Council looks at snow emergency policy
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 5:32 AM
A public hearing on new parking regulations for Spring Grove brought no comments from the public last week. The Spring Grove City Council took up that issue as well as another parking ordinance on Feb. 20.
Following the hearing, members voted to adopt the rule. The ordinance will prohibit parking on Main Street and the 100 block of South Division Ave. year-round between the hours of 2 and 6 a.m. "to facilitate snow removal and street cleaning." Vehicles in violation may be towed without notice.
Snow emergency policy
Later in the session, the council discussed drawing up a snow emergency ordinance for all city streets.
Officials would be able to use the regulation to have vehicles moved for plowing, and it would have some teeth.
A typical rule used by municipalities is that all vehicles need to be moved within two hours following a heavy snowfall, Public Utilities director Paul Morken noted.
The ordinance will most likely include provisions to have vehicles ticketed or towed.
By consensus, the council agreed to begin drafting a snow emergency ordinance for future use, but no public hearing was set.
On a related note, members voted to have city staff contact Richards Sanitation and have a Dumpster parked on South Division Avenue moved at the expense of the property owner. Snow removal in the area has been impacted, Morken said.
Konkel appointed clerk
Council member Nancy Nelson made a motion to eliminate the city's account clerk position and create an FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) exempt job called clerk treasurer.
Implicit in the motion was the appointment of Erin Konkel as the permanent clerk treasurer rather than acting clerk treasurer as she has been since the first of the year.
As an exempt position, the job will be salaried with no overtime pay. That passed by unanimous vote.
A second motion by Nelson to adopt a newly created job description she provided for the new position was not seconded. The issue was discussed, but the consensus was to take some time and develop a more inclusive document.
"This job description is pretty vague," Councilmember Lorilyn Denning said.
"We need to come back and give Erin a more definitive job description," Mayor Bruce Poole added.
Poole asked Konkel to list her day-to-day tasks as a way to help delineate what her job description will eventually become.
Poole made a motion to set the initial salary for the new job at $40,000. That passed as well.
Another motion from Nelson stated that the new position would include benefits. It was passed without any dissent.
Finally, the council voted to send Konkel to a training session offered by the Minnesota Municipal Clerk Institute, which will take place at St. Cloud University in April.
Other news from the council
The council voted to donate $2,500 to the Syttendi Mai celebration. Nelson said that Syttendi Mai should be the only festival to receive city funding, since the committee in charge can provide documentation on where the funds are going for audit purposes.
"They should be coming in with a budget, and then we fund it," she stated.
Members briefly discussed a proposal from Hacker Nelson to provide the 2012 city audit, but did not vote on the offer.
Denning noted that the document didn't specify a cost, and said that she had a few other suggestions for changes as well.
The audit, she added, would be done by May 31. "They're not going to start until April," Denning said.
County Commissioner Dana Kjome warned council members that a frac sand haul route has been proposed that would come directly through downtown Spring Grove (see separate article in this week's Herald).
"Tomorrow the state's going to vote on doing the air quality standards (for silica sand mines) for the whole state instead of leaving it up to the counties," Kjome said.
"Right now, every county is working on their own EAWs. We're hoping the state will take the ball and put their own moratorium on (in order to draft regulations), which will stop everybody."