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February 16, 2021 Minutes

February 22, 2021

A meeting of the Stratton Village Board of Trustees was held on Tuesday February 16, 2021 at 7:00 pm CT at the Village Clerk’s Office. Notice of the meeting was posted and availability of the agenda was communicated in the advance notice. A poster of the “Open Meetings Act” was clearly visible on the wall, and Chairman J. McDonald directed the attention of those present to the poster. All proceedings hereafter shown occurred while the meeting was in session. Present: Chairman J. McDonald, Trustee T. Jones, Trustee J. Griffiths, Trustee M. McDonald, Trustee S. Hanes, Superintendent K. League, Clerk T. Hedrick, Michael Hoback with AMGL, David Blau with Miller & Associates, member of the public Jake McLain.


The meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm.


OPEN FORUM: Superintendent League informed the board of a resident who claimed the trash truck damaged part of the property owner’s fence. It was discussed that the damage will be reported to our insurance for an adjuster to determine the damage.

Member of the public Jake McLain addressed the board of trustees regarding his last utility bill. McLain stated that after speaking with the Clerk he found that the high usage on his last bill was due to no reading being obtained since last spring. He wanted to know why the meter had not been being read. McLain stated that if this was being done routinely to other customers as well it could be very detrimental to someone on a limited budget. Superintendent League stated that he was being charged a minimum usage because they were unable to get a reading due to faulty equipment. McLain asked why the meter wasn't then physically read as the numbers were right on the meter. Superintendent League replied that there was limited resources and manpower to always get a reading on those meters that didn’t work properly. McLain stated that in his opinion after several months of no reading the time should be found to repair or get a current reading. Chairman J. McDonald stated that we should be getting a reading or repairing the meters when unable to get a reading. All trustees were in agreement that there should be a current reading and that employees will ensure a reading is obtained and any repairs are completed.


Motion by T. Jones and second by M. McDonald to approve the previous minutes, treasurers’ report and claims. Roll call: Ayes: M. McDonald, S. Hanes, J. Griffiths, T. Jones, J. McDonald. Nays: None. Motion Carried.



Zack Anderson from Steele’s Construction was scheduled to be present however was unable to make it to the meeting. Clerk Hedrick informed the board that an additional contribution in the amount of $5000 was recently received from BNSF Railway Foundation to assist with cost associated with the construction of the new building. Clerk Hedrick also requested input on allowing the cleaning person to keep a key to the interior doors with the exception of the office door to provide access after hours. The board agreed that would be acceptable.  


The property for sale at 311 Bailey was reviewed. The realtor will be bringing a banner to hang at the building for more visibility.


The Village audit was reviewed by Michael Hoback with AMGL. Hoback informed the board that the audit went well and he found that more cash reserves are needed in the water, sewer, trash and general funds. He advised this could most easily be done by monitoring utility rates and increasing them to account for the rise in operating costs. Board members asked questions of the process and findings of the audit and Hoback reviewed and answered all questions.


Superintendent League reviewed information gathered regarding options for street superintendent. It was agreed that the current Street Superintendent was the best option for the Village at this time.


Superintendent League informed the board that there are three tractors that are no longer useful or suitable for municipal purposes and other equipment would be more beneficial for the needs of the Village. The equipment includes JD2040, JD401B and Ford Tractor. Trustee Hanes stated that the parts to repair the older tractors is hard to find when needed, making it difficult to keep the equipment in service. Motion made by J. Griffiths and second by M. McDonald to research value of the JD2040, JD401B and Ford tractors in order to dispose of the equipment. Roll call: Ayes: M. McDonald, S. Hanes, J. Griffiths, T. Jones, J. McDonald. Nays: None. Motion Carried.



Jaeden Guns & Ammo representative had requested to speak to the board trustees regarding community development however, they were unable to make it to the meeting.


David Blau with Miller & Associates reviewed the process of creating and the benefits of having GIS mapping for the Village. A prior grant was received from Public Water System Water Security Sub- Grant in the amount of $10,000 to be used towards this project.


Chairman J. McDonald signed the contract between owner and contractor, BSB, for the wastewater project.


Motion made by M. McDonald and second by J. Griffiths to approve public funds resolution to update for the new board trustees. Roll call: Ayes: M. McDonald, S. Hanes, J. Griffiths, T. Jones, J. McDonald. Nays: None. Motion Carried. Resolution was signed by all parties involved.


Motion made by M. McDonald and second by T. Jones to approve drawdown #17 for CDBG 18PW012. Roll call: Ayes: M. McDonald, S. Hanes, J. Griffiths, T. Jones, J. McDonald. Nays: None. Motion Carried.


The items remaining at 311 Bailey and 502 Bailey were discussed. There are two desks and several shelves at 311 Bailey that are no longer of use to the Village. The items remaining at 502 Bailey are unknown as an inventory will need to be taken. It was suggested that the board view the property to determine what items of the Village property remain and what use the items may be to the Village. It was decided to have a special meeting on March 1, 2021 at 7:00pm to view these items and make decisions on the items at that time.


Superintendent League stated that there has been issues with private residents using their own equipment to clear snow from the Village streets. There is concern that they do not know the location of water valves and access and may cause damage to the water system and/or damage the streets in other ways. It was suggested that the residents who wish to remove snow from Village streets apply for a permit with the Village Clerk and be approved by the board prior to being allowed to move snow on the Village streets. This would allow the board to insure that the individual had proper insurance, license and proper equipment to complete the task. Clerk Hedrick will begin researching to create a permit and resolution to authorize this process.


Superintendent League discussed the need for a dump trailer. He reviewed several responsibilities that would benefit from having the equipment. He also stated that we are currently renting a dump trailer from the Village of Trenton when needed. This cost us $50.00 per hour plus the hourly wage of the Village of Trenton employee. Different options and size of trailer were discussed. Motion made by J. Griffiths and second by S. Hanes to have Superintendent League obtain quotes on a dump trailer. Roll call: Ayes: M. McDonald, S. Hanes, J. Griffiths, T. Jones, J. McDonald. Nays: None. Motion Carried.


M. McDonald discussed the need for separate collection of construction waste disposal. He was concerned about the damage it may cause to our trash truck or dumpsters. He stated that the purchase of a dump trailer and public rental for construction waste would elevate this problem. Discussion of public rental and use of a dump trailer will take place once a dump trailer has been purchased.


M. McDonald addressed the board regarding the sewer rate at 305 Bailey Street. It was reviewed that the commercial rate, which is being charged at this address, bills the sewer based on the actual water usage. M. McDonald stated that the water usage at this address is being used for irrigation purpose and therefor is not utilizing the sewage system. Board members agreed that water was being used for irrigation of plants however there was no way to measure how much of the water usage was returning to the sewer system. The board agreed to leave the rate as it currently is stated.


M. McDonald asked questions of the current occupation taxes in the rates resolution. M. McDonald wanted to know why there are several items with $0.00 sales tax being charged. T. Jones explained that was the rate that was set up and most of those items are not utilized in town so there was never a need to charge anything more. T. Jones reminded M. McDonald that if the need ever arises the board could vote to pass a new resolution to change any of those rates at any time.


J. Griffiths presented the board with a new evaluation form for employees to use. J. Griffiths suggested that a self-evaluation form with documentation of expectations and training would help with encouraging employees to advance their selves and track their progress and performance. T. Jones stated that the form would need to be changed to be more specific towards departments within the Village. More research will be done on the evaluations and presented at a later time.


Streets, Alleys, & Landfill Committee Report: Nothing new to report.


Electricity Committee Report: M. McDonald stated that he has spoken to the Clerk from the Village of Trenton regarding electric rates. He would like to see a comparison of the rates paid to MEAN.


Water & Sewer Committee Report: Nothing new to report.


Finance Committee Report: Clerk Hedrick reviewed the current Resolution regarding wages. She stated that this may need to be updated prior to the end of the current year as some employees are at the top of the pay range and with any compensation received may not be in compliance with the resolution. Clerk Hedrick will have a new resolution at the next regular meeting for the Board to review.


Health & Welfare Committee Report: J. Griffiths shared information regarding availability of COVID vaccinations. J. Griffiths suggested a program to do welfare checks on elderly and shut-ins in the community. Superintendent League stated that this may be outside the responsibility and resources of the Village. J. Griffiths also inquired about information for a food pantry in town and who to contact. T. Jones suggested to contact the Clerk from the Village of Culbertson as she has been involved in the past.


Park & Recreation Committee Report: Clerk Hedrick stated there has been interest in the employment positions available this summer at the swimming pool and park and recreation. The advertisement has only ran on social media and the community newsletter. It is set to run in the Hitchcock County Newspaper in March and April. The board will review applications after the advertisement has been ran. J. Griffiths mentioned that she would like to see concessions sold at the swimming pool this summer. The board saw no issues with this happening. Clerk Hedrick and J. Griffiths will work on the details of this taking place.


Motion made by M. McDonald and second by J. Griffiths to adjourn the meeting at 9:56pm. Roll call: Ayes: M. McDonald, S. Hanes, J. Griffiths, T. Jones, J. McDonald. Nays: None. Motion Carried.


The next special meeting of the Village Board of Trustees will be held on Monday March 1, 2021 at 7:00 pm at the Village Office.

The next regular meeting of the Village Board of Trustees will be held on Monday March 15, 2021 at 7:00 pm at the Village Office.

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