January is the month of change for Butterfield City Council. Two new members, Doug Meyer and Nick Mathistad joined Andy Fisch and Wynette Haler as the Butterfield City Council. New Mayor Ken Pankratz was also sworn in at the Jan. 14, meeting.
With Pankratz came some new changes for the council. He introduced some goals he has for the council and himself as they move forward through his term:
-Form a tree commission, which will involve a tree ordinance and an inventory on every tree in town
-Create an employee handbook with job descriptions and evaluations
-Recodify ordinances so they are less vague
-Renew the standing BDA agreement
-Five year capital outlay plan
-Council people involved with the budgets they oversee
-Update fire by laws
-Employee pay evaluations
“I may not have a mayors report at every meeting,” said Pankratz. “But, I want everyone to bear with me as this may be a different experience.”
With that the Butterfield City Council got to business. Their first order of business was to assign members of the community to the different city offices in Butterfield. Council members approved the following positions:
Acting Mayor - Doug Meyer
Official Newspaper - St. James Plaindealer
Official Depository - Triumph State Bank/Butterfield
Council Meeting Time - Second Monday at 7 p.m.
Special Meeting Notice - in hall, bank and hardware store
Hall Rental rates - department $200, hall $50 and hall with kitchen $75
Butterfield City Council then received service bids for sanitation services.Bids were received by Hometown Sanitation and Waste Management.
Hometown made a bid at $4,615.97, which was about $480 more than the bid received from Waste Management, at $4,127.09. Though Waste Management seemed to have filled out the form incorrectly, the council members ultimately decided theirs was the better offer.
“By the numbers presented I propose we go with Waste Management,” said Haler.
A long discussion took place during the maintenance report revolving around the work of John Graupman and Bolton and Menk, Inc.
The city of Butterfield has struggled to receive the services they were contracted to receive from Bolton and Menk, Inc. Through engineering mistakes, much of the projects they were meant to finish have gone undone or were done incorrectly. Bolton and Menk, Inc. offered a free inspection as some kind of compensation for their problems. Keith Pankratz likened that deal to someone offering $2,000 credit for a $15,000 project.
“They put in telescoping valves because they require once a week a measurement of the ponds out here,” said Pankratz. “Those measurements go to the state once a month or something so they know if the ponds are leaking, we’re not getting true readings. One is like 16 inches off, but that is another issue there.”
Page 2 of 3 - Much of the issues the city is dealing with now are a direct result of poor engineering practices by Graupman.
“Anything he touches, is a disaster,” said Haler.
The main concern is that when these reports are sent to the state, they are being fed false information. This could mean serious criminal consequences for Pankratz.
“You don’t go to McDonalds and order a Big Mac, they give you a cheeseburger and you leave, and that’s kind of what’s happening here,” said Pankratz.
Butterfield City Council members requested John Graupman attend next month’s meeting to answer questions regarding his service. In the meantime they will review the work that has been done and form their complaint in writing.
In other business, the council members heard a request from Annette Braaten to add sidewalks in front of the senior living apartments. Butterfield Council Members were open to the idea, but need time to review their financials before they act on the request.
A few issues were raised with a review by a fire department representative.
Council members accepted $16,700 which was donated to the Butterfield Fire department through different organizations. They then heard a complaint from Butterfield Fire Chief Blane Braaten about a potential fire hazard at Voss Park.
Voss Park has been roped off to keep cars from destroying the grass during the winter and spring months. This would potentially make it difficult for fire engines to make their way to an incident in the park.
The Voss Park fire liability was only discussed and not voted upon. Council members also discussed potentially raising their prices for the fire department to service 12 sections of Odin township – the top two tears. Their last change increased to $120 from $100.
In a day with 20 agenda items, the Butterfield City Council continued with agenda item 14, which was to approve the 2013 general fund budget. The proposed budget showed a deficit of $22,842.
Mayor Pankratz proposed a change to the budget. By reducing the capital outlay by 40 percent, the city would save $21,000 and nearly have a balanced budget.
The city is allowed to go over their budgeted funds, but must explain to the state why they are spending more than they are creating in revenue.
“We spent a lot of time in going through that budget, we crunched a lot of numbers and I don’t think we were unfair when we went through them number by number, it’s all stuff we need. Why show that we are ok, when we aren’t ok,” said Haler.
“But, on some level you don’t want the state down your neck,” said Meyer.
Page 3 of 3 - After two votes, Butterfield City Council Members agreed to accept the
proposed budget which shows a deficit of $22,842. Council members voted three for, one against, and one abstained from the vote.
As was discussed in the last meeting, Butterfield Council Members approved the payment of $14,000 on the EDA Bond to Triumph Bank in order to refinance that bond and save the city $65,000. The vote to approve that motion was unanimous with one abstaining.