Hired auditor pulls out
The Rugby City Council met in regular session for the first time in 2015 on Monday. The meeting was held at 6 p.m., 90 minutes earlier than usual in support of the Rugby High School boys basketball home game at 7:15.
The council discussed advertising across the state through January for the city auditor position. Mayor Arland Geiszler announced the hiring of Keri A. Pedersen, of Harvey, on local radio Dec. 8, but he informed the council that the woman later pulled her application for personal reasons.
The council approved $1,500 to advertise for the position, which has been vacant since September when Dawn Hauck resigned, citing frustration with issues not being addressed. The city had four applicants following the first round of advertisements.
Geiszler said he is in favor of having a special election to fill the Ward 4 council vacancy left by Craig Zachmeier, who resigned last month. Zachmeier cited not anticipating “the time it would take to research the various subjects affecting the city.”
Geiszler said he met with Pierce County Auditor Karin Fursather about the options.
The mayor clarified that if a special election is held, the winner will serve the remainder of Zachmeier’s former term through June 2018. If the city appointed someone, that person would serve until the next city elections in June 2016.
Geiszler said reassignments for committees will be made “very soon” to balance the landscape following Zachmeier’s resignation. The mayor said he will contact the council members who are reassigned.
Televised meetings closer
Ward 3 Council Member Joel Berg told the council he expects to have exact figures in February on the purchase of camera and microphone equipment to televise council meetings. Berg said Midcontinent and North Dakota Telephone Company will work together to make sure subscribers to both services will receive the feed through the public access channel out of Merchants Bank.
Public Safety – Chief of Police John Rose informed the council that Sgt. Justin Maus would be leaving the force at the end of the week. Maus accepted a job with Canadian Pacific’s railroad police. Maus will remain in Rugby.
“On behalf of the council, I want to thank you for your service,” Geiszler said. “You will be missed.”
Ward 3 Council Member Jim Hoffert described Maus as a respected servant in the community and asked if there was any specific reason the young officer was leaving.
“It’s just about building on my career and doing different things and getting different trainings,” Maus said.
Public Safety Committee Chairman Dave Bednarz (Ward 2) received approval from the board on a new sidewalk repair program, pending approval of a payment plan and specific regulations at the next meeting. The council approved the allocation of $25,000 for the program in 2015. It is modeled after a program in Devils Lake that splits (50/50) the cost of a homeowner’s sidewalk repair.
Finance – Chairman Hoffert updated the council on projects including the new fire hall, the 15th Street storm drain and 1st Street drainage issues. Hoffert encouraged the council to look at the infrastructure fund as a partial source for funding.
Hoffert highlighted numbers involving the fire hall and directed council members to a section of meeting minutes from a Dec. 12 committee meeting: “A report was given on the fire hall contributions and expenses to-date. The city received a check for $253,000 from the Fireman’s Auxiliary in July and they have approximately $22,895 more to give to the city. The firemen have saved a CD in the amount of $53,270 to be used for cabinets, appliances and miscellaneous items in the hall and expect to have approximately $20,000 to 25,000 to give to the city when the hall is complete. Expenses to-date are $668,277.12.”
Personnel – Geiszler shared recent work by the committee and presented the council with an employee performance evaluation form to be reviewed and voted on in February.
The committee is reviewing the employee handbook. Hoffert reminded department supervisors and city employees in attendance that acknowledgment of the existing handbook was requested. The committee has not received that acknowledgment from all employees.
Public Works – The committee requested and received approval to hire Mark Pfau.
Buildings, Property and Construction – Chairman Neil Lotvedt (Ward 1) said architects have been informed about the nearly $100 a day being charged to heat the new fire hall. Lotvedt said the national guard, through a grant, will contribute 50 percent of costs on door, window and sidewalk upgrades at the armory.
Other meeting news
The council approved the minutes from December meetings, the Job Development minutes and financial statements, city bills and financial statements and the municipal judge’s report for December.
The council approved the designation of depositories for pledge of securities and approved the year-end pledge of securities.
The council approved the resolution to adopt the current Pierce County Emergency Operation Plan for the City of Rugby.
The council approved a local permit for raffles totaling $2,694.95 for a Geographical Center Speedway event on May 23. Approval for a special event retail alcoholic beverage permit for Daniel Corum was pending following approval of the Pierce County Board of Commissioners and the American Legion. The event is a wedding dance tonight at Memorial Hall, where the Legion has an alcohol permit.
Ward 4 Council Member Terry Wentz and City Attorney Bill Hartl were absent.
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