St. James City Council met Dec. 4 and quickly approved the minutes and consent items before opening a public hearing for the 2013 budget.
At the public hearing, St. James Mayor Gary Sturm and City Manager Joe McCabe discussed the proposed budget that will be in place for 2013. The general levy has increased in the proposed 2013 budget.
There is a one percent anticipated increase in wages for city employees and a health insurance expenditure increase but departments are making an effort to stay within the previous budget.
They compared expected expenditure with revenue and discussed their plans for the future and how that affects their budgeting proposals and purchases.
Following the public hearing for the 2013 budget, St. James City Council approved the 2013 renewal of Jakes Pizza’s liquor license pursuant the clarification of “strong beer” unanimously.
“I don’t think they should be able to sell strong beer under a 3.2 license,” said Alderman Don Mackey.
St. James City Council discussed a resolution which would approve the contract with Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) which is set to expire Dec. 31, 2020.
St. James receives 54 percent of their electricity from the hydroelectricity provided by WAPA. After a technical review by the Missouri River Energy Services, WAPA has requested the contract be extended another 30 years to Dec. 31, 2050.
The agreement gets reviewed every 10 years regardless of the length of contract.
WAPA is responsible for 344 FIRM electrical agreements, so they are asking for a response in advance to plan accordingly.
“The last five years, WAPA has been the most consistent in billing the city, with no large jumps in rate,” said Electric Superintendent Adam Koch.
The resolution passed unanimously.
The St. James Fire Department requested some changes in their bylaws to make the agreement gender neutral. The motion to make the changes carried unanimously.
Officers were approved unanimously for the St. James Fire Department by St. James City Council Dec. 4.
The 2013 union contract with the Law Enforcement Labor Services, Inc. was submitted for approval to St. James City Council.
All provisions of the current contract with the exception of wages remain the same in the new agreement. The wage increase will be one percent of each step as of Jan. 1, 2013 and 1 percent of each step as of July 1, 2013. The motion was made to approve the new contract and it passed unanimously.
Due to the fire at the former Malmgren Building, MDJ Properties is working on bringing the electrical services up to code in the building. The wire from the transformer to the building service is a cost of $6,191. They made a request to borrow a maximum of $4,191 from the city electric department with a monthly amortization at 2 percent interest for a period of two years.
Page 2 of 2 - This request was approved unanimously.
The final resolution added to the agenda for the Dec. 4 meeting came as a result of WFS no longer selling diesel fuel to the city of St. James. With the need for diesel fuel still there, the city of St. James is requesting to meet their fuel needs by using the Watonwan County fuel pumps at a surcharge of 15 cents per gallon. The agreement will be the same as the proposed agreement Watonwan County has with MNDOT for fuel. The resolution passed unanimously.