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Jackson, Minnesota

November 5, 2018

The Jackson City Council met in regular session in the Council Chambers of
City Hall at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, November 5, 2018 with the meeting called to
order by Mayor Wayne Walter. On the roll call, the following persons were
present: Mayor Wayne Walter, Aldermen Matt Madden, Brandon Finck, Ken
Temple, Donnie Schoenrock and Dave Cushman, City Administrator Matt Skaret,
City Attorney Brad Anderson, Street Superintendent Phil Markman, Engineer
Greg Mitchell of Bolton and Menk, Mike Erickson, Pastor Steve DeKok of the
First Baptist Church in Jackson, Amy DeKok, City Clerk/Council Secretary Dave
Maschoff, Justin Lessman of the Jackson County Pilot and Dave Schmidt of
KKOJ/KUXX Radio. (Alderman Larry Anderson was absent.) (A quorum of the
City Council was present.)


Mayor Wayne Walter called the regular meeting of the Jackson City Council to
order. On the roll call, Mayor Walter noted all Council Members were present
except Alderman Anderson who was absent.

There were no public hearings, no bid lettings and no open forum.

Mayor Walter asked for a motion to approve the Consent Agenda minus
Consent Agenda Item D - Utilities Commission recommendation to appoint Jim
Lutz to the Utilities Commission to fill the vacancy created with Wendell Sohn’s
resignation. Mayor Walter explained Jim Lutz decided he did not want to be
appointed to the Utilities Commission.

City Administrator Skaret noted Consent Agenda Item F – City of Jackson’s
response letter to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) regarding the
MPCA’s Notice of Violation. He said Engineer Greg Mitchell sent a letter on behalf
of the City to the MPCA. Skaret explained he received a letter in the mail on
November 5th from the MPCA acknowledging that they received the City’s letter
and accepted it.
TEMPLE/FINCK moved and it was unanimously carried to approve the
Consent Agenda minus Consent Agenda item D.

Council Discussion Items


City Administrator Matt Skaret noted Mike Erickson, the resident of the
property at 712 South Highway, was present at the Council meeting.
Skaret said Erickson’s property is along the last stretch of the City’s sanitary
sewer extension project. He explained the contractor for the sanitary sewer
extension project has been waiting for a couple of years for the level of the Des
Moines River to drop, but Mother Nature has not cooperated in allowing that to
Skaret said Erickson has a septic system that is failing and he cannot wait any
longer for Mother Nature to cooperate. Skaret said he, Engineer Greg Mitchell
and Street Superintendent Phil Markman have met with Erickson and have looked
at different options for Erickson to connect to the City’s sanitary sewer. He said
one of the options was running a force main to the northwest of Erickson’s
property to the manhole at the intersection of Bluff and Westbriar Avenue.
Skaret noted Erickson, Mitchell and Markman were present if the Mayor and
Council Members had any questions.
Markman said Mitch Jasper contacted him on November 2nd. Markman
explained Jasper said he was going to draw up plans and submit them to
directional bore from Erickson’s property up to the manhole. Markman noted the
manhole they will bore to is a brand new structure that was installed when the
City redid over 100 manholes as part of a sewer project back in 2012. He added
the sewer lines have also been slip-lined. Markman said they may be able to
attach Erickson’s service to the sewer line without digging up or having to patch
the street.
Skaret noted that the work to attach to the sewer line is all at Erickson’s
As part of the sewer extension project, Skaret said there are basically two
assessments. He said one is for connecting to the sewer line and also the public
portion assessment that everyone served by the line pays when the sewer line is
installed in front of the property. Skaret said Erickson would still have to pay the
public portion of the assessment when the line is installed in front of his property.
Cushman asked if the connection would be inspected once it’s completed.
Markman said he’s contacted when a connection to the sewer line is made.
He also noted Mitch Jasper is a licensed and bonded septic contractor and said
Jasper may have to submit a plan to the State.
TEMPLE/CUSHMAN moved and it was unanimously carried to approve the
Sanitary Sewer Connection Application from Mike Erickson for 712 South


Skaret explained the cooler for the new liquor store was one thing that was
not included in the bid by the general contractor. He said it was something that
the City Council was going to handle.
Skaret said three quotes were received for walk-in coolers. He said the lowest
bid was received from ATSCo Companies for $65,480.53.
Skaret said the Liquor Committee reviewed the quotes on October 23rd and
recommended approval of the low quote from ATSCo Companies. Budget wise,
Skaret explained there was $75,000 built into the budget for the new walk-in
cooler so the low quote is about $10,000 under what was budgeted. He added
Liquor Store Manager Michelle Bratrud has reviewed the cooler quotes and is
comfortable with the cooler from ATSCo Companies.
Mayor Walter asked for a motion to accept the low quote from ATSCo
Companies for the walk-in cooler for the new liquor store.
SCHOENROCK/MADDEN moved and it was unanimously carried to accept
the low quote of $65,480.53 from ATSCo Companies of Elgin, Illinois for a
walk-in cooler for the new liquor store.
Skaret said the City has received their first pay application from Ankeny
Builders for the liquor store project in the amount of $225,012. He said Ankeny
Builders have been working hard on the project weather permitting.
Skaret noted the trusses for the building have arrived and are being installed.
He said construction crews have made substantial progress.
Skaret said all of the underground plumbing has been installed, the water and
sewer connections have been made, electrical service is installed, the concrete
floor has been poured, the concrete pylons for the parking lot lights have been
installed and the concrete sidewalks have been poured along with the curb and
gutter. He said they also have the Class 5 base in for the parking lot ready to be
paved as soon as they can.
Skaret said the work that they’re anticipating to do the rest of this week
includes completing setting the roof trusses and roof framing. He said they are
also planning to install the first layer of bituminous paving on the parking lot.
Skaret said next spring or summer they would install the second and final
bituminous layer on the parking lot and stripe it. He said they have made making
some pretty amazing progress in the last couple weeks.
SCHOENROCK/CUSHMAN moved and it was unanimously carried to approve
Pay Application No. 1 from Ankeny Builders in the amount of $225,012.


Skaret explained the crack sealing project at the airport has been completed.
He said the Airport Commission reviewed the pay application and recommended
the application’s approval in the amount of $79,261.15 to Struck and Irwin Paving.
Skaret noted there is still a five percent retainage being withheld.
Skaret said the airport crack sealing project is one of those projects that are
90 percent reimbursable by Federal funds and five percent by the State.
MADDEN/SCHOENROCK moved and it was unanimously carried to approve
Pay Application No. 1 for the Airport Crack Sealing Project in the amount of
$79,261.15 to Struck and Irwin Paving.
Skaret said the Street Committee met on October 22nd and reviewed the City’s
current policies and protocol for removing snow in the downtown area and what
is expected and required of the adjacent property owners. He said the Street
Committee recommends keeping with the City’s current policies and procedures.
Skaret explained in most cases, the City requires downtown property owners
to push the snow off their sidewalks and onto the street by 5 a.m. or before the
plow goes through. He said the policy says 5 a.m., but obviously not every
snowfall behaves perfectly, but 5 a.m. is in the policy because generally that’s
when the Street Department starts plowing the downtown area.
Street Superintendent Phil Markman said the Street Department crew comes
in at 4 a.m. and plows key streets and the hills first. He said when those are
completed, they start plowing downtown Jackson between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.
Markman noted many of the downtown businesses have contractors that move
snow between midnight and 4 a.m. and have the snow in the street before the
City plows come by. He said the contractors are familiar with the City’s plowing
procedures and the City has had a good working relationship with the contractors.
Skaret pointed out the City does not allow snow from private parking lots to
be pushed onto the street but does allow contractors or businesses to haul snow
down to Albertus Field.
Skaret said the Street Committee recommended that the City make sure they
get the word out to the business owners on what’s expected regarding snow
removal. Skaret pointed out he included a draft letter in the Council member’s
packets that basically outlines what’s been discussed to make sure everyone is on
the same page and try and alleviate any problems or misunderstanding or
miscommunication before the need arises to plow snow. Skaret said if a business
dumped the snow out onto the street after the City plow has gone through, the
City would charge the business owner the City’s regular snow removal rate which
would be $60 an hour minimum.
Markman noted to bring a truck and a payloader downtown to remove snow
would be $160 per hour for the truck and $150 per hour for the loader with a
minimum charge of an hour. He said if a business owner is out of town or has an
emergency for whatever reason and puts the snow from their sidewalk along the
curb; the Street Department will pick up that snow the next time they go by.
However, Markman pointed out it can’t be allowed when someone makes a pile
of snow and puts it where it’s a safety factor. He said last winter season, there
were incidents where piles of snow were piled up into the street and was a hazard
to vehicles.
CUSHMAN/TEMPLE moved and it was unanimously carried to have the City
send letters to downtown business and property owners outlining the City’s
snow removal policy in the downtown area.

Skaret said tree trimming was another subject that was discussed by the
Street Committee at their October 22nd meeting. He explained what this refers to
are the trees that hang over the boulevards and streets and interferes with usage
of the sidewalks and the passage of street equipment such as snow plows and
street sweepers.
In recent years, Skaret said residents had been requested to trim trees but if
they didn’t, the Street Department would come by and trim them. He said due to
the increasing and heavy workload of the Street Department, the Street
Committee recommends that residents again be responsible for trimming their
trees. He explained they are recommending two options. Skaret said once notice
has been given to the property owner that they need to trim their trees, they be
given a certain amount of time to get that done. He said if the property owner
doesn’t comply within the time limit, then the City would hire a contractor to trim
the trees and then charge the resident. Skaret said if the resident didn’t pay, then
the cost would be certified to the resident’s property taxes or if a resident did not
trim their trees, the City would trim the trees like they used to do and charge the
resident an hourly fee of $150. He said the Street Committee is recommending
those two options.
In doing a little bit more research into the ordinance on tree trimming, Skaret
reported the old ordinance, prior to about 2006, had the language very clear in it
and also stipulated that an eight foot minimum clearance was required above the
sidewalk and a 14 foot minimum clearance was required above a street. Skaret
said that’s what the City has always gone by. He pointed out when the newer
ordinance book was adopted in 2006; this may have been a provision that just
didn’t make it into the new book.
Skaret said he would recommend that an ordinance be drafted clarifying in
the new book of ordinances what the City’s expectations are as far as requiring
residents to trim trees.
Markman noted he found in the files at the Street Department an old notice
to Jackson residents citing Section 5.06, subsection 4 of the City Code regarding
trimming of trees. He said as Skaret pointed out, somehow it got omitted when
the Code Book got updated. Markman said the code is listed on the City’s website
under the Street Department regarding the responsibility citizens have to
maintain and trim their shrubs and trees. He said in the past, notices were sent to
property owners and some property owners preferred to trim their trees
Markman noted with the City’s new bucket truck, the outriggers have to be
deployed each time it’s used and it will be more time consuming if it’s used to
trim trees. Markman said it would generally take all five of the Street
Department’s personnel to trim trees. He said it would take it would take one
person in the bucket, one driving the bucket truck, two dump trucks and one
loader meaning a minimum charge for just equipment alone of $615 an hour for
those four pieces of equipment. Markman said the Street Department has a lot
going on right now and it’s tough to get at trimming trees. He noted it’s also
tough to coordinate with the Electric Department to use the budget truck as they
have had their electric project going on for the last four years and are getting
residents hooked up to the new underground system. Markman pointed out it’s
the Electric Department’s priority to work on the electric project and the bucket
truck is the Electric Department’s piece of equipment. He noted that there are a
couple of contractors in Jackson that do tree trimming for a living. Markman said
it would be great if the City could enter into an agreement with contractors to
trim trees.
Schoenrock said the proposal from the Street Committee lets the City recoup
some of the cost of trimming trees and, for now, is still a reasonable price for the
home owner if the City trims the trees. He said in his opinion it’s a good step in
that direction.
MADDEN/SCHOENROCK moved and it was unanimously carried to approve
the Street Committee’s recommendation that residents again be responsible for
trimming trees and be given two options:
1. Letters will be sent to those residents whose trees need to be trimmed.
Bids will be sought from tree service companies and the City will hire a
tree service to do the trimming if the resident doesn’t get the trimming
done themselves within a certain time and the resident will be billed; or
2. If the resident fails to get their trees trimmed, the City will trim the trees
for an hourly fee of $150.
Skaret pointed out the City is done trimming trees for this year. He said this
recommendation is more for next year.
Markman said the tree branches actually go up in the fall when the leaves
come off the trees. He said the only thing the Street Department will trim is if
they have any branches hitting their equipment so they don’t break a light,
window or mirror.
Cushman asked how big the list is of homeowners that need their trees
Markman said it varies from year to year and depends on the type of tree.
Skaret said an ordinance regarding tree trimming will be presented for first
reading at the next City Council meeting.


Skaret said the last time the City had a rate study done on the City’s electric
service was back in 2013. He noted in 2017, the City had a rate study done on the
water and sewer rates. Skaret this proposed study would be for the electric rates.
Skaret explained this is a really good opportunity to inventory the cost of
providing service, the City’s fund balances and any changes in electric load that’s
being forecasted. He said it’s a good opportunity to see where the City is at or
where it needs to be.
Skaret said it’s good to stay on top of that so if there are any rate adjustments
that need to be made they can be done incrementally rather than putting this off
a few more years and potentially having to make a larger rate increase in the
Skaret explained basically the study would be just to look at the City’s electric
service, electric fund balances, look at the rates and the cost of service. He said if
there are any rate changes needed, the study would point that out and any
changes would be adopted separately.
Skaret said the Utilities Commission reviewed the Electric Rate Study proposal
from Missouri River Energy Services and recommended the City Council approve
Skaret said the cost for the study is $9,000 which is a lot of money but in the
grand scheme of things for the electric, it’s a relatively small amount of money for
that fund. He explained generally rate studies are done approximately every five
years or so unless the market forces change dramatically or something
dramatically happens with the City’s electric load getting larger or smaller.
SCHOENROCK/TEMPLE moved and it was unanimously carried to approve a
proposal from Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) to do an electric rate study
of the City’s electric rates in 2019 for a fee of $9,000.


Skaret said the Personnel Committee wrapped up negotiations with the Union
on Thursday night, November 1st. He said on Friday morning, November 2nd, the
Union voted to accept the agreement that was reached between the Personnel
Committee and the Union.
Skaret said basically there were two major components in the agreement
which were health insurance and wages. Regarding health insurance, Skaret said
people may recall over the last couple of years, the City has seen some pretty
significant rate increases for premiums. Skaret explained the path the City was on
with their current Coop group was unsustainable without making some changes
to the plans.
Skaret said he searched far and wide for alternatives. He explained they
looked at higher deductible plans within the Coop. Skaret said he also contacted
local insurance agents that work with health insurance who provided the City
some different options as far as small group insurance plans. Skaret said they also
looked at PEIP, which is the Minnesota Public Employees Insurance Program
which is essentially the health insurance program that State employees are on.
He said when you’re looking at overall value and cost, the recommendation is for
the City to approve the PEIP proposal. Skaret explained there are several
different advantages with PEIP. He said PEIP offers three plan designs for
employees to choose from based on your current health care needs. Skaret
pointed out everyone has different health care needs. He said one of the
problems with the City’s current health care plan was that it took a one-size-fits-
all approach.
Skaret said the Personnel Committee also looked at health insurance that was
offered by the Union. He explained the Union has a very heavy benefit rich plan
and also takes a one-size-fits-all approach and is certainly not feasible for the City
to go on it at this time.
Skaret said PEIP offers quality plans. He explained one of the plans they have
is what’s called the Advantage Plan which would be most similar to what the City
offers employees now. Skaret said there is also a Value Plan which is a little bit
lesser value and a HSA Plan.
Skaret said there is also a lot of rate stability with PEIP which is key factor. He
said the City has seen rate increases of 38 percent and 25 percent the last two
years with the current plan. Skaret said with PEIP over the last 10 years, the
average rate increase has been 2.4 percent. He said if the City provides health
insurance through PEIP, it’s a lot less likely that the City will be faced every year at
this time with the annual tradition of worrying about what they are going to do
about health insurance. Skaret explained PEIP is a two year commitment and the
rate renewals are not necessarily based on claims history. He said the claims
history has been the driving force behind the sky high premium hikes with the
current plan.
Skaret explained with PEIP, the premiums are going down slightly for single
coverage and are going down significantly for family coverage depending on the
plan that’s chosen. He said overall, both the City and the employees are going to
be seeing savings with this.
Skaret said with the savings and different plans, the City is anticipating that
some of the five employees that currently do not take health insurance coverage
through the City may now do so. He said there may also be some switching
between single and family insurance coverage. But overall, Skaret said the
Personnel Committee feels this is a much better deal for the City and the
employees. He said included in the City Council’s packet, is information on the
breakdown of the employee’s share and City’s share depending on the plan that’s
chosen. Skaret pointed out the savings under the plans offered through PEIP
compared to what the costs would be under the City’s current plan.
Regarding wages for City employees, Skaret said the Personnel Committee is
recommending a 2 percent cost of living increase in 2019 and 1.5 percent increase
in 2020. He said the employees who are eligible for step increases would get
Schoenrock noted the agreement between the City and the Union that’s
already being reached in November compared to past years when an agreement
was reached as late as next spring. He pointed out the cost savings to the City by
being able to reach an agreement with the Union in November and not having to
hire a labor attorney over several months to reach an agreement. Schoenrock
also noted the savings in health care premiums by getting insurance through PEIP.
Finck pointed out Skaret did a lot of homework finding a health insurance plan
that provided savings for both the City and the employees which is a win-win.
Cushman said the PEIP insurance program also gives the City some control in
budgeting if it’s known that the average increase is 2.4 percent compared to not
knowing how big of a jump the health care premium costs will be from year to
year. He said the PEIP insurance program appears to be a win-win for everyone.
Cushman said for him that was the driving force to recommend PEIP because the
City now has some control.
Schoenrock noted everyone working together which results in better moral
among employees and better service to the public.
Mayor Walter said he would like to especially thank Skaret for all the work he
did going through insurance proposals for the Personnel Committee to consider
and decide which plan to choose.
Finck also thanked Skaret for his work in contacting all the insurance providers
in the community and others in the long process of reviewing insurance plans and
determining a plan that would be suitable.
Skaret said he would also like to thank the Personnel Committee members for
enduring the many meetings that they had and sifting through all the information
he gave them.
Mayor Walter thanked Skaret again and also thanked Personnel Committee
members Aldermen Cushman and Finck for all their work.
Schoenrock commended the Personnel Committee for their work.
Temple also noted the work of the Personnel Committee educating
themselves on all the insurance plans.
SCHOENROCK/MADDEN moved and it was unanimously carried to accept
the City Employee Health Insurance and Wage Proposal for 2019.


Mayor Walter reported on Friday, November 2nd, he along with Street
Superintendent Phil Markman, City Attorney Brad Anderson and City
Administrator Matt Skaret met with neighboring property owner Dave Lentz
regarding Lentz’s concerns about the City’s dump site. Mayor Walter noted
Lentz’s grandfather is the person who originally sold the City the land for the
dump site. He said the dump has grown and has gotten into Lentz’s property.
Mayor Walter said the City needs to make some changes and show that the City is
trying to get the dump back onto the City’s property.
Mayor Walter said the City will fix the gate and start locking the dump. He
said the dump will be open during daylight hours only. Mayor Walter said
cameras will also be installed to try and catch violators who are illegally dumping
items at the dump.
Mayor Walter said it’s a City dump and the City needs everybody’s help in
policing it. He said if the public catches someone illegally dumping items to let
the City know. Mayor Walter said there are penalties for those illegally dumping.
He said it’s a City dump and City wants to keep it open because it provides a good
Mayor Walter said there were several details that were worked out at the
November 2nd meeting. He said those included fixing the gate, installing cameras,
fixing the fence that’s gotten ruined and getting the dump property line moved
Skaret noted the City staff will fix the gate to the dump, recommend the City
Council set the hours of the dump to “daylight hours” only, look into dust control
options for the gravel road, set poles on the north end of the property denoting
the City’s property line, repair the fence on the south side of the property, add
another 30 mile-per-hour speed limit sign on the road going to the dump and ask
the Sheriff’s Department for more patrol of the road.
Markman said there are two residences along the road to the dump. He said
the Street Department will do some dust control in the area of the residences by
their driveways. Markman said he will look into some environmentally safe
products that can be used to control the dust.
Markman said he’s contacted a contractor to reduce the piles of compost at
the dump so the cameras can view the entire dump site to effectively see anyone
that may be illegally dumping. He said another goal is to eventually move all of
the concrete and asphalt out of the dump site and to a gated area at the public
works facility grounds to better control what’s taken in and out of the site and
when. Markman said the Sheriff has ordered a new camera. He said once that’s
implemented, he will have 24 hour surveillance of the dump because he will be
notified when the camera is tripped and can see what is occurring live. Markman
said the camera will also record what is going on so any illegal dumping can be
recorded and prosecuted.
SCHOENROCK/FINCK moved and it was unanimously carried to install a
second 30 mile-per-hour speed limit sign on the dump road and change the
hours the dump is open to daylight hours only.
Skaret reported he was notified on November 5th the library snow removal
contract the City had with Bryan Beckel had expired in May. He said Beckel
contacted him and wanted to know what the City planned to do for this winter
season. Skaret said it’s late to seek bids for this winter season.
Skaret said he asked Beckel if he would extend his snow removal contract at
the library for one more season at the current rates of what they were at and
Beckel agreed to do so. Skaret said he would recommend extending Beckel’s
contract for removing snow at the library for one more season.
FINCK/CUSHMAN moved and it was carried to approve accepting extending
the City’s contract with Bryan Beckel for snow removal at the library for one
more winter season.
Those voting in favor of the motion included Aldermen Matt Madden,
Brandon Finck, Ken Temple and Dave Cushman.
Alderman Donnie Schoenrock abstained citing Beckel is a friend of his.


Patrols at the School Crossing

Finck asked if the Sheriff’s Department could patrol at the school crossing
before and after school. He said it was brought to his attention that some
motorists are speeding in the school zones.
Skaret said he would contact the Sheriff’s Department regarding increasing
patrols before and after school.
Schoenrock noted when the underground electric project was completed;
there was discussion about installing the flashing LED stop signs at the
intersection of North Highway and Park Street.
Markman said when the Electric Department finishes cleaning out the current
electrical equipment in that area, the LED stop sign for the westbound lane could
be installed. He said the eastbound lane LED stop sign will require a new pole.
Markman said he will have to check with the Electric Department to see what
their timeline is for work in that area of town.
Request from Joe Whisney not to push snow onto his property

Mayor Walter said he was contacted by Joe Whisney who said he doesn’t
want the City to push snow anymore off the Ox Cart Road onto his property.
Markman said he would inform the snow plow operator of that.

With no further business, FINCK/SCHOENROCK moved and it was
unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting.

David A. Maschoff, Council Secretary