The Spring Valley City Council held a special first-of-the-year meeting Jan. 9 to discuss long-range plans.

City Administrator Deb Zimmer went over the scheduled 2013 capital expenditures, according to the budget. They include $25,000 for a replacement squad car, $15,000 for playground equipment and $15,000 for the replacement of a mower.

She then listed future expenditures over the next three to four years. The following expenditures were listed for 2014: a loader/snowblower estimated to cost $190,000, an ambulance estimated to cost $140,000, and two Lucas Chest Pumps estimated at $22,000. Zimmer said money is being set aside for the loader/snowblower.

As far as the chest pumps, Spring Valley Ambulance Service Director Jim Cooper said these are electric powered and do chest compressions for an EMT.

"It does CPR for you. It is continuous and attached to the patient. These are coming up in EMS standards as the proposed method (for doing CPR)," Cooper noted.

The director added that he will be looking into the possibility of pursuing any available grants for this purchase.

The following expenditures were listed for 2015: a new squad car for an estimated $25,000, a snowplow for $75,000, and a mower for $17,000. Street department supervisor Chad Hindt said the snowplow would replace the city's red dump truck currently in use. The new snowplow would "be the equivalency of a state truck" and that when conducting snow removal the department would "get a lot more done quicker."

The only expenditure listed for 2016 so far was an ambulance for $145,000. It was noted that this purchase might be able to be put off until 2017.

Change in policy

The council, along with city employees, discussed changes to their policy for vacations/sick time. The city is proposing switching to the use of PTO (paid time off). It was noted that sick days and vacations days would "come out of one pot" in the case of PTO, if the change in policy is approved.

The proposed change would grant 13 PTO days to employees after completion of the first through fifth year with the city, 18 days after sixth through ninth year, 23 days after 10th through 19th year, and 28 days after 20 years.

Council member Jeff Vehrenkamp noted, "It's a way to manage your own sick time instead of Deb having to monitor it. Your time off is your time off."

Employees would keep their accrued sick time. The council also discussed switching to a short-term disability insurance plan for city staff. The accrued sick time would be available for use in the event an employee becomes eligible for short-term disability. The employee would then have the option to use the accrued sick time to supplement the short-term disability in order to receive their full salary.

Park and Rec Director John Fenske noted, "If it's not broke, don't fix it. Is there a problem with the system we have now?"

Vehrenkamp said the city's goal is to switch to short-term disability and not have city employees lose their benefits.

No action was taken and the matter will be discussed again at the Jan. 14 meeting.

Other business

• Council members discussed the 2013 Rochester sales tax extension. The City of Spring Valley is set to receive $265,423.24 in funds with half in July 2013 and the other half in July 2014. The funds must be used for economic development within the city. It is up to the city's discretion how to use the funds. Some ideas, among others, were suggested. Mayor Jim Struzyk said he would like to see the money used for housing incentives. Zimmer said the city needs to "do something to get the industrial park moving."

• Mediacom is currently in the process of trying to relocate KING 11 equipment from the school to a city-owned building. Zimmer said, "The move was prompted because of limited access of the equipment at the school and the need for better access to include more community event programming." The city is looking into two locations - the wastewater treatment plant or the community center. During discussion at the Jan. 9 meeting, it was looking like a location at the community center might be a more optimal choice, but it will depend on the cost to relocate. More information will become available in the near future on the location. Zimmer added, "Hopefully this will get things moving so we can get more events shown on KING 11."

• The council was set to hold its first regular meeting of the year on Jan. 14, after this edition went to press.