After seven months of discussions and alterations, the Spring Valley City Council met on April 28, for what would become the final meeting of review for the proposed rental ordinance.

Following discussion at that meeting, the council voted to approve the ordinance, which will go into effect July 1.

It was during the Oct. 2 meeting when city administrator Deb Zimmer first made the council aware of an issue concerning several complaints made to the Minnesota Public Health Department in regards to rental conditions.

Since then the council members have been working to revamp the original ordinance, which was denied in 2012, by inviting property owners to voice their opinions through a mail campaign and a public hearing.

The hearing was held on March 10, with a standing room only crowd in attendance.

While some community members were optimistic about the idea of the ordinance, several people voiced concerns with the cost, enforcement and the liability to the city.

After listening to these opinions the council once again altered the wording in the ordinance to fit the needs of the city and its citizens.

Above all, the purpose of the ordinance is to protect the public health, safety and general welfare of the people of Spring Valley, as well as, preserve the value of land and buildings in the city, said city officials.

It was noted that by enacting the ordinance the city is not intending to interfere or permit interference with the fair and accepted contractual agreements between tenants and landlords or with legal rights to personal privacy.

According to Zimmer, the license will be set annually by resolution, which at this time will be $25 per year due by the first business day in February every year. If a rental until passes the inspection with no corrective action plan the unit will be inspected every three years.

Visitor and rental property owner Sheri Schmidt expressed concern about the process of the inspections.

"Our intention is to send out a letter asking the tenants and the landlords to let us know when they are available," Zimmer explained.

Construction Management Services (CMS) will be completing the inspections strictly on the guidelines of the rental ordinance.

The council voted to approve the ordinance with council member Todd Jones opposing. Jones has expressed concerns with the ordinance, and how it will impact property owners, during discussions held by the council.

The ordinance will go into effect on July 1 with the prorated fee of $12.50.

The city's website, http://www.springvalley.govoffice.com/, will be updated to include the rental ordinance and letters will be mailed to rental property owners.

Library director

Zimmer reported the library board had met and interviewed a candidate for the library director position, which became available with the retirement of Dianne Sikkink.

The board had already approved the hiring of Jennifer Simon, of Spring Valley, for the position and asked the council to do the same, which it did with a unanimous vote.

Friday Fun Nights

Thanks in part to The Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota along with the Spring Valley Area Community Foundation, Spring Valley will be celebrating Friday Fun Nights this summer.

The events will be held on May 23, July 25, Aug. 22 and Sept. 26 and will be promoting healthy living with activities involving walking, jogging, bicycling, as well as, gardening, cooking and music.

To make this possible the council approved a request to close Broadway Avenue from south of Subway to Main Street and also Courtland and Jefferson streets to the alleys on both sides of the streets.

South Park

The council approved a bid from Bruce Kraut Construction, of Spring Valley, for the upcoming South Park bathroom project.

The total project cost is estimated to be $58,060, but if the city is able to complete certain parts of the project though its departments the company listed an estimated savings of $4,900 bringing the cost much closer to the budget of $50,000.

Parks and Recs director John Fenske reminded the council, the city is currently paying $4,000 per year for port-a-potties, "so it won't take a long time for these bathrooms to pay for themselves."

According to Zimmer, the company is hoping to have the work completed by June 1, if the weather is cooperative during the project, so the bathrooms can be enjoyed during the summer months.

Department reports

Sikkink addressed the council for her final department report before her retirement.

"It's been an honor to serve my hometown as the director of the library. I grew up here and got my first library card here in 1958. I'd like to thank the city of Spring Valley and the past and present library boards for allowing me to serve during this time and giving me the opportunity; it's been quite a few chapters in my book of life," Sikkink expressed.

Maintenance supervisor Chad Hindt told the council they are beginning to fill potholes and fix damages left behind from this year's brutal winter.

The community center is warming back up after spending some days in the cold due to a broken furnace.

Fenske explained the new furnace was installed just in time for the newly established Thursday card games.

The community center also received a Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) thanks to a federal grant. See related article.

It has been a relatively busy month for the Spring Valley Area Ambulance Association according to ambulance director Jim Cooper as he continues to work on licensing. The SVAAA also has two persons finishing their EMT classes.

Fillmore County deputy Tim Rasmussen reported that The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day was a quite a success with three large trash bags full at the end of the day.

Fire Chief Troy Lange briefed the council on the recent Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA mock accident held at the Kingsland High School, which showed students the possible consequences of drinking and driving and texting and driving.

Zimmer informed the council she is looking for volunteers to help paint the community center on June 25 though June 28.

The next council meeting will be May 12 at 6 p.m.