The Emily City Council agreed to clarify a statement in letters sent to all non-homestead property owners with a building, according to unapproved draft meeting minutes from the May 14 meeting.
The letter was to determine whether properties were being rented. Owners were requested to return a completed rental dwelling license application or a non-rental property declaration form (included in the mailing). The letter said property owners would be charged an administration fine for not returning the forms.
The letter was meant to say that owners renting their homes who did not complete rental dwelling license applications were subject to the fine. Non-rental property declaration forms are voluntary if the property is not rented.
The city sent 519 letters; 304 forms of one type or the other were returned. Between 20 and 25 property owners called to complain. The council agreed more research is needed for state licensing requirements for vacation rentals. The license applications are meant to provide safety for renters and neighbors.
Draft minutes said one property owner alleged that the ordinance as written requires licenses for property owners allowing friends to stay at his or her dwelling. The city attorney disagreed with that interpretation. He said a rental property is defined as being for a charge, whereas friends using a dwelling for no charge are not renters and therefore are not required to be licensed.
A deadline of May 31 was set.
The council learned that there are hurdles preventing municipal support (financially) of treatment of aquatic invasive species in Emily lakes and rivers. The city attorney said state law limits the city to contributing funds to bodies of water fully within city limits, unless the city entered a joint powers agreement with the other entities where the body of water lies.
Emily Lake and Roosevelt Lake do not lie fully within the jurisdiction, though Ruth Lake is in the city boundaries, but it is part of the Ruth Lake Improvement District.
The city budgeted $15,000 for use for treatment of invasive species in Emily lakes and rivers, but it is possible those funds may not be legally used. The attorney was also concerned the city may not be allowed to contribute donations to lake improvement districts.
Dan Brennan, president of the Ruth Lake Improvement District, said the city's contributions were integral to the fight against invasive aquatic species.
In other business, the council:
• Approved rental of a street sweeper from RDO Equipment for two weeks for up to $3,000.
• Learned the Minnesota Department of Transportation approved a right of way permit for construction of a sidewalk from a public parking lot to the State Highway 6/County Road 1 crosswalks. MnDOT also denied a permit for installation of flag poles, city information sign and electrical installation for flag pole lights in the MnDOT right of way.
• Denied a resolution recommended by the League of Minnesota Cities requesting comprehensive road and transit funding to support legislation for additional city street funding.
• Approved installation of at least one 16-foot garage door on the maintenance shop. The council also approved a Crow Wing Power right of way easement to provide power to the maintenance shop.
• Approved purchase of a clerk's office server, battery backup and switch for faster internet service for a total of $1,250. This is less than the $2,800 budgeted for the server.
• Approved a $980 upgrade to the city surveillance system recorder to 4k with additional storage.
• Approved a motion that all agenda items must be at the clerk's office by noon on the Thursday before the regular council meeting, with the exception of emergencies.
• Approved a rule that the council packet must be completed by 10 a.m. on the Monday before the regular council meeting, allowing for emergency additions at the clerk's discretion.
• Agreed to apply for a conditional use deed from the state of Minnesota for a city beach on Little Emily Lake.
• Agreed to purchase two new four tier bleachers and to replace boards on the current bleachers for up to $3,000.
• Approved a union contract between the city of Emily and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local No. 49 AFL-CIO retroactively to Jan. 1.
• Agreed to hire Randy Deshayes as a part-time, seasonal maintenance worker for $15 an hour.
• Approved a Sourcewell internship agreement with college student Sienna Rae Johnson to work as an independent contractor in the clerk's office up to 40 hours a week for up to 16 weeks for $12 an hour paid by Sourcewell and an additional $3 per hour paid by the city.
• Reviewed recycling costs. The city has had to charge significant contamination fees for recycled materials due to the presence of plastic bags mixed in with recyclables. The council agreed to post a notice explaining that continued contamination could cause the program to close.
• Approved a charitable gambling license for St. Emily's Church for a raffle from May 12-Sept. 1.
• Approved two temporary on-sale intoxicating liquor licenses for the Emily Fire Relief Association for the June 22-23 softball tournament and the July 20 Emily Day event.
• Agreed to have planning and zoning review the proposed Wetland Conservation Act administration fees and make a recommendation to the council. The council also adopted a resolution regarding city administration of the Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act.
• Learned progress has been made in mediating complaints regarding the State Highway 6 reconstruction project. A settlement has been reached concerning damage to Emily Meats' refrigeration and MnDOT plans to address a flooding issue east of the Log Cabin Bar with installation of a storm drain to the storm sewer system.