Wykoff’s city council held its August meeting with its attorney, Tom Manion, present last Monday, Aug. 11, as its members considered whether or not to have him attend every monthly meeting as some cities do with their attorneys.
Mayor Jeremy Comstock inquired, “Do you know of any cities that have their attorneys at all meetings? (Wykoff resident) Brody (Mensink) asked at the last meeting.”
Manion, who remained for the entirety of the August meeting, listed some of the area towns that do retain an attorney for regular meetings, but added, “Some of the smaller towns might just have them there for special issues.”
Councilman Mitch Grabau commented that “it wasn’t based on population — just what the community’s policy is,” and Comstock wanted to know how much it would cost to have Manion attend meetings monthly.
Manion quoted $100 per hour, pointing out that he has either stayed for other towns’ entire meetings or dealt with matters early and then left.
The council took no action on this item.
In other matters, the council approved a motion to pay cash for the city’s $49,721 new tractor and also committed to purchasing a $350 backup camera to be installed on it for safety purposes.
In tree business, councilors chose to grant the job of stump removal for a tree in the Bicknese Park next to the Gateway Inn and will seek another person to handle removal of other stumps in the city, and because of liability implications, denied a request from resident Fahy Schleusner for permission to remove a boulevard tree himself instead of having the city do it. Schleusner wanted to remove the tree and keep the wood, but Manion pointed out that allowing that would place liability on the city, as would allowing a city maintenance worker to assist him.
Manion also advised the council to have the basketball hoops taken out of the former Kingsland Middle School tennis courts — now serving as a city-owned, fenced parking lot — because of the possibility that a driver could hit a child who has come to play there.
Council members first considered whether placing signs warning the public to “play at own risk” would be enough.
Manion cited that that “is not always the best defense.” “I realize that there’s more parking than basketball hoops and that we’re always trying to get kids outside to play, but if there’s some way to make another location available, that’s best.”
Councilors tabled a rural resident’s request for city endorsement of a Fall Fest steeplechase run until the route could be verified with the sheriff’s department. The council also granted city membership in MNWarn, the mutual aid organization that aids fire departments and cities in cooperating and delegating people resources during disasters. In other matters and reviewed delinquent fire call charges.
The council also determined that the city must set a deposit for the Wykoff Community Hall. Councilman Gerald Jacobson made a motion to set a deposit for each side of the divided hall at $50, and the council voted in agreement.
Comstock announced that CHS, the cooperative elevator company that has a grain elevator in town, will make changes to its properties, including a new grain dryer, to attempt to round up the “bees’ wings,” or chaff, that flies through the air onto neighboring properties each fall. The chaff has caused discord between the property owners and CHS, but the changes will be welcome.
Wykoff’s maintenance foreman, Al Williams, got to announce his retirement last Monday evening — again. The council members accepted his current retirement notice of Aug. 31, as they had done a little over year ago, but with the search for his replacement, he had continued working for the city until the hiring of a new foreman last month.
The first of the 2015 proposed budgeting meetings is set for next Wednesday, Aug. 27, at 6 p.m. at City Hall, with the second on Sept. 3 if necessary. The next meeting of Wykoff’s city council is set for Monday, Sept. 8, 7 p.m. at City Hall. The public is welcome to attend.