City of Freeborn

Council Meeting Minutes

March 19, 2014

Present: Mayor: Theo Beckmann; Council Members: Jim Beach, Pat Stenzel, Ed Mosser, Kaleb Bjornstad; City Clerk-Treasurer: Nicole LaFrance; Maintenance Operator: Bill Guggisberg;


Mayor Theo Beckmann called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.

City Clerk called roll.

Frank Thompson from Thompson Sanitation was present regarding the current garbage contract with the city. The council discussed vacant houses and billing options available to the city. Currently the contract accounts for 125 homes, with 4% of that amount annually collected offsets the vacant homes not being paid. The city asked questions on the cost difference; if residents decided they would like private contracting.  The city has the cheapest contract in the area and it would cost a local resident around $75.00 every three months to change to private billing. Currently there is a 10% fuel charge added to Thompson invoices. In the past, the city utilized a $1.00 administrative fee set in City Ordinance #52-B-Revision 2 to cover expenses related to postage, office supplies to maintain a reasonable balance in the Garbage Operating Fund. The council discussed possibly implementing this fee again quarterly as it will assist with a balanced fund. Mayor, Theo Beckmann and all council members thanked Frank Thompson for attending the meeting.

Larry Weigel from the DAV Chapter 16 was present to discuss a Clothing Drop-Box for veterans disabled or needing assistance, located in the City of Freeborn. The DAV will be responsible for pickup of items in drop-box and there will be no cost to the city. The council would like the drop box located by the Legion in the city. The city council thanked Larry and other Joe Avelar for attending.

Council Member Kaleb Bjornstad motioned to approve the meeting minutes from February 19, 2014. Council Member Ed Mosser advanced; motion carried.

Bill Guggisberg, Maintenance Operator gave his maintenance report. He reviewed the comments made from USDA Rural Development regarding the water project. He is not concerned with the items mentioned in report, and reviewed the plans with Principal Engineer, Owen Todd at Bolton & Menk. Owen might need another meeting scheduled, but we will wait and see. Guggisberg had the new tires placed on the tractor. This next Monday (April 24th) Guggisberg will be on vacation for the week, and Maintenance Operator Andy Flatness from the City of Hartland will be on call and do any water work needed. Regarding Monday, Council Member Jim Beach will open the city hall for the coffee group and Tuesday thru Friday Council Member Pat Stenzel will open the doors in the morning. Guggisberg will give Mr. Merritt’s old key to Flatness for efficiency. Guggisberg spoke about a few houses with frozen water lines. Mayor Theo Beckmann has his neighbor hooked up with a garden hose to his home, as well as Guggisberg’s neighbor to his home and Pastor Sherry. Guggisberg will purchase some more garden hoses to have on hand in case of other frozen water lines that may arise. He also spoke about six water main breaks so far this year, and his MRWA schooling he attended. If any resident would like to have their water temperature tested, he has a thermometer and doesn’t mind being contacted anytime to avoid any more frozen lines. He advised anyone at 40 degrees or less to keep a pencil width of water stream out of facets to prevent freezing. Guggisberg also spoke about spring clean-up day and was looking for the 2nd or 3rd Saturday in May for clean-up. Thompson Sanitation will be contacted to see which dates are available. Lastly, while on vacation if snow accumulates there may be a slight delay for city sidewalks, etc. being plowed as Flatness will also have City of Hartland to plow as well.

There was no unfinished business to report.

City Clerk, Nicole LaFrance presented Ordinance No. 52-C Revision. This is an ordinance relating to municipal water service in regulating use and connections thereto. It is an ordinance related to revising utility fees. The council discussed the ordinance and made some minor changes and omitted a few sections. LaFrance will make the appropriate changes to Ordinance No. 52-C Revision, and will be on next month’s agenda for further review.

Council Member, Mosser motioned to purchase a new bulletin board for the outside of city hall for a collection of city information for local residents. Council Member Beach advanced; motion approved.

Council Member, Bjornstad motioned to approve the City of Freeborn to have two debt cards for purchases requiring credit card transactions. Maintenance Operator, Guggisberg will have a debt card for city expenses as well as City Clerk, LaFrance for city business. There is a $1,000 maximum limit approved by the city council. Reconciliation will be done monthly through bank statements, receipts and a separate log created by city clerk. This will help city council and city staff not to have to use their personal credit cards for transactions related to the city, and then require a reimbursement.  This debit card is only for the General Fund Checking Account through Farmer’s State Bank in Freeborn. Council Member, Stenzel advanced; motion carried.

The council discussed the petty cash till and the reconciliation log created by city clerk for efficiency. With the Housing and Redevelopment Program offered by the city of Freeborn, a notary is required on certain documents, so cash should be available to cover the expense. City Clerk will write a check to checking account for $50.00 cash for petty cash till. This will also help make change for residents paying their water bills in cash. The petty cash log will be reconciled monthly with other banking reports.

Council Member, Beach motioned to approve the revisions to City Ordinance #28 Lawn Mowing Assessments. Any homes or vacant house properties neglecting to mow their lawns, will be charged $100.00 per hour, with a minimum of $100.00 for mowing completed. This will be assessed to the property and collected through property taxes. Council Member, Mosser advanced; motion carried.

Ed Mosser motioned to approve the accounts payable and reconciliation reports. Kaleb Bjornstad advanced; motion carried. Snow removal invoice received this afternoon is also approved for payment to Jerry Kroeger.

Council Member Beach motioned to adjourn the meeting. Council Member Stenzel advanced; motion carried.


-Nicole LaFrance

City Clerk-Treasurer