Pool safety covers will be allowed as an alternative to fences in Scandia.
At the meeting on July 16 the council voted 4-1 to amend Chapter 2, Section 4.24 of the development code so that automatic pool covers that meet the ASTM standard will be allowed with no fence.
The planning commission had voted to keep the fence requirement, arguing that careless owners may fail to close the cover and that pool covers can deteriorate over time.
Council member Chris Ness voted against changing the ordinance.
The council also voted to allow a swimming pool closer to Big Marine Lake than ordinance allows for the family of John Krueger at 12199 205th St. Placing the pool elsewhere on the property would make it farther from the house and would require cutting down mature trees.
Conditions added by the planning commission to require a survey, downward-pointing lights and a grading plan were included in the variance.
The council adopted new compensation plan for city employees that has 11 steps, with each step worth about 2 percent in increased pay.
New employees will be hired at a pay rate ranging from 80 to 88 percent of the maximum for that position. Maximums were determined by looking at pay scales in Columbus, Bayport, Rush City, Lindstrom, Newport and Chisago City.
From Step 1 to Step 11, the range for city administrator is $73,320 ($35.25 per hour) at Step 1 to $91,650 ($44.06 per hour) at Step 11. The maintenance superintendent range is $58,437 to $73,046. A full-time maintenance worker is paid from $19.82 to $24.78 per hour, the same as the deputy clerk. The hourly rate for treasurer ranges from $18.39 to $22.99.
The council had reviewed the step and grade plan at the June 11 council workshop, but several members were uncomfortable with the built-in increase. “Two percent a year, written in stone, is crazy,” member Jim Schneider said. Ness agreed. “We’ve been working on increasing salaries, but we don’t want to be locked in,” he said. “We don’t want ‘show up and get 2 percent.’”
Schneider was the only council member to vote against the plan on July 19. “I’m for the step and grade plan but not 2 percent,” he said.
The new compensation policy replaces a previous step plan that applied only to maintenance workers.
Probationary firefighters also received a $2 per hour pay increase (20 percent), from $10 to $12, at the July 19 meeting.
The council voted to appoint Ernie Yoch as assistant fire chief and Bill Boyd as fire captain.
The maintenance superintendent was given the new job title of public works director.
Because of ice dams at the community center last winter, the council voted to move up the roof replacement planned for 2019.
Midwest Exteriors Plus was awarded the bid for $32,344.
The current roof has no venting from the soffits, the fixed and turbine vents counteract each other and some rotting has occurred.