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Pine River City Council holds line on levy

The Pine River City Council set its preliminary 2013 levy at the same amount as the prior two levies: $373,871.

The levy breakdown by fund is: General, $307,573; Library, $28,048; Fire, $28,000; Fire Association Relief $2,000; Sewer, $8,250.

The Truth in Taxation hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at city hall.

Councilors Patty Melby, Tony Desanto and Tamara Hansen were present at the Sept. 11 meeting. Mayor Jim Sabas and Councilor Ronnie Derksen were absent.

Interim Police Chief Paul Sand told the council that the department had 112 calls for the month including 15 traffic stops, 3 drug possession, 6 driving while intoxicated, 9 disorderly conducts and numerous medicals.

Sand reminds residents to have their house numbers visible so police can respond to their address.

The council approved hiring new part-time police officer Chelsea Collette.

Public Works Director Mike Hansen said they will do sewer line jetting this month. They’ve been working to construct the warming house at the skating rink.

The fire department responded to two fire calls, an ATV accident, a car accident and numerous medical calls. Pump certifications are under way and they will be doing firefighter performance evaluations. The department held a trap shoot fundraiser and six teams participated.

The council appointed Debbie Norman to the Pine River Housing Authority.

City Engineer Bryan Drown said construction work has largely been completed at the airport. At the end of September they will stripe pavement markings.

The council approved the payment of the following at the airport: $389,749, for runway pavement rehabilitation; $87,510 for taxiway pavement rehabilitation; and $13,432 for taxiway crack sealing and patching.

City Attorney Ted Lundrigan told the council that it should appoint a permanent police chief to help assist with police union negotiations. Lundrigan said in his opinion, a decision about a police chief needs to be made.

The councilors in attendance decided to wait until the next council meeting to make a decision about whether to make the interim police chief permanent.

The council approved transportation policy updates needed prior to the 2013 grant application for funding.

Radios will be purchased to comply with the state’s new 800-mega hertz system. The council approved the $2,797 purchase price.

Transit Manager Val Kuschel reported that there were 809 bus passengers in August. The council approved advertising for a part-time bus driver position. Part-time driver Janice Gard is interested in retiring. Interested applicants should inquire at city hall.

The council also approved a memorandum of agreement with the nonprofit Envision Minnesota for a free technical assistance grant of up to $10,000. Envision will provide technical assistance to Pine River to improve walking and biking access to downtown.

The council also approved adding Easter Monday as a paid holiday for non-union employees. That Monday is already a holiday for union employees.