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March City Council meeting sparsely attended

By Staff | Mar 6, 2020

A smaller than normal number of citizens and city officials attended the regular meeting of the Rugby City Council for March, held Monday evening at City Hall.

Board members Gary Kraft, Dave Bednarz and Chuck Longie were absent from the meeting.

After reviewing and approving minutes from the Feb. 3 regular meeting and monthly bills, the council listened as City Auditor Jennifer Stewart presented financial reports. Stewart told the council three certificates of deposit had been set up in the amount of $100,000 each. The money was received in the general fund.

“Budgeted transfers had changed the amount in the cash report somewhat,” Stewart told the council.

“The infrastructure was down to $95,000, and that’s a result of the transfers that were budgeted for,” Stewart added.

Council members also approved a second reading of City Ordinances 422 and 423. Ordinance 422 levies a two percent tax on lodging in Rugby to promote tourism, while Ordinance 423 levies a one percent tax on restaurants and lodging facilities to fund tourism infrastructure.

The ordinances were modified and amended with their first reading in February.

In other business, the council reviewed an annual report submitted by the Rugby Volunteer Fire Department.

The council also reviewed minutes and financials from the regular February meeting of the Rugby Job Development Authority.

The council approved a proclamation issued by Mayor Sue Steinke that designated March 2-6 as National School Breakfast Week, and they approved another proclamation naming the week of April 6-10 City Government Week.

The council reviewed and approved permit applications for Little Flower School Bingo and Pierce County 4-H raffles, and authorized Dakota Farms, Lee’s Bar and Northside Lounge as gaming sites to raise funds for Rugby Amateur Hockey.

Other agenda items reviewed by the council included requests for bids for sand and gravel deliveries and grass clipping removal services. The grass clipping removal contract would be open only to bidders with valid driver’s licenses and proof of insurance.

The council voted to rescind a bid for comprehensive planning services to engineering firm AE2S, approved in February. Steinke told the council the city would be eligible for grant monies from Souris Basin Planning Council if the city considered at least three bids for services.

City committee members presented reports to the council.

Joel Berg of the recreation committee updated the council on progress made in hiring a new recreation department director.

Jackie Albrecht gave reports from the ordinance and finance committees. Albrecht noted the finance committee had discussed transfers and bids on a 1998 vehicle and addressed citizen complaints on garbage billing.

Albrecht said the ordinance committee heard concerns from residents about dogs and tabled a measure on planning commission compensation.

Cody Melgaard presented information from the city safety committee. Committee members reported they were in the process of working with City Attorney Bill Hartl on a human resource matter pertaining to the resignation of a Rugby police officer.

The council reviewed a letter written by Rugby business owners Derick Welk and Brad Wangler.

The letter referenced the Rugby Renaissance Zone program and expressed disappointment that the program was not explained or offered to their businesses.

“I think some research needs to be done on the technicalities of that and the application, if they’re eligible … could be presented,” Steinke said of the letter.

“If they did something like Home of Economy, it would require the school and the county to be involved in hearings on those. I think some homework (needs to be done) on the technicalities there. Just so you’re aware, we’ve included it in the correspondence in the packet,” Steinke told the council.

The Rugby City Council will next meet in a special session Monday, March 16, at 7:30 p.m. to consider the closure of a section of Third Avenue Southwest adjacent to Ely Elementary School. The city will hold a tax equalization meeting the evening of April 6.

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