COUNCIL MEETING SCHEDULE FOR COMING YEAR, APPROVAL OF FIREFIGHTERS LABOR CONTRACT IN NIGHT’S AGENDA
It’s a new year, and that means making resolutions!
As such, the Cottage Grove Council was set to approve its first official council resolution of the new year at the January 5th meeting, with staff recommending that Northern Lines Contracting being approved in the amount of $1,222,843.50 for improvements and expansion to a stormwater pond south of Highway 61 near Jamaica Avenue South. Stormwater ponds collect water after rainfall and allow for the orderly return of this to the earth. A total of 11 bids were received, while the fill removed during pond expansion is set to be placed nearby “Fill generated form the pond expansion will be placed on the remaining development land,” the January 5 meeting packet states, designating the area receiving the fill as Lot 1, Block 1, in tan area west of Jamaica Avenue South and between 95th Street South and the railroad tracks. “Utilizing this parcel for the fill removed from the expanded ponding area creates significant project cost savings to the City as the fill would not need to be moved off site.”
In the meantime, there were other items to report on as well for the new year, including one posted to the city’s website but not on the agenda for the January 5th Council meeting.
More specifically, the City has moved to extend the comment period for the Mississippi Dunes Environmental Assessment Worksheet past the usual 30-day period for such things, with the city accepting written comments as such through January 6th. The extension follows a prior cut-off date of December 30th for comment on the mandatory state document, the extension of comment period being made known on the City’s website. Meanby while, listed among the procedural items taking place January 5th was the annual appointment by Mayor Bailey of commission and Committee posts. “At the first meeting of the year, I am required to appoint the Mayor Pro Tem, or acting mayor, and Council representatives or liaisons to the various commissions and committees,” Mayor Bailey makes known in a memo from the meeting packet, then asking for approval. “For 2022, please ratify the following appointments.”
• Council member Steve Dennis as Mayor pro tem/“for the time being,” to preside in the place of Mayor Bailey should Bailey be absent • Myron Bailey and Council member Steve Dennis to the Economic Development Authority
• Council member Dave Thiede to the Historic Preservation Advisory Committee and City Planning Commission, along with the Great River Rail Commission and East Metro Strong
• Council member Tony Khambata to the Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources Committee, as well as the Red Rock Corridor Commission and Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce.
• Council member Justin Olsen to the Public Services Commission, along with the South Washington County Telecommunications Commission and South Washington Watershed District
• Council members Thiede and Dennis to the Strawberry Festival
• Council members Olsen and Khambata to the Investment Committee
• Mayor Bailey and Council member Khambata to the Holiday Train Committee
• Council members Dennis and Olsen to Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, along with the Cottage Grove Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Several commissions and committees within the city require that at least one member of the Council sit on them. Upcoming government meetings are listed on the lower part of the City’s homepage at www.cottagegrovemn. gov, with the Economic Development Authority due to meet January 11th at 7:30 a.m, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau due to hold a special meeting January 18th at City Hall, beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Along with the Mayor’s appointments from January 5th was the meeting’s consent agenda. Consent agendas are the workhorses of a standard council meeting just about anywhere, and the City of Cottage Grove is no exception to this rule. Contained in the consent agenda for the January 5th City Council meeting were several items, as follows:
• Approval of the regular meeting minutes for December 1st and December 15th of 2021
• Authorizing the city finance director to “designate depositories of city funds” and make bank wire transfers for investment transactions
• Approval of a new contract with the firefighters labor union, set to run from 2022 through 2024 and including a cost of living adjustment of three percent each year for wages, along with a market adjustment of two percent for the captains position. Those with bachelors or masters degrees will get education pay, while the contract also adds language to allow the city to schedule a 2,080 hour schedule instead of the 2,756 hour (24hour shifts) one, leading to added flexibility for the City.
• A request from the City of Cottage Grove Public Works Department for a DNR grant application to help control tree canopy loss due to the Emerald Ash Borer, with no match requirement on the awardee’s part and a maximum amount of $150,000 in funding. The insect native to Siberia and first detected within the United States in the early 2000s, plants its eggs in the bark of ash trees, which then hatch into larvae and destroy the ash tree from within.
• Authorizing a renewed license for The Healing Place of Cottage Grove, a massage therapy business.
• Reccommending the Pioneer Press as official legal newspaper for the City of Cottage Grove for 2022.
• Response by deputy city clerk Neil Belscamper to an Open Forum Request from Bonnie Matter explaining the way that meetings are archived online.
• An impound contract renewal with the Animal Humane Society in Woodbury for housing lost pets for retrieval, stipulating fees for holding. The contract also covers such things as pet vaccination and euthanasia services “as deemed necessary by an AHS veterinarian,” with a right by the city “to request and view AHS policies at any time.”
• Authorization of the Cottage Grove Department of Public Safety to accept a grant award of $2,500 from FM Global to be used towards fire investigation equipment.
• Approval of a 2021 Grant Agreement with Washington County for $55,734 to be used for recycling program expenses, with award scale tied in part to overall population • Approve final payment to Keys Well Drilling Company for the River Acres Residential Well Sealing Project in the amount of $39,033.38. The tie in to city water and private well sealing became necessary after the private wells were shown to have unacceptable levels of PFAS from nearby 3M.
• Approval of the Planning Commission minutes for November 22, 2021
• Approval of rental licenses for 11 different properties, as follows: 7140 Imperial Avenue South, 8042 Scott Boulevard South, 7026 Homestead Avenue South, 9629 84th Street South, 8987 92nd Avenue South, 7006 Homestead Avenue South, 6766 Meadow Grass Lane South, 8112 Grafton Avenue South, 7595 Lamar Avenue South, 7936 Gresham Lane South, and 8598 Janero Avenue Having made it through the consent agenda, there was also the annual meeting schedule to review January 5th, rendered in brief summary by Clerk Joe Fischbach: • Regular City Council meetings at 7:00 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of each month, with the exception of July, which has just one meeting, on July 20th
• A Strategic Planning workshop scheduled January 22nd from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
• Follow-up workshops to the Strategic Planning workshop from January 22nd, with the follow-up meetings scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on February 9th and February 23rd.
• City Code Review Workshops scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on March 23rd and April 27th
• A Joint meeting with the City of Woodbury scheduled for March 30th at 6:00 p.m., and
• Special Budget Workshops at 6:00 p.m. on July 27th and August 10th The otherwise regular meeting that would take place July 6th, meanwhile, was struck from the calendar.