What began as a typical council meeting on March 21 evolved into a contentious discussion about an article regarding the Log House Landing project submitted by Mayor Christine Maefsky and Councilman Steve Kronmiller for the spring Scandia newsletter.
Councilman Jim Schneider was irritated that the article was not approved by the full council before being sent to city staff to be placed into the newsletter because he felt that the content was biased; ultimately, the article was not placed in the newsletter.
“It’s a perfect example of someone trying to (advance) their personal views in the newsletter, which I am dead set against,” Schneider said. “The facts are again being skewed. It was voted on and it’s a done deal.”
Schneider was referring to the agreement previously voted on and approved by the council to remodel the Log House Landing boat ramp with financial assistance from the Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District and the National Park Service. The city is holding an April 25 public hearing to get resident feedback on how it should approach the landing, which is suffering erosion issues. Schneider believed the wording of the article was written in such a way to position options that did more to preserve the current state of the landing as more reasonable than alternative choices. Portions of the article highlighted the landing as historic or in a scenic, relatively undeveloped state.
“It was brought up because of the nature of this issue; we would reach out to every Scandia resident,” responded Mayor Christine Maefsky.
“If all of you were speaking in one voice, then it should be published,” City Administrator Neil Soltis said.
To keep disputes like this from occurring in the future, the council is working on a city communication policy.
On March 14, bids were received from four companies to complete the 2017 crack filling project. City Engineer Ryan Goodman recommended that the council accept the low bid from Asphalt Services Technologies Corporation for $32,200. The council voted unanimously to approve this bid. Streets include 230th, 235th, 236th, 237th, 238th, 239th, part of Nolan, Novak, Morgan, Meadowbrook, Ogilvie and Oldfield.
The city has budgeted $150,000 for a seal coating project that will be open for bid on April 12. The roads considered include 230th, 223rd, 235th, part of 236th, 238th, 239th and 239th Court, Nolan, Ogilvie, Meadowbrook, Paris and a small portion of Highway 97 frontage road.
City staff expects that the current John Deere mower used by public works to mow ball fields and plow snow will need to be replaced due to future costly expenses that would likely occur due to years of use (it is a 2009 model) with many hours of service. There are currently about $1,000 worth of repairs and maintenance that need to be completed before the mowing season begins. There is also an electrical issue in the starting of the machine that the mechanics from the John Deere dealership are having problems identifying. The current machine has a cab with heat and air conditioning, a mower deck and a snow blower and is two-wheel drive.
“With two of the three ballfields being mowed in low areas, the two-wheel drive mower does get stuck and needs to be pulled out, which means driving heavier equipment on to the fields and damaging them in order to pull out the mower that is stuck,” Public Works Director Adam Hawkinson said.
There is $30,000 in the equipment replacement fund for the purchase of a mower. Hawkinson obtained six quotes from the Minnesota State Contract Vendors and two quotes from Kubota Dealers. The purchase of the mower will not sustain a debt for the residents of Scandia. The council approved the purchase of a Kubota mower unanimously for $32,500 after a $9,000 trade-in offer for the old mower.