Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures.

In the wake of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the Scandia City Council utilized a web-based application called GoToMeeting to conduct city business while still following recommended social distancing practices.

“It’s a little bumpy, but we appreciate those of you who are with us,” Mayor Christine Maefsky said during the March 17 meeting.

Only council member Jerry Cusick and City Administrator Ken Cammilleri were present at city hall; all other council members, members of the press and public attended remotely. The meeting was also broadcast and recorded via Boxcast.tv, as with past practice.

The council agenda was truncated considerably as the council adjusted to the new technology.

The city will continue using the technology into the foreseeable future and may also consider cancelling its April 1 meeting.

Cammilleri noted that the city staff is following Centers for Disease Control recommendations closely. Those measures include cancelling all public gatherings at the Scandia Community Center, limiting open-to-the-public office hours in some cases, and shifting some meetings and communications to online where possible. Scandia Fire & Rescue has also adopted CDC response procedures and best practices.

Other business:

• The council approved a pair of ordinances that would add cideries to the city’s list of conditional uses and allow wineries or cideries within the Agriculture Core District zoning regulations. Greg and Andrea Sandager have plans to open Deep Roots Winery at 20168 St. Croix Trail N. The council also approved a highway signage variance for the winery.

• The council accepted a $505,848 bid for the 2020 road repair project from Valley Paving, Inc. The work to be done includes Mayberry Trail and Lofton Avenue east of Manning Trail, and the short segment of 209th Street in front of the Scandia Community Center.   

• The council agreed to begin advertising for a part-time seasonal public works employee.

• Council member Chris Ness gently criticized the city over the cost overruns associated with the council’s recent decision to purchase 25 hanging flower baskets and deploy them on the street lights to beautify the city. Ness noted that the city is absorbing labor costs for watering the flowers, and had to purchase a separate watering tank.

“I don’t like surprises,” Ness said.

The next Scandia City Council meeting will be held April 1 at 6:30 p.m.

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