Chatfield City Council deals with various maintenance needs

GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS Chatfield's city crew is changing how it approaches clearing snow from Main Street so that workers can be busy elsewhere, saving money for the city.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Chatfield’s City Council heard an update on the city’s maintenance department during the Feb. 10 regular council meeting.

Chatfield city maintenance supervisor Brian Burkholder requested permission to proceed with the purchase of a new wide-angle mower to replace the city’s existing wide-angle mower, as the existing mower, which he said has worked very well, is in the fourth year of a five-year equipment rotation.  He cited that the mower has spared the city crew time spent mowing city land because of its wider deck, making the investment a very useful one. 

He listed that the model that he wished to purchase has a sticker of $30,881 and a trade-in offer of $24,026 from SEMA Equipment, and that it is his hope when posting the city’s mower on the public surplus website to sell it for a minimum of $25,000. 

“If we don’t get that, we’ll trade it in for $24,000.  The reason we got it was to get the guys off the mowers and doing other things,” he said.  “That $30,000 is a little over $7,000 a year for the mower.” 

Motions were made and passed to approve the purchase. 

Burkholder also outlined that the city crew has been taking care of clearing snow from downtown Main Street following this past summer’s Highway 52 project. 

“Since 52 got done and we’ve gotten a new pusher, we’ve been doing our best to push the snow off the street.  It saves over 21 hours of overtime and $1,000 on trucks.  We’re trying to do it on our own, and it seems to save some money,” Burkholder said.

Committee reports

Councilor Paul Novotny spoke on the Personnel and Budget Committee’s discussions, telling the rest of the council that topics included finishing conversation about street vendors and Western Days – a subject brought up after the 2019 Western Days celebration that involved who had and hadn’t paid for inclusion in Western Days’ promotion.

Other news encompassed the city’s contract with historic preservation company Pathfinder and its owner, Robert Vogel, who has served as the city’s historic preservation advisor.  He related that an agreement had been reached with Vogel after the City Council requested a review of services and expenses.  The council voted in favor of renewing the contract with Pathfinder. 

Personnel updates were to grant an extension to ambulance director Rocky Burnett in meeting training requirements, as Burnett had made an earnest effort to fulfill his training requirements but had had scheduling conflicts when the necessary sessions were available. 

The council chose to approve the extension.    

In Planning and Zoning, Novotny informed the rest of the council that he and city clerk Joel Young have been working toward identifying the city’s Planning and Zoning administration needs following the departure of longtime zoning administrator Kristi Trisko. 

At the close of his reports, Mayor Russ Smith took his turn, calling for acceptance of two appointments – one, Colleen Hafner, to the Planning and Zoning Commission, and two, Todd Johnson to the Library Board. 

He finished by reminding residents once again to remove their cars from the streets when snow is in the forecast. 

“Sunday (Feb. 9) was another one of those times that you get cars off the street if there’s big snow.  This is not a new process.  On Sunday, I think our officers wrote a few tickets around town,” Smith said.

The consent agenda included: approving the minutes of prior meetings; paying claims; approving the list of election judges for the March 3 presidential nominations primary, the primary election on Aug. 11 and the general election on Nov. 3; granting a one-step pay increase to ambulance director Rocky Burnett on the anniversary of his employment; and giving a temporary on-sale liquor license to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6913 for an event at Bernard Bus Co. on March 14.