Alexandria bumps up benefit pay for firefighters
It's an increase of 1.5% from this year, which is the same percentage city staff received.
At its Dec. 14 meeting, the Alexandria City Council voted to increase the maximum annual benefit that firefighters receive through the city’s Firefighters Relief Association to $8,403 per year of service in 2021, an increase of 1.5% from this year, which is the same percentage city staff received.
Under state law, the maximum annual benefit is $9,400.
The city pays for the benefits through investments in the Firefighter Relief Association Fund. The fund made enough money this year to cover the increase so no municipal contribution was needed. The city’s 2021 budget includes a levy of $5,000 for the fund and it has a current balance of $93,438.
The goal of having a fund balance and levy is to ensure there are sufficient funds available if there’s a year when the city’s contribution has to be increased.
Following are other items from the meeting not covered in other council stories.
Noise ordinance clarified
The council gave preliminary approval to change the city’s noise ordinance code.
The code has some confusing wording that posed issues when dealing with citations issued through the section, according to City Administrator Marty Schultz.
The amended code deals with radios, phonographs, musical instruments and other sound producing instruments. The code now states such devices should not disturb “the peace, quiet and comfort of the neighboring inhabitants or at any time with louder volume than is necessary for convenient hearing for the person or persons who are in the room, vehicle or chamber in which such machine or device is located. Any such sounds occurring between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. in such a manner so as to be plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet from the building, structure or vehicle in which it is located shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.”
Used plow truck quotes
The council voted to get quotes to purchase a used dump truck to haul snow and for other seasonal jobs.
It will replace a 1996 truck with 156,000 miles that has a bad transmission and brakes, according to Dane Bosl, public works director.
The used truck is expected to cost between $40,000 and $50,000.
Rental inspection contract
The Alexandria Housing and Redevelopment Authority will once again inspect rental properties to make sure they abide by city code.
The council requested quotes from inspection providers and the HRA was the only one to submit a quote. The rental inspection contract is capped at $26,000, which is the budgeted amount for 2021.
Under the city’s rental registration ordinance, at least 50% of the rental units with fewer than 12 units are inspected on an annual basis and at least 25% of the units with more than 12 units are inspected.
The city has fallen behind those percentages because of the pandemic but hopes to make up some ground in the next couple of years.
Polling places designated
The council designated polling places for each precinct within the city.
The action is required by state law by the end of the year even if there is no election scheduled for next year.
The polling places are: Ward 1, precinct 1 and Ward 1, precinct 2 – Lake Community Church; Ward 2 – Reach Church; Ward 3 – New Life Christian Church; Ward 4 – Cornerstone Church; Ward 5, precinct 1 and Ward 5, precinct 2 – Alexandria City Hall.
The council closed a portion of its meeting to discuss ongoing negotiations with the Alexandria Police Department’s unions for patrol officers and sergeants.
The action is allowed under Minnesota’s open meeting laws. The closed session was recorded.
The existing labor agreements expire on Dec. 31, 2020.
Copper Trail Brewing Company received an off-sale and Sunday malt liquor license, along with a brewer taproom license.
Other licenses issued:
Mobile food truck/vendor to Angelina’s Restaurant, Flavor Shack, Raaper’s, Smokin’ Brews and ‘Ques, and Terri’s Food Wagon.
Off sale liquor to Cash Wise Liquor.
Off-sale beer to Brothers Market, Casey’s General Store, Fairfield Inn and Suites, Hampton Inn and Suites, Holiday Stationstores (three locations), Cub Foods, Speedway, Pilot Travel Center, Simonson Station and Walmart.
On-sale beer to La Ferme, Grand Arbor and Pioneer Grill.
Set-up to Grand Arbor and Pioneer Grill.
Indoor sales of fireworks to Cub Foods, Menard’s, Fleet Farm and Target.
Outdoor sales of fireworks to Walmart (parking lot).
Garbage hauler to Alex Rubbish and Recycling, Osakis Silo Repair, Tom Kraemer Inc., Waste Management and West Central Sanitation.
On street loading zone to Juettner Motors and Village Cooperative.
Pawnbrokers to Alex Pawn Shop.
Tobacco to Brothers Market, Casey’s General Store (three locations), Cash Wise Liquor, Farmers Union Oil (Cenex), Fleet Farm and Fleet Farm Fuel, Holiday Stationstores (four locations), Cub Foods, King Tobacco (two locations), Speedway, Pilot Travel Center, Simonson Station, Walgreens, Walmart and Zorbaz.
Electronic tobacco delivery device to Alexandria Vapors and E-Bacco.
Wine to La Ferme, Grand Arbor and Pioneer Grill.
Code amended for contractors, installers
While reviewing city code regarding mechanical contractors and installers, city staff noticed that their fees didn’t match up with the city’s current fee schedule.
The schedule was amended several years ago so the initial fee and the renewal fee were the same, $100.
The council approved a preliminary ordinance that amends the renewal fee for contractors and installers from $50 to $100.
As it has done for the last several years, the council voted to not waive the monetary limits on municipal tort liability coverage for the city's insurance package with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust.
This limits individual insurance claims against the city to $500,000 for each individual claimant and to $1.5 million for all claimants for a single occurrence.
If the city had decided to waive the limits, it would have had to pay a higher premium.