The Scandia City Council is still trying to figure out what to do about the high speeds and traffic noise along Olinda Trail east of the city’s downtown area.

But there don’t appear to be any easy solutions.

At last week’s council meeting, City Administrator Ken Cammilleri suggested the city could contract with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to hire an officer for a special detail in the area on summer weekends.

Cammilleri said the on-duty deputy is not likely to catch the miscreants in the act if the deputy is somewhere else in the city when called to a speeding or noise complaint.

“Unless the deputy is sitting there, it is unlikely to result in a citation,” he said. 

At Councilman Jerry Cusick’s suggestion, the council spent time discussing whether the city could bill the owners of Meister’s Bar & Grill for that additional enforcement. Cusick argued that the business is ultimately at fault.

“Why should all the rest of the taxpayers have to pay for that one guy’s problem?” Cusick asked.

City Attorney Chris Nelson, though, pushed back on Cusick’s idea.

Nelson noted that the business is obligated to serve alcohol responsibly and to control what happens on its premises, but ultimately has little control over what people do once they leave the business via the public roadways.

Cusick also suggested that Meister’s could voluntarily pay for the extra enforcement through a private contract.

“His price is gonna be less than what we would pay,” Cusick said.

Councilman Steve Kronmiller also suggested that the city could work with Washington County to modify the road in some way to calm the speeds and the noise.

“Right now, it looks like a raceway,” Kronmiller said. “If it looked like a city street, as opposed to a county highway [the issues might be resolved]. … I’m just saying, let’s have that conversation.”

The council previously addressed the topic in June and agreed to have city staff begin reviewing the city’s nuisance ordinances. 

Meister’s owner Scot Taylor said then that he had spent time training his staff to advise customers to behave themselves. But he reiterated that the issues are often outside his control once people leave the business.

 

Maximum levy set

The council set its maximum tax levy for 2022 at $2,579,051, a 2.7% increase over 2021.

That amount may not be exceeded, but may be reduced, prior to the city adopting its final budget in December.

Last year, the city adopted a final levy of $2,510,824, a 3.3% increase over 2020. The city utilized federal CARES Act funding granted in response to the pandemic to help reduce the final tax amount.

The council set its annual Truth In Taxation budget hearing for Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

 

Other business:

•The council accepted the resignation of Firefighter Justin Levy and approved the hiring of Community Center Attendant Koen Stignani. Hiring processes for the city’s seasonal ice rink attendants, public works employees and skating program instructors were also approved.

•The council approved an annual wage increases for Office Assistant/Rec Program Coordinator Brenda “Bee” Stignani ($17.23 per hour) and City Clerk Brenda Eklund ($28.52 per hour). 

•The council proclaimed Oct. 4 as Scandia Cinnamon Bun Day. The day will feature volunteers from the city, the Scandia Marine Lions Club and Gammelgarden Museum giving away free cinnamon buns that morning at the intersection of Olinda Trail and Oakhill Road. 

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

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