Posted 4/21/21

From Page 1 So an absolutely fabulous response by fire fighter Fisher. This fire happened during our dry spell and trees and grass nearby caught on fire requiring the grass rig to also be called out. …

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From Page 1

So an absolutely fabulous response by fire fighter Fisher. This fire happened during our dry spell and trees and grass nearby caught on fire requiring the grass rig to also be called out.

Engineer’s Report: city engineer Jon Herdegen reported that the April 3M drinking water settlement meeting has been postponed to May.

He acknowledged the flooding in the 12th St. and 12th Ave. neighborhood April 6th during a heavy rain. The inlet controls in the catch basins, that are put in to catch debris during construction, were full and that caused the water to back up. The catch basins were cleaned out the next day. The inlet protection will be removed once turf is adequately established. The contractor is currently finishing up boulevard restoration. Mayor Laurie Elliot asked if this localized flooding would go away once turf is adequately established. Jon said it should. The system is designed for a 10-year rainfall which is defined as 4 inches of rain over a 24 hour period. A heavier rain may result in flooding in the streets but nothing that should back up into yards.

Jon also reported that the 10th Ave. stormwater system that was installed last fall had water draining through it all winter. Public works is noting that water will accumulate on the surface but does travel to the drain system and recede over a 24–48-hour period. Laurie asked if homeowners have more access to their backyards now? Jon replied that the ground is still pretty soft. The ground needs to dry more, and turf be reestablished.

Public Works report: Superintendent Bruce Hanson explained change order #2 for the new public service building. (A change order is when a modification of the original plan is requested either by the contractor or the city.) Chief Steve Wiley was concerned about the free access to the top of the hose tower where sensitive electronic equipment is located. This building will have public access, unlike the current fire halls. He does not want anyone unauthorized to gain access to the top of the tower. The city is requesting that a locked swing gate be installed. This will cost $918.00. The council voted 5-0 to approve this request.

Bruce noted that the construction of the new public service building is proceeding on schedule. The contractor is currently working on the storm sewer. “That is what all the trenches are for.” There is a lot of rock at the site to be hammered out. The city has installed a time lapse camera on the site and will post photos on the city’s website and on the city’s Facebook page of the construction progress.

Load limits are off the streets. Street sweeping has started, and hydrant flushing will start soon. He is getting ready for a public auction of excess city equipment and will give a fuller report on that at later meetings.

Council member Kevin Chapdelaine asked if the contractor for last summer’s Xcel project in the south end of west Newport will be coming back to finish restoration work? Bruce assured Kevin this will happen.

City Administrator’s report: city planner Sherri Buss introduced the public hearing for MasterTech’s conditional use permit. (CUP) MasterTech has been sold to Joe Seipel. Joe worked as a sales rep for a parts company and has now bought this business. A change in ownership triggers a review of the business’s CUP. Sherri noted that Mr. Seipel is not planning any changes in the business. The business is currently in compliance will all but one condition of the CUP. The CUP, issued in 2011, does not permit parking on the south end of the building. (In the photo of the original site plan, south is on the right side of the building and borders 12th St.) Parking was not permitted as it was deemed a traffic hazard to have cars backing out into 12th St.

However, cars have been parking there all along and Mr. Seipel states he needs that space for employee parking. In addition, with the reconstruction last fall of 12th St. the city put in a curb cut to allow parking. The council needs to decide whether or not to take out this no parking restriction.

Laurie opened the public hearing. She asked if Mr. Seipel would put signage up stating, “Employee Parking Only”? Mr. Seipel felt this unnecessary as his employees get there before customers so there would be no empty spaces for customers to park in.

Bill Sumner got up and spoke in support of lifting the restrictions. He noted that the rest of the parking spaces are needed for customers, so the employees do need this south space for parking.

Council member Tom Ingemann noted that parking on the south side was allowed when this was a Holiday station and has never been a problem.

Council member Marv Taylor noted that the original site plan labeled this area employee parking and wondered if the CUP errored in restricting all parking?

The council voted 5-0 to remove the parking restriction.

City administrator Deb Hill reported on the new clause in the building inspection contract we have with Cottage Grove. Cottage Grove requested a higher percentage of the building permit fees. CG currently receives 28% of those fees. The two cities negotiated an increase to 50% from April 1 to December 31, 2021 and then 75% in 2022. (Editorial comment: this is aside from the $37/rental inspection fee CG receives and the $100/code enforcement action. These two fees come with a 3% inflation escalator clause.) Council voted 5-0 to accept this new fee schedule.

Deb then introduced the 2020 MN Pay Equity Report that the state requires of all cities and counties every 3 years. The report lists all full-time jobs and gives a point rating to the job responsibilities. The city has to fill in the number of people holding that job, gender, years in that job and pay. This is a formality. There is nothing that can be changed.

Council voted 5-0 to accept this report.

City assistant administrator Travis Brierley explained the liquor license request for the new owners of Newport Liquors. There had been a conditional liquor license granted several months ago to a business that was going to purchase Newport Liquors. That deal fell through and these are new people. The business will now be called Newport Spirits and Liquors LLC. They have sent the city all the required paperwork and the background check came back clean.

Council voted 5-0 to issue this liquor license.

Mayor and council reports: Laurie reminded residents that the county will be building a trail to connect the corner fo 21st St. and 1st Ave. to the trail that starts by the north ped bridge on 7th Ave. There a a couple of concepts the county is considering and asking for our input. A post card was sent out. (Scroll down a few posts here and there is a link to the survey.) Our library is now open Tuesday 2-6pm and Saturdays 12-5pm. Visitors are asked to limit their browsing time to 15 minutes. The computers are available and can be reserved for one hour’s use on the hour. Curbside pickup is still available. April 20th (Chicken Cups) and May 4th (Mother’s Day Tea ornament) are kids’ craft projects that can be picked up at the library. (These are free) Call 651-459-9631 to reserve computer time and crafts projects.

April 22nd (Earth Day) and June 12th (National Get Outdoors Day) the county parks are free. No park permit is required.

Stone Soup is changing its name to Basic Needs.

Marvin Taylor: reported on the progress made by the planning commission on their revisions to the tree ordinance and the language that defines when a property must hook up to city utilities. (For a summation of that last planning commission meeting, just scroll down a few posts.) Tom Ingemann: The RDF plant will have a groundbreaking for their new building April 22nd. This building will be for their new program to recycle compostables (food that is being thrown away.) Meeting adjourned.