporary liquor license for Giants of the Earth Heritage Center. The organization will hold a Constitution Day celebration/ fundraiser on May 17.

A suggestion to hire an on-call office assistant to work at City Hall was tabled until a job description can be drawn up.

In addition, a formal policy of when the person would be asked to work will need to be developed, Nelson said.

Resident raises blight concerns

During the open forum, resident Laurie Moen spoke about the "beautification" of the city. She noted that some areas are in need of cleanup.

"The city council doesn't get into law enforcement," Nelson said. "We might send out the letter, but Paul (Folz) might write the ticket."

The city's nuisance ordinance is part of Spring Grove's zoning statutes, Vogel confirmed. Nelson said that a citizen can file a complaint form, which Folz would then investigate.

Next meeting announced

The next regular meeting of the Spring Grove City Council will be Tuesday, April 2, at 6:30 p.m. at 168 W. Main St.