Police calls to Bliss addressed
Scandia’s search for a new city administrator has sort of hit a soft reset.
After offering the position to three candidates during the past few months and having all three eventually decline the job, the Scandia City Council last week vetted another group of five candidates for interviews.
The council will conduct in-person interviews on Sept. 10 with:
• Cynthia Boyce, a private business consultant and former division manager for the Washington County Property Records & Taxpayer Services.
• Tina Folch, currently a contracts administrator for the City of Red Wing.
• Joseph Bjelland, currently an accounting manager for the Minnesota Department of Corrections.
• Kevin Kelly, currently an administrative services coordinator for the City of Mound.
• Kenneth Cammilleri, a former city administrator/clerk for Pine City, Minn.
In June, the city council had offered interviews to seven candidates out of an initial 40 applicants. Only four chose to accept the interviews, though, and three were each offered the role and subsequently declined.
The city hired DDA Human Resources last March to handle the search for an all-inclusive fee of $18,000. City Administrator Neil Soltis retired in May.
“We felt they all were potentially good candidates,” said Mayor Christine Maefsky in an interview last week. “But for different reasons, it didn’t work out.”
Maefsky said she is optimistic about the group of new candidates. The city hopes to have a new administrator in place sometime in October.
With the city now down two office staffers, the council discussed possible bonus pay for Deputy Clerk/Interim Administrator Brenda Eklund, who Maefsky noted is working longer hours to keep the city government functioning.
Police calls to Bliss
Scandia Deputy David Peters and Washington County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant James Gribble addressed the high number of police calls to the 18000 block of Layton Avenue, which is in the Bliss neighborhood west of Big Marine Lake.
Both officers said the department takes all calls seriously and responds to each one. However, when calls become excessive and/or are related to neighbors who simply can’t get along with each other, other calls will take priority.
“[These calls] are as close to the bottom priority as can be,” Gribble said.
The council tasked City Attorney Eric Sherburne with researching a possible ordinance that would allow the city to bill residents for excessive or unreasonable calls.
‘Doghouse’ ordinance reviewed
After hearing a report from Planning Commission Chair Dan Squyres, the council tabled a proposed ordinance that would have relaxed the number and size of accessory structures allowed on lots within the city.
The council sent the ordinance back to the planning commission for further review.
Squyres said the commission felt the current city ordinance seemed overly restrictive and would have even applied to tiny buildings, such as dog houses or chicken coops.
The council, though, worried that the new ordinance would be too permissive, allowing, for example, up to six separate 100 square foot buildings on the smallest lots.
“Some of these (lakeshore) lots are even a third of an acre,” said council member Chris Ness. “That’s a lot of clutter on a small lot.”
“If you build it, they will fill it,” she said. “I just feel like it’s asking for trouble.”
• The council accepted a $8,067 bid for ditch maintenance services on 220th Street, Pomroy Avenue and Oldfield Road.
• The council approved bids totaling $17,685 for a project to replace the bleachers at the Wayne Erickson Lighted Ballfield. The council also approved the purchase of a new keypad entry system ($781) and an extension of the city’s wifi internet service ($1,125) to the city’s skating rink warming house.
• The council approved the purchase of a new Dodge Ram 3500 with a plow and attachment mount for $40,110. The truck will replace the city’s Ford F-350 plow truck.
• The council renewed a contract with the Lakes Center for Youth and Families. The organization provides educational outreach and prevention programs for at-risk youth and families in the city.
• The council approved an allocation of $10,000 to the city’s Economic Development Authority to conduct a needs assessment study on the Scandia Community Center.
The next Scandia City Council meeting will be held Sept. 4 at 6:30 p.m.