Chatfield's city council convened last Monday, April 28, with a few items to consider on its agenda. Included were a request from a business to close a street for a benefit and an update from the city engineer on the upcoming street projects.

First, Jeff Hare of JAC's Bar and Grille appeared before the council to request closing Second Street to Main Street to the alley behind his establishment for a cancer benefit motorcycle ride set for May 17.

The benefit was originally scheduled to assist a cancer patient who has since died, but the bikers chose to continue with their plans and raise funds for the Eagles Cancer Telethon.

A breakfast and silent auction will take place at JAC's during the day. Hare related, at the beginning and later in the day, there needs to be parking for approximately 105 motorcycles.

The council granted his request for street closure from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Next, Dillon Dombrovski of WSB, the city's engineer, updated the councilmen on the upcoming 2014 street improvement projects. He explained plans and specifications have been completed and that discussions have begun regarding the project's schedule phasing, particularly how the development of Twiford Street will affect the progress throughout.

Additionally, Dombrovski shared that assessments to properties on Bench Street would need to be authorized and bids allowed.

For the entire process, he said, "We've talked about June awarding, setting up the contract in mid- to late-June and having the project wrapped up before we'd have to do cold weather paving in the fall."

He asked the council to approve a resolution granting permission to advertise for bids on May 7, and the council obliged.

Councilor Ken Jacobson, acting mayor, said, "This is something that's been put off for a long time, and I'm happy to see it get done."

Reports

Councilman Robert Pederson gave the public services department report, noting the firefighters requested their relief fund allotment for retired firefighters be raised and the ambulance service is considering the purchase of a new ambulance. It was noted the service is also examining its defibrillators and radios and planning to present information on them at the next council meeting.

City maintenance foreman Tony Lammers requested permission to replace the city's front-deck lawnmower with a new one so repair costs might possibly be reduced or eliminated. He presented bids for a John Deere from SEMA Equipment for $16,800, another brand from St. Joseph Equipment for $13,300, and a bid for an under-deck mower from Hammell Equipment, stating that the under-deck mower was less desirable due to safety matters.

He also said the reason he wished to have the mower replaced as part of the April 28 meeting was because he could only purchase the model he wanted to buy until April 30, after which a change to the unit's design would incur an additional $5,000. The council voted favorably for the purchase of the John Deere mower from SEMA Equipment.

Lammers also informed the council he had investigated the purchase of new hockey boards through public surplus for Chatfield's hockey rink and that he was determining whether or not to bid on them.

In other public services business, the city of Chatfield has been chosen to host the Relay for Life for two years, and preparations will be underway soon.

Councilor Mike Urban observed, "There's an amazing amount of planning that goes into that."

Lastly, Lammers requested the hire of a seasonal employee to assist with city maintenance in light of the street improvement project's implications, and the council voted that advertising for a candidate will begin soon.

He explained, "It's going to be a busy summer, and I'd like to hire someone part-time to fill in for general maintenance, getting to things that need our attention from June 1 through October, an extra man to fill in where needed."

For the mayor's report, Jacobson read a "Tree City USA" proclamation designating Chatfield once more as a "Tree City" and observing May as "Arbor Month." He also noted May 18 through May 24 is "EMS Week," honoring Chatfield's emergency medical services and the volunteers who dedicate their time to being available for emergencies.

City Clerk Joel Young reported the Southeast League of Municipalities would be holding its meeting in Spring Valley on Wednesday, April 30, and that Pederson would be attending, and that the League of Minnesota Cities has an upcoming conference set for June.