The Nisswa City Council on Wednesday, July 15, approved a policy that outlines the process for city meetings and shares information about how city meetings operate that would also be available to the public in an easy-to-read format.

Regarding a code of conduct policy, the council tabled action on a draft policy but agreed such a policy is needed. Council member John Ryan suggested the policy have two parts - code of conduct and pertinent information new council members should know upon taking office.

The draft code of conduct policy describes guidelines and expectations regarding compliance and enforcement, roles of council, staff and commissions, working with the community, etc.

City Administrator Jenny Max drafted both policies after the June 25 special council meeting, which was held for the council to address comments Mayor Fred Heidmann made on Facebook that people took issue with. It was suggested at that meeting that the council have a social media policy. Max was asked to draft policies.

Parks and recreation

Nisswa is looking for a parks and recreation director after Matthew Hill resigned from that position effective Aug. 7 to become Crosby’s city administrator.

Hill was hired in March 2015. The council agreed to seek candidates for the job.

Council member Gary Johnson, who has served as liaison to the park commission, said Hill will be missed, has been great to work with and accomplished a lot for the city. Other council members agreed.

Public safety

The council agreed to amend the collective bargaining agreement between the city and Teamsters union to include the sergeant position as requested by recently promoted Sgt. Todd Szymanski. Previously, the sergeant position was not included in the collective bargaining agreement.

Police Chief Craig Taylor in a letter thanked the Nisswa Lions for a $4,100 donation for thermal imaging equipment.

Police had 265 calls for service in June. Activity included 144 traffic warnings, 33 traffic citations, 13 arrests, 35 agency assists and three criminal citations.

Firefighters had 28 calls in June, including 23 emergency medical services calls, two fire alarms, two car wrecks and one gas leak.

Public works

The council awarded a bid for wastewater treatment facility improvements to Eagle Construction Co. for $4,188,000. This was the lowest of five bids received, and lower than the engineer’s estimate of $4,497,410.

The council also accepted a bid for lift station 3 improvements for $554,055.

In other business July 15, the council:

  • Learned the city achieved step 3 recognition in the GreenStep City program and is the only city in the area to receive that recognition.

  • Approved a commercial storage unit ordinance change. The city’s moratorium on commercial storage units is set to expire in September. Council member John Ryan was opposed, saying the changes are too restrictive.

  • Learned the city issued 10 land use permits in the last month.

  • Learned sales were up at the Pickle Factory in June ($108,163) compared to last June ($105,964) and expenditures were down ($100,574 this June; $131,164 in June 2019). Sales were up at Spirits of Nisswa municipal liquor store in May ($430,279) compared to May 2019 ($317,245) and expenditures were up ($216,871 this May; $141,260 last May). Preliminary June sales at Spirits total $516,398 compared to June 2019 sales of $416,396.

  • Learned the Hazelwood Drive bridge project will start Aug. 3 with completion expected by Aug. 14. Hazelwood Drive resurfacing will begin Aug. 17 and should be complete by the end of September. Smiley Road South also will be improved this summer.

  • Did not take action on a proposed golf cart ordinance and trail use policy, agreeing to look into this more in depth, possibly at a council workshop.

  • Accepted the resignation of Bill Schultz, maintenance technician, and agreed to hire for the position.

  • Learned someone planned to bring a plan to the city for a mini golf course near the County Road 18 roundabout.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.