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CITY OF THOMPSON REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING

CITY OF THOMPSON REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING THOMPSON COMMUNITY CENTER December 5, 2022 The regular meeting of the City Council, City of Thompson, County of Grand Forks, ND was held December 5, 2022, at 7:00 PM. Mayor Hughes, Council Members Bergeron, Fretheim, Wojciechowski, City Administrator, City Auditor, Public Works Director (PWD), Plant Services, Chief of Police (COP), and City Engineer Melissa Knutson (Knutson) were present. Council member Monson was absent. Mayor Hughes called the meeting to order. He confirmed the next regular meeting will be held Tuesday, January 3, 2023, at 7:00 PM. “Any Individual requiring special accommodations (i.e., alternative formatting of literature, an interpreter, or help in accessing the facility) should advise the city by contacting the City Auditor at PO Box 266, Thompson ND 58278, or by phone at 701-599-2973. Requests should be made seven (7) days prior to the meeting.” Council member Wojciechowski motioned to approve the City Council meeting minutes of November 7, 2022. Council member Fretheim seconded the motion. All said aye. The motion carried. Council member Bergeron motioned to approve the financial reports. Council member Wojciechowski seconded the motion. All said aye. The motion carried. Council member Fretheim motioned to approve the payment of bills totaling $41,958.80. Council member Wojciechowski seconded the motion. All said aye. The motion carried. The Police Monthly Report was presented. The Police vehicle has been returned from the shop. All issues were a simple fix. Chief Kurtz is researching a change in the NDCC regarding speeding fines. City Council approves the continuation of the research and contacting the city attorney to get the appropriate parameters in place. Chief Kurtz will report his findings at the January meeting. Council member Bergeron inquired about the progress on the shoplifting ordinance. Chief Kurtz indicated that there is a form the business owner may complete that will allow the city to handle the fines. If the documentation is not completed by the business owner, the city has no recourse. Chief Kurtz reported that the traffic data collection box will be installed on Eighth Street by the Grand Forks County Sherriff’s Department. The date is to be determined. Mayor Hughes confirmed with Chief Kurtz that the dog licensing process is being solidified, it will be communicated on the various communication platforms, and will be strictly enforced. The Public Works Monthly Report was presented. PW Director Aasen reviewed the material submitted for a snowplow attachment for the skid steer. Mayor Hughes indicated that after a large snow event, the grader has to defrost before going back out. Council member Bergeron suggested the purchase could be looked at two ways. Either staff spends more time clearing or purchase the equipment to finish faster. In the end, it would be a wash. Council member Wojciechowski concurred that the city needs to provide the tools to complete the job. Public Works said that in researching the options and specifications, as well as visiting with local individuals that own similar models, his preference would be the Virnig brand from Butler Machinery. It has a better warranty, is built heavier, and will hold up better over time. Council member Wojciechowski motioned to purchase the Virnig from Butler for $6,970.00. Council member Bergeron seconded the motion. All said aye. The motion carried. Mayor Hughes indicated that he appreciated having the open building permit report in the meeting packet. PWD Aasen will include it going forward. It has been determined that the evergreen trees at 700 Broadway Street, previously reported as causing traffic issues, are both inside and outside of the city right-of-way. The tree trunks are on private property, the branches are on public. There was discussion of having the city split the cost of the tree removal. Council member Bergeron disagreed. He does not want to set that type of precedent. Everyone needs to be treated fairly. If trees have been deemed a hazard, the city will inform the resident that they need to be trimmed. The resident will then have the option to either remove the offending trees or continue to trim them on a regular basis. The city will send a letter to the current property owner instructing them to trim the trees, so they are out of the right-of-way. If the issue is not resolved in a timely manner, the city will have the trees trimmed and bill the property owner accordingly. City Engineer Knutson provided the council with a questionnaire to help guide the Partners In Planning discussion. Council input will be gathered at a later date. In the meantime, a Public Input session has been scheduled for Monday, December 19th, 5-7 PM, at the Thompson Community Center. Knutson looked to the City Council for direction on the lagoon expansion. Previous Council direction was that construction be scheduled for 2025. However, with approval, she will move forward with design in the event grants or market changes occur requiring a faster timeline. A detailed schedule indicating both the earliest and latest construction will be provided at a future meeting. There have been numerous inquiries as to why Pacific Ave is not paved. The initial feeling is to wait as the city still has paving assessments and the lagoon project in the near future. Mayor Hughes feels that the only way that type of project will work is if the elevator is on board or if the assessment district encompasses the entire town. Council member Wojciechowski favors opening up the conversation with the elevator. There has been a management change and new management may have differing opinions. A chain of communication needs to be established. All city representatives need to have a solid response to those questions. A preliminary sketch of the two-phased bike path, composed from council’s most recent discussions was presented. Engineer Knutson asked that council review and provide feedback. Engineer Knutson explained proper maintenance of city streets is necessary and cost effective. She went on to explain the difference between a fog coat and a chip seal. In order to best preserve Thompson’s streets, her recommendation is to do a fog coat in 2023, as was previously planned and budgeted, followed by a chip seal in the future. Her recommendation is to do a cursory identification of street dimensions, but not do a full survey to determine how quantities are calculated for the bid package. The City Council concurred and directed Engineer Knutson to create the package for bidding in early Spring. Council member Fretheim asked about follow-up with regard to the school project exception for use of the road. Public Works Director Aasen stated he is waiting for the school to confirm construction is complete. Engineer Knutson will inspect the street for any damage after the last frost comes out in the spring of 2023. The Polar Communications building has been built. However, because of external issues, they have delayed some of their groundwork. Otherwise, the project has moved along smoothly. Mayor Hughes inquired about the City Council’s role on the timeline for construction of the lagoon expansion. Engineer Knutson responded that more detail on funding options is forthcoming. The next step for City Council will be to determine preferred funding options. Whether that be increased utility fees, special assessment, or other sources. That decision will be made mid-2023. Mayor Hughes reported that the settlement offered for the sewer issue at 524 MORRISON AVENUE was not close to reasonable. The Mayor directed the City Attorney to contact the resident’s attorney to ensure everyone is on the same page, come back with a reasonable offer. At that point the City Council will determine whether an agreement can be reached or if the city will move forward with litigation. Council member Bergeron expressed concerns that the City Attorney fees are increasing. Mayor Hughes commented that at this time, we are awaiting a response from the other attorney. Therefore, city fees should be minimal. Council member Bergeron also indicated how well written the ordinance is; stating the Owner shall be solely responsible and should hold the city harmless. Mayor Hughes will update the City Council should any information be received. Mayor Hughes conducted performance reviews for all staff. He clarified processes, procedures, and places he would like to see improvements. Currently, there are no glaring issues. His recommendation for 2023 is a 3% raise across the board, with the option of an additional 2% performance bonus at the end of the year. Unless there is something extremely exceptional, he doesn’t anticipate allotting the 2%. Council member Fretheim motion to approve the Mayor’s recommendation. Council member Bergeron seconded the motion. All said aye. The motion carried. Council member Wojciechowski asked if staff would receive a detailed account of how the 2% might be obtained. Mayor Hughes replied that he doesn’t have a specific scale at this time. He has established a few individual goals for each staff member, and he will continue to monitor throughout the year. Council member Bergeron asked if this topic needs to be discussed at a City Council meeting provided the Mayor stays within budget guidelines. It was determined that every City Council has a different view. The item will be evaluated for inclusion on the agenda each year. For 2022, Mayor Hughes explained there were a lot of unique situations the staff managed. From major construction projects, sewer issues, leadership turnover, etc. For those reasons, he proposed a $250 performance bonus for each staff member. Council member Wojciechowski motioned to approve the proposal. Council member Bergeron seconded the motion. All said aye. The motion carried. Council member Fretheim motioned to adjourn. Council member Wojciechowski seconded the motion. All said aye. The motion carried. Barb Robinson, Auditor Jeremy Hughes, Mayor (Jan 18, 2023) 159511