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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Butterfield City Maintenance Manager resigns

  • Council members present at the meeting refused to make a motion to accept Maintenance Manager Pankratz resignation and said it was a sad day for the city of Butterfield to see him go.
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  • The big news from the regularly scheduled Butterfield City Council meeting Monday, July 8 was the resignation of City Maintenance Manager Keith Pankratz.
    Pankratz had been City Maintenance Manger for a few years and decided to leave, effective Friday, July 12 due to “personal reasons.”
    Maintenance Manager Pankratz was a valuable part of the Butterfield community and was the only qualified city employee who is licensed to operate the water and wastewater plants in Butterfield.
    Along with his resignation letter, Maintenance Manager Pankratz left a detailed list of duties and tasks that are required for the maintenance position.  The water and wastewater departments are currently up to date with Minnesota Department of Health drinking water sampling and the MPCA Discharge Monitoring Report for the month of June has been completed.
    Council members present at the meeting refused to make a motion to accept Maintenance Manager Pankratz resignation and said it was a sad day for the city of Butterfield to see him go.
    “I just want put in the record that I think this is probably the most discouraging thing that I’ve seen happen in this city in all of the years that I’ve been involved, and that’s losing this maintenance person,” said Council Member Howard Madson. “We’ve worked so hard to get someone here who took care of everything and to get everything done right,  and now for personal reasons it’s happened and he’s leaving us, and I think it’s absolutely disgusting.”
    Some of the 15 members of the community attending the meeting agreed with Madson’s sentiment, saying that no one really wanted to see Maintenance Manager Pankratz leave.
    Maintenance Manager Pankratz is leaving after some problems with pay equity created a rift and tension among city employees and the community as a whole. He will likely remain in the area, as he received a variance earlier in the July 8 meeting for his small business Tip Top Auto, located on the edge of the residential area of Butterfield.
    Maintenance Manager Pankratz also reported to the council that piping for the venturi aerator at the ponds is fixed and working properly. The pond had a warranty issue on a part that never worked and that problem will be fixed by the end of the week.
    The city will be receiving new street markings from “The Line Guyz” of St. James for  four crosswalks at $391 and parking stalls on Main St. and 2nd St. for $373. Maintenance Manager Pankratz was unsure whether or not these quotes were similar in price to those quotes received last year.
    “What Pete had told me, I got him on the phone, and he said they’re very similar to last year,” said Maintenance Manager Pankratz.
    Page 2 of 3 - The city also discussed repainting the lines at the truck crossing by Butterfield Foods for $276, but decided to wait on that decision while discussions with Butterfield Foods take place about the right-of-way in that area.
    Butterfield Fire Chief Blane Braaten met with the city council Monday, to make an equipment purchase request. The request was for a secondary service, which would notify a firefighter via their cell phone, should their pager message them about an emergency.
    The cost of this service to the city is about $275 annually. The system will work as a back up system for Butterfield.
    “With the new radios the simplest things can go wrong, because they are so high tech there’s no guarantee they’re going to work either,” said Braaten. “It’s fairly cheap if we look at what it costs for everything else.”
    Along with approving the equipment purchase, the city also gave Fire Chief Braaten the ok to travel to any parade with the fire truck at his discretion. Braaten said he would not take the truck any great distances for a parade.
    Current tenants of the EDA apartments in Butterfield are requesting a price reduction after seeing an advertisement that the remaining apartments are being offered at a discounted rate.
    The city is restricted in their options for making the apartments a desirable location to live because they also have to make payments on the building. It was brought up from council members that it will be more difficult to pay for the building if they lose their remaining tenants and the building becomes vacant.
    The city is looking for suggestions in how to deal with their EDA apartment problems.
    A representative of Bolton and Menk Engineers, Nate Huettl met with the Butterfield City Council to discuss concerns regarding the clean out on the newly installed force main. The question was posed to Huettl regarding why the clean out was overlooked while the engineers were drafting their design.
    “It’s one of those things that got overlooked in design, it got overlooked in construction, it just didn’t get put into the plans,” said Huettl. “I know we sat down in here and had a meeting, we looked over the plans before we went out to get the bid and it got missed at that time – any number of reasons, I can’t speak to a specific reason.”
    The council was open to splitting the costs of the project to install a clean out in the new force main with Bolton and Menk, and Huettl agreed that seemed reasonable.
    Other Business:
    June financials were approved along with the previous meeting’s minutes.
    Page 3 of 3 - Extended the maintenance contract on Neptune Software for $801.56 annually.
    Renewed Minnesota Rural Water Membership for $235.

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