• Sat. May 21st, 2022

Chatfield Charter Commission recommendation for town administrator fails

ByChad J. Johnson

Apr 4, 2022

At the March 28 meeting of Chatfield City Council, councilors voted on the second review of two ordinances recommended by the Charter Commission. For the recommended changes to become part of the city charter, there must be a unanimous vote on the second consideration.

Order 458-Suppression of the position of Health Officer was unanimously approved, as well as its publication. Order 459-City Manager/Administrator failed to get a unanimous vote. The vote was 4-1 in favor. Councilwoman Pam Bluhm voted against the ordinance; therefore, he failed.

Curt Sorenson, chair of the Charter Commission, noted at the Feb. 28 city council meeting that both recommendations were unanimously recommended by the Charter Commission. Sorenson then insisted that the move from city clerk to city administrator was rational, because that’s how the city has operated for years. He added that if City Clerk Joel Young retired, the city would have a better opportunity to recruit a city administrator. This was the fourth time the Charter Commission has recommended this change to the city’s charter.

Audit 2021

Jason Boynton, Smith Schafer & Associates, Ltd., reviewed the city’s 2021 audit and financial statements. The city got a “clean” unamended notice in 2021. He said there were no issues to bring to the attention of the city council; the audit went well. Punctual payments were made on all debts.

The city’s fiscal capacity continued to increase in 2021. General Tax Levy revenue accounts for 40% of total government revenue in 2021. State Local Government Assistance (LGA) accounted for 15% of government revenue of the city and 32% of the total general funds. revenues in 2021. LGA saw only small year-over-year increases.

General government and public safety continue to be the largest government expenditures, excluding capital expenditures. The city’s reserves or unrestricted general fund balance as a percentage of next year’s general fund property tax levy and the LGA is 62.1%. Excluding the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, the fund balance percentage would have been 56%.

A new construction fund for the construction of Phase II of the Chatfield Center for the Arts was established in 2021. The total project is expected to cost $8.7 million; it is funded by state grants. In 2021, $1.1 million was spent on this improvement project.

Councilors unanimously accepted the 2021 audit and financial statements.

Other activities in brief

• Consideration 2 of Ordinance 460-Zoning Amendment was approved and released. The amendment allows the city code to provide “sports and health club businesses” and “large animal veterinary clinics” in the Light Industrial Zoning District (I-1).

• May 9, 2022 will be Citywide Cleanup Day.

• A resolution authorizing the submission of an outdoor recreation grant application was approved. The grant is to be used to pay approximately half the cost of purchasing and installing a pedestrian bridge over Mill Creek in Groen Park. The grant request is for $77,000; the town will have to provide $78,000 (of which $55,000 would come from money given to the town by the Whitford Family Trust).

• A resolution was passed to close the Pool Building Fund. The remaining cash will be deposited in the 2018A Debt Service Pool.

• The City of Chatfield is in compliance with the Minnesota Local Government Pay Equity Act, which was passed in 1984.

• A collection services agreement with Rozlin Financial Group, Inc. (RFGI) was approved. This collection agency will attempt to collect bills owed, primarily by people who live out of town.

• Payment #3 to LHB, Inc. was approved for the Chatfield Center for the Arts project.

• Mayor Russ Smith said he has received too many calls about the signs north of town along Highway 52. ​​The city has no control or jurisdiction over the signs, which some find offensive, about four miles north of the city.