Vinterfest contingency plans are in the works

Lack of snow could affect Scandia event on Feb. 4

Mary Bailey
Scandia Writer

In a meeting that lasted an hour, the Scandia City Council chose the official newspaper for 2012, appointed an acting mayor, approved a new agreement with TKDA for professional services, and signed a contract to rent the community center kitchen.

The council also heard from Wayne Boerner, new manager at William O’Brien State Park. Boerner introduced himself and answered questions.

Despite a lack of snow, he said, the park was busy with hikers and dog walkers. “We wish it would be snowing,” he added.

Boerner said before coming to William O’Brien he managed Zippell Bay, Buffalo River, Lac Qui Parle, and Minneopa State Parks.

Also concerned with the lack of snow, the park and recreation committee reported it is looking at contingency plans for Vinterfest, Scandia’s annual outdoor party scheduled for Feb. 4.

Council Member Sally Swanson said the committee is considering hauling in snow, at no cost to the city, for the popular snow sculpting contest.

Sledding on Elim’s hill may have to be cancelled, she said. The bonfire, ice skating, and the chili cook-off will go on as planned.

Official Newspaper

With bids from the Forest Lake Times and the Country Messenger, the council chose the Country Messenger as official publisher of required notices of meetings, hearings, elections and finances in 2012.

Since Scandia became a city, the Country Messenger was chosen once, in 2010, and the Forest Lake Times in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011.

“I like the Messenger,” council member Chris Ness said. “They come to smaller events and publish photos.” The vote was unanimous.

The Forest Lake Times is delivered free to 1100 households in Scandia; residents can also pick up a free copy at the community center. The Country Messenger, available by subscription and sold at local stores, has a total circulation in Scandia of 443.

Country Messenger Publisher Randi Smith, who addressed the council, said her newspaper will supply 25 free copies of the Country Messenger each week.  “We have a strong commitment to Scandia,” she said.

In her written proposal, Smith wrote “Our newspaper focuses more time and personnel to the community than any other news organization.” She also pointed out that the Country Messenger is the official newspaper for Marine on St. Croix and for Washington County.

The Country Messenger became eligible for consideration when the state reduced the circulation requirement from 500 to 400 and said the official newspaper could be located in another state. But in 2011 the council was not convinced that the circulation requirement was met.  “Last year the numbers weren’t there,” Mayor Randall Simonson said.

The Messenger previously operated from an office in Scandia but later closed that office and moved to its current location in Osceola, WI.

Agreements

The council approved a new agreement with Toltz, King, Duvall, Anderson for planning services. Scandia has worked with TKDA since 1988, and the service contract had not been updated since 2008.

The rate schedule is mostly the same as before.  Billings for Senior Planner Sheri Buss will range from $102 to $118 per hour. The previous rate was $100 to $126 per hour.

In December a new community center kitchen rental policy was written so that resident Samantha Keeney could make salsa to sell at markets that require use of a commercial kitchen. At the January 17 meeting the council approved a contract that would allow Keeney to store her products at the community center for an additional $5 per month.

Reports

Last November Scandia contracted with the city of Forest Lake to buy building inspection services. In his monthly report Building Official Keith Wille said two permits were issued in December for work valued at $5,275.

The total for 2011 was 108 permits at a valuation of $2,814,409. Six permits were for new homes.

In November and December, Scandia’s income from building inspections was $7,291. Of this amount Forest Lake was paid $2,275.

Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Majeski reported that in the month of December a vehicle stolen from North Country Auto in Hugo was recovered. Majeski said he is checking on 20 vacation properties for Scandia residents who spend their winters in warmer climates.

Fire Chief Jim Finnegan reported 15 calls in December, of which five were fire-related and 10 medical.  For the entire year, there were 198 calls, of which 144 were medical. This reflects a 12 percent decrease from 2010.

Since the city of Marine discontinued ambulance service, Finnegan said, Scandia is working toward a permanent solution to provide service. Temporarily, Lakeview Ambulance of Stillwater is staffing a 24-hour ambulance at the Scandia Fire Hall.

City Attorney Tom Miller, at the front table for the first time, said he will have written reports for future meetings. This month he provided input on the TKDA and kitchen rental agreements.

City Administrator Anne Hurlburt reported that Scandia’s new snow plow may arrive next week. At the last plowable snow, on New Year’s day, a city pickup was damaged.

For the same cost of about $3800, she said, the city may be able to fit the 2008 F-350 with a metal flatbed instead of repairing the box.

Scandia’s new maintenance superintendent has asked for two-week delay on his start date, Hurlburt said, and will not be on the job Jan. 23 as planned.

Council member Jim Schneider said he has received complaints on salting and sanding from residents.

Other Business

Schneider was chosen acting mayor for 2012. He was nominated by Swanson; the vote was unanimous.

The February planning commission meeting on Feb. 7 will need rescheduling because of caucuses.

The council will hold a work session Tuesday, Feb. 14 to discuss goals for 2012, the fire department hiring process, the community farmers’ market, and council committee assignments.  The new public works superintendent will be present at the meeting.

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