Council looks at options for discussing fire department issues
By Lori Newman
The Deer Creek City Council held their regular monthly meeting on Sept. 27.
New York Mills Police Officer Tyler Schwartz attended the meeting, but did not have the details of the police report for August available. However, Schwartz said there were no major incidents.
City Clerk/Treasurer Tom Parish provided the city council with an updated Conflict of Interest Policy prepared by the city attorney. The policy indicates it would be a conflict of interest for members of the council who are also members of the Deer Creek Fire Department to vote on fire department matters such as wages, benefits, compensations and expenditures.
The three of four members of the council who are also members of the fire department disagreed with the policy, and it is not clear how the council should proceed with regard to fire department matters, given that only one council member and the mayor could be involved.
The council decided to seek more information on whether there are other small cities in the area with similar situations and how they might be handling this.
Mayor Troy Beiswenger also asked for information on what other small cities in the area are paying their fire department staffs.
The city council reviewed and approved an audit engagement letter with Carlson SV, which states what services will be provided by the firm and what management needs to do for the audit to be completed.
The council accepted a donation from the Bayer Fund for America’s Farmers Grow Community for support of Deer Creek Fire and Rescue.
The council also accepted donations from the Deer Creek Lions for repairs to the cooler in the community center, and for support of the Deer Creek Cemetery Association.
The Deer Creek Cemetery Association is in the process of trying to obtain IRS tax exempt status, and the goal is for them to eventually have enough money in an account that the yearly interest earnings would cover annual operational expenses.
Water/Wastewater Operator Dan Kovar informed the council that hydrant flushing in town is scheduled for Oct. 7-8. Kovar also reported that sewer line cleaning had been done earlier in September.
Fire Department Chief Travis Collins had no report, but expressed his displeasure with Parish’s input to the council meetings, noting that Parish “doesn’t have a vote.”
Parish reported that he had completed the MN Commerce Department Vendor Registration for the Energy Assistance Program, and had notified city residents by letters of the Water Assistance Program starting Oct. 1, and of the MN Department of Natural Resources request for water conservation measures.
Parish also reported that S & S Security Services had completed installation of a camera monitoring system for the community center, and it is in operation.
Councilor Dan Hendershot reported that he had contacted local asphalt companies for cost estimates on repair of the alley behind the community center. However, all of them said they are too busy to do it yet this fall, so the project will have to wait until next year.
Hendershot also led a discussion about the need for repairs to the east side of community center building where the sidewalk has settled and the brick has dropped.
Councilor Bob Lund reported that the city lawn mower has had some repair issues lately and will probably need to be replaced soon. The council agreed to check into trade-in options for the mower.
Beiswenger informed the council that the church group that was interested in sponsoring a Halloween event for kids in town is no longer planning on doing that.