The Loretto City Council Tuesday, Dec. 11, appointed Travis Rosin to succeed Cindy Patnode as Loretto City Clerk.
At the meeting, the City Council also took up other business. Here are some meeting highlights.
NEW CITY CLERK
Rosin started work Dec. 17 and is working with Patnode on making a transition into the position. Patnode said she officially is on staff until the end of the year, but she very likely will stay on long enough to help Rosin prepare for his first City Council meeting in January.
The city clerkship will continue to be a part-time position, with Rosin putting in 24 to 27 hours per week. He is a college graduate with a major in political science, has interned for cities, has worked with elections and is experienced in grant writing. He has paid his own way for a city clerk training session.
The City Council approved the increase of hours for Office Assistant Mary Schneider to 14 for 2013. Councilors also discussed cross training Schneider so she’ll be in a position to move into the city clerk role in the future.
Some details need to be worked out, including city office hours once Patnode leaves completely.
2013 TAX LEVY
The City Council approved a $337,695 final property tax levy for city taxes payable in 2013 — the same dollar amount as for the 2012 property tax levy. The final 2013 General Fund budget, which pays for Loretto’s operating costs, also got council approval. The property tax levy will provide the largest source of revenue to cover General Fund costs.
Council action dealt with Loretto’s General Fund and property tax levy as a whole — not with taxes on individual properties. This coming spring property owners will have the opportunity to discuss and perhaps protest taxes on specific properties at the city’s annual Open Book meeting.
WATER RATE INCREASE
In related action, the council approved the fee schedule for 2013 — a schedule that includes an increase in water rates. The base water fee will be $30.60 for 4,000 gallons and $7.65 per 1,000 gallons over the 4,000 gallons.
Public Works Director Jeff Leuer recommended a two percent increase in water rates to be dedicated to the water capital fund. He said water rate increases would address aging infrastructure problems, such as the three water main breaks that happened in 2012.
Secondly, Loretto is experiencing a hydrogen sulfide problem in city water that is an odor but not a health issue.
Thirdly, Loretto will incur increased lab costs due to the mandate of the Minnesota Department of Health requiring monitoring water for six additional chemicals.
City councilors asked staff to provide information about the possibility of installing an aeration system in the city water storage tank to resolve the hydrogen sulfide issue.
THANKS TO FRANCE, LOHR
The City Council thanked two outgoing City Council members, Jeff France and Clark Lohr, for their service to Loretto. France served for nine years and seven months and Lohr for four years.
WOOD STOVE COMPLAINTS
Fire Chief Jeff Leuer said that the Loretto Fire Department received seven fire calls and one text message pertaining to complaints of dense smoke from a wood stove at 226 St. John Street. All of the complaints were made between Oct. 10 and Dec. 1. The property owner has a permit for the wood stove, but smoke is the issue.
After hearing from Leuer, the City Council directed City Attorney Paul Callies to prepare and send a letter to the property owner asking him to put an end to the wood stove nuisance.
The City Council approved the purchase of baseball netting from Northern Specialties Inc. The netting will address safety concerns created by the current backstop at the Loretto ball fields. The new netting will have a 10 to 15 year lifespan.