The St. James City Council met Tuesday, June 18, following the Taste of St. James Fundraiser which was held at the local VFW.
Minutes were approved from the previous meeting along with all consent items without much discussion.
The St. James City Council approved unanimously a permit for display of fireworks on the Fourth of July and waved the regular permit fee for the application. The fireworks display will contain more than 300 fireworks.
Liability insurance will be provided by Premier Pyrotechnics. Funds for the fireworks display are donated by the VFW.
There was a request from a member of the public to reduce a May utility bill.
The house was vacant, but the water was not shut off at the curb stop. The water bill was $392.61 and the wastewater bill was $314.17. This is well above the previous months average. The city went out to inspect the house and found that there were no leaks. The owner of the house couldn’t explain why there was so much water being used in a vacant house.
“We had shut the water off previously the month before that after we read the meters because it was very high,” said Water Superintendent Mark Sturm. “We thought in case something was flooding we’d shut it down.
“At that time there was a leak detector on that meter, it was not moving. So what happened, we don’t know.”
According to Superintendent Sturm, everything was working properly when the system was running. High water bills are not regular at this residence.
Sturm presented some reasons why the bill could have been high, but said there is no way to be certain.
“The meter is correct,” said Superintendent Sturm. “The water went through the meter, where it went, I don’t know.”
In previous situations the council has denied requests for reduction in utility bills. In prior situations the property owner had done something or failed to do something which resulted in a larger utility bill. When leaving the home, utilities should be shut off.
Council Member Don Mackey said there was no way to prove that the property owner was at fault and moved to discount the bill to their average basic charge for water. The council approved this reduction unanimously.
The city of St. James was notified in January that they were out of compliance with pay equity. A new report was prepared adjusting the three classifications that were out of compliance as recommended by the state.
Effective July 1, 2013, the city will have a new step schedule that will include changes which bring the city into compliance with the pay equity statute.
Page 2 of 2 - The resolution to accept the changes and bring the city into compliance passed unanimously.
“This is a pay equity requirement by the state of minnesota, if we are not in compliance we are fully required to do that,” said Mayor Gary Sturm.
Bids were submitted for a new mower which will be used by the street-park department. Bids were received by three companies with Tri County Implement submitting the low bid. The mower will cost $18,140 or a trade in value of $9,545.
C and D Services LLC were granted a special water and sewer license.
The city will request to advertise a request for proposal for the demolition of three abandoned houses in St. James.