The St. James City Council met Tuesday, Jan. 15 for their regularly scheduled meeting. Council members approved a request from the street and park department for a new Bobcat skid loader at the cost of $61,394.26.

The St. James City Council met Tuesday, Jan. 15 for their regularly scheduled meeting. Council members approved a request from the street and park department for a new Bobcat skid loader at the cost of $61,394.26.

There was a total of $58,155.71 budgetted for the project, but the price of the skid loader will actually come in under that budget mark after an estimated $17,000 trade in value is redeemed for the old skid loader.

Along with the loader and bucket itself, the park department included the purchase of a stump grinder attachment, 72 inch sweeper and 72 inch soil conditioner in the overall cost of the project.

Ray Hector, street and parks superintendent explained that they have been paying $7,000 to hire someone for stump removal. With the new stump grinder attachment, the city could cut the tree down and grind the stump all at the same time, saving the city money.

It will take 90 to 120 days for the parts and skid loader to be delivered.

Prior to the discussion of a new skid loader, the St. James City Council approved all of the schools, conference and workshops requests unanimously without any discussion. Most of the conferences personnel requested to attend will take place in February and March.

St. James City Council approved an interfund loan from the city general fund to the tax increment financing district 1-4 unanimously.

The interfund loan is essentially a loan the city pays to itself from the general fund – which it promises to pay back at the rate of 3.25 percent.

The city of St. James Electrical Department will begin advertising for a line person at the St. James Light Department – that was the decision reached unanimously by city council members Jan. 15.

Applicants with a minimum of one year of lineman school or three years of experience can apply at city hall. The department hopes to have the position filled by March, 2013.

MDOT requested a written statement in regard to the type of pavement which the city would like to have installed on the reconstruction project at Highway 4/30. Following staff recommendations, the city council approved unanimously the use of concrete pavement on the project.

A resolution setting St. James ambulance service rates at $50 more per run was unanimously approved. It has been two years since rates changed in the department.

“Rates were way below what we could get,” said Jeanette Dexheimer, ambulance manager for St. James.

The new rates will be effective Feb. 1, 2013 and include non-emergency transport such as hospice transfer.

Council members also voted to increase the training and response fee for volunteer fire department personnel and EMT first responders. Both departments will see a five dollar increase per call.

This will be the first increase for members of the fire department in this area in more than 20 years. With about 145  hours of training within the first year required for fire fighters, it has been difficult to fill open volunteer positions. The fire department is hoping that the higher volunteer wages will attract more volunteers.

“On behalf of everyone on the council, the city and myself, I’d like to commend  and thank everyone for the service they so generously give for everyone in our community, and have in the past,” said Mayor Gary Sturm.

Reports from city hall indicated that, based on the compliance report, the city may not be in compliance of the mandated pay equity report.

“We recommend that we get the report in as soon as possible so we can adjust what we need to adjust to be in compliance,” said City Manager Joe McCabe.

The pay equity report is required to be submitted by Jan. 31. If it is submitted before that time and found to not be in compliance with state regulations, the state will notify St. James with information on what they need to change to become compliant.

St. James City Council moved unanimously to submit the report to the state.

The final order of business was to review the bid proposal for depository services. The city was looking for one of the banks in St. James to be the operating account. City hall asked for bids from all of the official depositories, but only received a bid from Pioneer Bank. City Council approved unanimously to name Pioneer Bank the official operating account depository of 2013.