Ostrander Council prepares for 2020

Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

The Ostrander City Council held its final meeting of 2019 Tuesday, Dec. 3, dealing with a long list of new business items, some of which prepared for 2020.

The entire council – Mayor Pam Kunert and councilors Stephanie Start, D.J. Start, Dan Hellerud and Vernon Thompson – and city clerk Wendy Brincks attended the meeting, finishing up in an hour’s time.  The coming new year required that the council pass motions to accept the new schedule of city fees, the schedule of council meetings on the first Tuesday of each month – with adjustments for National Night Out in August and the general election in November — passing a resolution for mail-in balloting, and setting the community center as the polling place for special elections. 

Also, the council and Brincks acknowledged there are two open positions on the Planning and Zoning Commission that need to be filled in January or February.  Brincks agreed to place a notice in the December utility bill relaying the need for new commission members. 

Charitable gambling organization changes were made as resident Pat Nesler informed the council of the shift from the Fountain Fire Department as the host of Ostrander’s pulltabs to the Spring Valley Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

In other business, Brincks related that a resident would like to have her water shutoff relocated from its present placement off her property to within her home’s boundaries, and the council granted permission for Brincks to have city attorney Jennifer Gumbel examine the details and determine who is responsible for moving it. 

The council reviewed fire department and first responder attendance records and pay, and Brincks addressed that first responder Amanda Miner had been suspended from her role as a responder.  The city is still waiting for her to return her radio, so the council asked to have Brincks send a certified letter to Miner to request that the equipment be brought back. 

A city department report given by maintenance employee Jeremy Runkle included that he had attended training to identify emerald ash borer, an invasive insect species, in trees, that he had done some decorating of the town for Christmas, but was awaiting the arrival of Ostrander’s new streetlight banners, and that a new representative from PeopleService, James Creaghe, will soon arrive in Ostrander to take the place of PeopleService wastewater plant operator Rick Whitney, who is no longer with the company. 

Hellerud responded to Runkle’s report by noting that Ostrander has had a termite problem that will require spraying around town in the spring, and that various residents have commented to him on Runkle’s performance as general maintenance operator, sending compliments Runkle’s way via Hellerud. 

Fire Chief Jason Rice, who assumed the role following the recent resignation of Dustin Johnson, who moved out of the Ostrander response area, had nothing to report for December. 

Also, Brincks clarified that the city did not hire Joe O’Connell for all of its 2019-2020 snow removal during the November meeting, though O’Connell did attend and was given some of the city’s business, and that interested parties may submit quotes for snow removal assistance to her at Ostrander’s city office. 

A special meeting was set for this past Monday evening to discuss the city’s snow policy and ordinances before the next big blizzard blindsides the region, as did the storm that brought everything to a standstill this past February. 

Note: The Tribune was unable to attend due to conflicting meeting schedules but obtained the unofficial minutes.