$200,000 purchase gets 3-2 vote
An electronic data storage system for city staff to quickly and easily retrieve records: $12,709.
A strut kit to stabilize a vehicle that needs to be cut after an accident: $5,458 (donated by the Scandia Fire Relief Association).
A new dump truck to give the expanded public works department three snowplow routes for Scandia’s 90 miles of city streets: $189,841.
But the mayor will have to pay for his own signature stamp.
At the Jan. 21 meeting, the council approved these purchases, mostly by unanimous vote. The snowplow purchase, as expected, was opposed by council members Jim Schneider and Dan Lee.
Before the vote, Schneider had one last chance to say why he was against spending $200,000 on a third snowplow.
“I’m totally against spending this money now,” Schneider said. “It’s a waste of money. We have the grader. I don’t think we need to spend $200,000 just because it would be nice to have.”
Lee said the $200,000 (already approved in 2013 as part of the fire truck bond) should be spent on equipment that would be used more than a snowplow.
Council Member Ness spoke for the majority, saying Scandia roads would not be nearly as drivable in the winter if there were only two plow routes.
The council also voted to create a local road improvement fund to save in advance for major road repairs. Each year, $200,000 will be transferred from the general fund to the road fund. The vote was unanimous.
The electronic data storage system is a long-awaited solution to city staff’s problem of accessing old records. The laserfiche system includes a server that controls access to the database, a module for automating work processes, an audit trail for reports, a scanner, installation and training. An additional purchase will let the city print bar codes on checks. The total price is $12,709, with annual maintenance fee of $1,193.
The strut kit is a set of adjustable box beam struts to stabilize a car so that it will not fall when pieces are cut away. The fire department’s auto extrication team needs the equipment for use in car accidents, to prevent another accident from happening.
When Mayor Randall Simonson asked for a $40 rubber stamp for signing checks, he offered to pay for it himself if the council wished.
“I don’t have a problem with the rubber stamp,” Schneider said. “And I don’t have a problem with Randall paying for it himself.”
In response to snow removal difficulties on Olinda Trail south of Scandia Trail (TH-97), the council repealed old parking ordinances and replaced them with Ordinance 151, which is now in effect and applies to all streets in the city.
From Nov. 1 to April 30, on-street parking is allowed only when it does not interfere with the removal of snow or ice.
RVs can be parked on a street for only 24 hours, and it is illegal to park within 15 feet of any mailbox on Monday through Saturday.
The violation is a petty misdemeanor; violating vehicles will be removed at the owner’s expense.
After meeting with Washington County, City Engineer Ryan Goodman reported a tentative schedule for planned improvements for Lofton Avenue.
Preliminary design for turn lanes at the intersection of Lofton Ave and TH-97 will be done in the winter of 2014, followed by topographic survey in the spring. In the summer, MnDOT review, municipal consent and complete plans will be completed. Bids will open in August and construct may begin in September or October.
For the pavement improvement project for CR-91 north of TH-97, the tentative schedule calls for bids in March 2014 and construction in the summer of 2014.
For 2014, official notices from the city will continue to be published in the Country Messenger as in 2013. The city budgets $1,500 per year for this service.
Simonson said the Forest Lake Times is delivered to more than 1,000 Scandia residents, while 446 subscribe to the Messenger.
Ness countered that Messenger readers are more involved, as they have to pay to receive the paper. Other council members referred to the Messenger as the local paper.
The vote was unanimous.