The St. James City Council approved the Street Department to move forward with the application process to receive $21,000 from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for a new fishing pier.

The department tried to apply to a fishing pier program through the MN DNR back in 2017. There were no available funds for the program at the time. A new fishing pier is $31,000, and the MN DNR is asking the department to pay $10,000.  

“These opportunities are not available very often,” said Street Department Superintendent Chad Stradtman.

Coming early next spring, the St. James Lake’s new fishing pier will be located by the campground playground.

The council also approved selling two parcels to Marj and Clint Brown from ICS, Inc. for $12,605, completing the city’s Industrial Park. 

Marj and Clint Brown sought a speedy purchase to bring in fill to level the property. They anticipate constructing climate control storage within the next few years. The offer for the lots, south of the Calvary Cemetery was based on previously purchased property in the Industrial Park. The two will coordinate with Street Department Superintendent Chad Stradtman regarding timeframes to relocate materials presently occupying the lots.

For the Light Department, the city approved to receive bids on replacing the department’s truck #45, a 2008 Ford f350 4x4 with a 2008 Versalift 37’ boom. The truck needs to be replaced because of mechanical failures from the boom and the truck falling short of reaching everything required to make safe and efficient pole changeout.

Light Department Superintendent TJ Becthold, due to a significant lead time around 18 months with truck manufacturing, requested to spec a truck and receive bids in 2020 and take delivery in 2021. The approximate costs from manufacturers for budget numbers reached around $280,000. To rebuild the equipment fund, the department will attempt to take funds directly from the budget and/or reserves in the 2021 budget.

Towards the end of the meeting, City Manager Amanda Glass wanted to clarify the theatre will remain closed despite other theatres beginning to open. The theatre shares space with the community building, where Meals on Wheels is hosted for seniors. If someone were to carry Covid-19 into the theatre, the whole building would have the shut down for 14 days. Meals on Wheels has shut down various locations, and the city doesn’t want to be one of them. Other reasons behind the theatre remaining close include difficulty obtaining films, needing up to 30 people per showing to break even, and a missing established plan to conduct proper sanitation.

The council furthermore approved a letter of resignation from council member Josh Hasemen, effective no later than December 31 of 2020.

“Thank you, Josh, on behalf of myself, the community, councilmembers, staff, everybody,” said Mayor Gary Sturm, “for your diligent service you’ve given so graciously to our community. We will always be grateful. You’ve done a great job. You can be proud, and your family can be proud of what you’ve served our community for.”

 Other approved items:

–The Fire Department to receive a $100 increase for the annual retirement benefit, no cost to the city. The addition brings the yearly benefit level to $2,375 per year of service.

–The Police Department to renew the Joint Powers Agreement with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The agreement expired in February of 2020 and needed by the department for access to BCA data systems and tools.

–The Police Department to purchase a new in-car camera for new squad car from Watch Guard for $4,845. The department was awarded a Center Point Energy Community Safety Grant to assist with the purchase. The remaining cost is $2,345.

–The annual MN Gambling Application LG22 from the St. James Church to conduct gambling activities with the City of St. James.

–Peddler’s License for Laura Moritz with Laura’s Books to sell door to door from July 15 to August 12 of 2020.

The next St. James City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 21, at 6:00 p.m.