There’s a new mayor at the helm of St. Paul Park, who also happens to have held the post before. Keith Franke, elected this past fall to succeed Sandi Dingle, was sworn in at the Jan. 2, 2024 …
There’s a new mayor at the helm of St. Paul Park, who also happens to have held the post before.
Keith Franke, elected this past fall to succeed Sandi Dingle, was sworn in at the Jan. 2, 2024 regular council meeting, taking the seat upon being sworn in by acting mayor and council member Jeff Swenson. Franke then swore in council members Tim Conrad and Charlene Whitbred-Hemmingson along with a new city clerk, Amy Truhlar.
Moving to Holiday Lights Contest sponsored by Old National Bank, Franke congratulated the McCloskey family of 181 Pullman Ave. for their first place win and Cison’s Winter Wonderland of 808 Portland Ave. for second place.
Moving next to the consent agenda, the council acted to set day, date and times for 2024 council meetings, defined as the first and third Mondays of the month in the council chambers at 6:30 p.m., “except when changed due to a legal holiday.”
Also approved with the consent agenda Jan. 2 were two resolutions (numbered 1709A and 1709B respectively) designating Old National and MidWestOne Bank as city depositories.
The council also approved a special event permit for the upcoming St. Paul Park/Newport Boot Hockey event on Feb. 10, along with Pay Voucher #8 to McNamara Contracting Inc. for the watermain trunk project, approving tentative dates for Regional Open Book at Cottage Grove City Hall (April 4) and Oakdale City Hall (April 10), as well as routine bill pay and a job offer approval for the post of St. Paul Park city finance director.
The council approved a games of skill license to Dean’s Superior Vending Co., a Sunday On-Sale Liquor and Wine License for Carbone’s Pizzeria, and approved licenses for various home occupations, garbage collectors, and massage therapists,
Also approved Jan. 2 was a “non-waiver” of statutory liability limits for the city under Minnesota Statute 466.04. The action refers to monetary limits on municipal tort liability, with “non-waiver” effectively keeping the limit established for municipalities by state statute 466.04.
Also covered Jan. 2 were mayoral appointments for 2024, as follows:
Acting Mayor: Jeff Swenson
Attorney—Civil Prosecution: GDO Law
City Administrator: Kevin Walsh
City Clerk: Amy Truhlar
City Engineer: Morgan Dawley of WSB &Associates Inc.
Municipal Advisor: Northland Securities
City Attorney: Kennedy & Graven
Finance Director: Melody Santana-Marty
Legal Newspaper: St. Paul Pioneer Press
Mayoral appointments were approved with a motion by Swenson seconded by Whitbred-Hemmingson.
Also making committee appointments, the following designations were made by Mayor Franke
Personnel Committee: Mayor Franke, Kevin Walsh, Jeff Swenson
Public Safety Commission: Bruce Zenner, Mike Kramer, Jessica Danberg
Public Works & Health: Jeff Swenson, Jeff Dionisopoulos
Parks & Recreation: Charlene Whitbred-Hemmingson
Planning Commission: Tim Conrad
Heritage Days Committee: Tim Conrad
Great River Rail Commission: Tim Conrad
Red Rock Corridor Commission: Charlene Whitbred-Hemmingson
South Washington County Telecommunications Commission: Patrick Downs, Kevin Franke
South Washington Watershed District: Kevin Chapdelaine
St. Paul Park Refining Citizen Advisory Panel: Keith Franke
From appointments it was into commission and committee reports from the council members assigned to them.
Swenson started with the update for the Public Works Commission.
“The Public Works Commission met in December. We picked some new officers and talked about plowing. There were no motions at that time. Something might be coming to the council in the future,” he said. “Our next meeting is in March and it’s usually a five o’ clock here at city hall. I believe we are short two individuals so if any resident is interested in joining Public Works commission, come on in and see city staff.”
Next for reports was Parks and Recreation with Whitbred-Hemmingson.
“We do have a meeting this week on Thursday,” she said of Jan. 4. “We did have to cancel our Glow in the Dark (Sledding) Event because there’s no snow, so we’re hoping for snow. Also our Winterfest, still waiting for it to be cold so we can have some ice. But instead of that maybe we can plan a game day at the warming house,” she said.
In addition, Whitbred-Hemmingson reported that “about $1,200” had been raised for parks through Bunco, with a mural at Heritage Park among possibilities, as well as one at Veteran’s Park.
“We are waiting on a couple samples from our artist, and it will have to get approved by the city,” she said.
The next Parks and Recreation Commission meeting is Jan. 10 at 5:30 p.m. while the next Bunco fundraiser will be Jan. 12 at 7 p.m., costing $10 to play. As to Parks Commission, Whitbred-Hemmingson shared that, “we do meet every month, and do need some members,” inviting residents to come and volunteer.
Following the Parks report it was on to the Heritage Days Committee, with an update from council member Conrad.
“We’ve been meeting regularly. We didn’t meet in December because of the holidays,” he said. “We’re moving forward.”
Conrad said current plans were for a split event at Heritage Park, a tractor pull, and wrestling at the Legion. Residents can keep up to date on Heritage Days with the page “SPP Heritage Days” on Facebook.
From there it was into administrative matters with Mayor Franke.
“I don’t have a lot right now for administration,” he said. “I would just like to take a moment to thank (outgoing) Mayor Dingle, council member Haggerty and council member Jones, for all their years of service to this community. We have some new faces up here so I look forward to all of us working together over the next several years to do what’s best for the city and I’m excited to see what we’re going to do going forward. I would also like to thank council member Hemmingson and council member Conrad for stepping up and getting elected and being a part of this council. And that’s all I have.”