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Nisswa employees' union petition still under review

The Nisswa City Council learned Wednesday, Sept. 18, that the Bureau of Mediation Services requested more information regarding what city employees would potentially be part of a union.

City attorney Steve Qualley said the bureau requested information about job descriptions, so the city is still waiting to hear about the number and the particular people who will vote on whether to form a union.

Some city employees petitioned to form a union after the council asked for police chief Craig Taylor’s resignation without giving a reason why. Taylor is still chief.

Qualley updated the council on other items, including a lease agreement with the chamber for its portion of the new public restroom/chamber building, as well as an ordinance amendment for potential issuance of brewer/tap room licenses.

Qualley said state legislation dealing with tap rooms was perhaps not done perfectly, with language added to one section of the liquor code but not another. So there is still a question regarding cities with municipal liquor stores, like Nisswa, issuing tap room licenses.

However, it appears the legislation was intended to be drafted to allow cities both with and without liquor stores to issue brewer/tap room licenses, Qualley said.

Planning and zoning

The council granted a request by Tom Rutske of Johnson Properties to plant 14 12-foot red pines in part of Nisswa Lake Estates within the city’s right-of-way, along Highway 371 by Nisswa Lake.

Trees were cleared from this area as part of the utility relocations for Highway 371 construction. The city is also working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation on a replanting plan for next spring for the east side of the highway near the Nisswa Motel where trees were removed for highway work.

Rutske also received approval to clear a path within a city utility easement from an area of Nisswa Lake Estates near the pedestrian tunnel so future residents will be able to access the future park and downtown Nisswa.

The city also has a temporary construction agreement with the DNR to clear a path from the pedestrian/bicycle tunnel back to Hazelwood Drive and to the city-owned Nisswa Lake Park parcels.

In other business, the council approved a planning commission request to reconsider portions of an ordinance dealing with the organization of the Nisswa Planning Commission/Board of Adjustment.

In other business, the council:

• Adopted IRS regulations for volunteer firefighters and independent contractors effective Jan. 1, 2014.

• Heard council member Gary Johnson read a statement regarding recent council actions and treatment of city staff. See the full statement on the Opinion page in this week’s Echo Journal.