The Tuesday, Feb 5 meeting began after a short silence for Dr. Roger Parsons. Parsons, who was a doctor in St. James and an influential and beloved member of the community, passed away last Monday at the Mayo Clinic in St. James.
“Dr. Roger Parsons has been a pillar to our community for the many years that he served. When you ask for someone’s time you’re asking for part of their life, and that’s the most cherished element that they have to give,” said Mayor Gary Sturm. “And, Dr. Parsons gave his life to our community, to his family, and all the people that he so generously served in St. James. So, St. James is a better community for the time that Roger Parsons gave to the community.”
Following a brief moment of silence, the meeting continued as usual. All consent items were passed unanimously without much discussion. Consent items included payment of claims, ACH withdrawals, along with the acceptance of extended learning, conferences and workshops for city employees during the next few months.
Mayor Gary Sturm named Feb. 5 Lenny Sargent Day. According to the proclamation, Sargent has served the department for 25 years and followed the motto of “to protect and serve” with dedication and distinction. In recognition of his retirement and service to the St. James Police Department and Community, Feb. 5 was made Lenny Sargent Day.
The St. James City Council scheduled a public hearing for the local restaurant Mi Teirra, which broke a city ordinance by serving alcohol after hours. According to the ordinance, all alcohol must be off the table by 2 a.m.
Mendez, the owner of the restaurant, will appear before the city council Feb. 19, 2013 at the end of the 7 p.m. city council meeting. At that time, council members will decide what administrative action they will take against the restaurant. There are basically five avenues of action the council could have pursued:
1) They could do nothing.
2) They could wait until the criminal process is done and then decide what action to take.
3) They could set a hearing so Mendez has the opportunity to explain.
4) They could take his license.
5) They could suspend his license for a period of time.
Council members believe it is important that Mendez is heard, so they decided to schedule the public hearing and decide then what action should be taken.
“Mendez knew the hours when he could serve and not,” said Police Chief Mark Carvatt. “it was evident that he knew the hours and his story was that someone told him he could – I want you to take that into account.”
Carvatt also told the council they had investigated the explanation they were given by Mendez, and found that he was not told by any city employees that he could serve alcohol later than the ordinance permits.
Page 2 of 2 - There were three exempt permits on the table for the city council to accept or reject Tuesday night. Permits from Pheasants Forever, the Butterfield Summer Sizzler and Watonwan River Longbeards were all accepted during the meeting.
In new business, the St. James City Council tabled a decision on the new maintenance agreement with Zeigler Cat for six city generators. The cost of the service, beginning March 2013 and ending March 2018 is $31,488 per year, which is an increase of $7,728 per year.
“You know, $8,000, that’s a whole year’s maintenance,” said Council Member Don Mackey. “If they’re the only one who does this, they can charge $50,000 – they kind of have a gun to our head.”
Council members wanted to see a breakdown of equipment prices and how the company can legitimize the price increase. According to the Zeigler company, much of the price increase has occurred due to the rise in oil costs and disposal fees.
“I don’t think they’re out of line at all for what they’re charging us,” said Council Member Josh Haseman. “They’re spending about $26,000 a year on oil – I’m going off a liberal figure there.”
St. James City Council approved two contracts with Watonwan County. One is a communication contract which expired Dec. 31, 2012. The new contract will be a year to year contract and shows no increase in fee from the past, at $2,500 per month. The second is for office rental space and is a five year contract increasing $20 per month every year and starting at $1,140 per month.
“Take it before they change their mind,” said Council Member Paul Harris.
Both contracts were accepted unanimously.
The city of St. James will also be using a State of Minnesota Grant to seal wells 11 and 13 on the Torkelson property in St. James. The city is currently spending more than $2,000 in land rent, but the wells haven’t been used for 10 years. They will cost about $2,400 to seal, most of which the city will get back from the state grant.
Grants are given on a first come first serve basis, so it was vital that the council acted quickly in this case.
Council members approved the payment of $1,927.22 to the Minnesota DNR for city water usage.
Authorized Jeff Becthold to represent the city of St. James in the business of MRES.
The advertising for the purchase of a 2013 pickup for the Street/Park Department, budgeted at $30,000.
A resolution passed to release city interest in a property located at 508 First Ave. S., and a property located at 255 fifteenth St. S., in three separate decisions.