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Council wraps up 2020 with special meeting

By Sue Sitter - | Jan 2, 2021

The Rugby City Council held a special meeting at noon on Dec. 23, 2020, in city hall to wrap up unfinished business before the new year.

The council voted 4-2 to pay Recreation Manager Jamie Wald $7,200 for work she performed on a part-time basis in 2020. Council members Frank LaRocque, Dave Bednarz, Wayne Trottier and Matt Lunde cast aye votes on the motion to pay Wald, while Joel Berg and Charles Longie voted no.

Berg explained his reluctance to vote for the motion to pay the sum.

“We had offered an hourly wage over the last two years for a rec manager, and my opinion is you set a precedent to negotiate wages after the season,” he said.

Wald had served as rec manager on a voluntary basis in 2019.

“I agree that hours should’ve been turned in regularly, but here we are and we need to wrap this up before the end of the year,” Mayor Sue Steinke responded. “We’re not negotiating to increase her hourly wage; we’re just talking about the time she’s put in.”

The majority vote resulted in compensation for Wald at a rate of ten hours per month.

Part of the work performed by Wald included overseeing a drain tile project near the city softball diamonds.

The council voted earlier in December to hire local firm B and J Excavating to resurface the diamond area and finish other parts of the project. In its special meeting, the council voted to defer payment to B and J Excavating until after it receives and reviews an invoice for work performed.

Discrepancies in measurements for the project also came before the council for discussion.

“Mr. Olson from Advanced Engineering supplied maps for their surveying of how much drain tile is (at the softball complex). It came up to 13,891 lineal feet, which is different from what (Austin) Harles supplied,” Steinke told the council, adding the matter would be discussed with Harles, who installed the drain tile on the complex, later in January.

The council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of an angle broom attachment for the city’s skid steer to sweep loose snow from sidewalks.

The council also approved the purchase and installation of an overhead garage door for the city shop building to accommodate city vehicles.

Other budget issues voted on at the meeting included an additional payment of $39,063 on a water revenue bond, covering work done on the city’s secondary water line in 2018. City Auditor Jennifer Stewart explained the measure would save interest expenses for the city.

Steinke told the council the money “is already in our budget. We’re not paying any additional funds.” The council approved the payment with a unanimous vote.

The council also approved year-end budget transfers and amendments with a unanimous vote.

Applications for liquor license renewals by area businesses also received unanimous approval by the council, including a request by Hangovers Bottle Shop to change its designation to allow for bar seating for sampling and special events.

Steinke presented a grant award letter from the USDA to the council. The grant would fund expenses incurred for pre-development planning under the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service Loan Grant program. The program grants money for drinking water, sewer and storm drainage systems and other infrastructure that Steinke said, “are vital to rural communities and enhance the quality of life of our rural citizens.”

The grant awarded a sum of $22,500, which is $7,500 less than the $30,000 requested in the city’s grant application. Stewart said the USDA used a percentage system to award the grant. The remaining funds to make up the $30,000 total would come from the city’s reserve fund. The council unanimously approved a motion by Trottier to accept the motion.

The council will hold its next regular meeting Monday, Jan. 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Rugby City Hall.

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