Blue Earth City staff came to the table to answer questions from residents and council members at a meeting on Monday, June 6th.
The first request of the evening was made by City Engineer Wes Brown.
Several Main Street business owners have expressed concerns about the lack of parking along the block between Seventh and Eighth Streets.
Michele Hard, owner of Michele’s Quilting and Sewing Center, urged the council to consider adapting parking lots on the west side of the block to accommodate angled parking lots.
“Even if we only skew one side, that would give our customers a little more freedom.” Hard said.
Brown responded that Main Street, which is a county street, must follow state regulations. Currently, restrictions consider the street too narrow to accommodate angled parking.
“At this point, I don’t think it can be done without some sort of variance process by the state, which I don’t think the county would support.” said Brown.
Marie Northwick, owner of Headlines Plus, asked if the city council had other solutions for parking along the popular block.
“We hate scaring customers away and many won’t park because it’s parallel parking.” said Northwick. “It’s just bad and has never been addressed.”
Mayor Rick Scholtes responded that the city will continue to review the issue going forward.
Another request was made by prosecutor David Frundt.
Due to recent confusion regarding the relationship between the library council and the city, Frundt clarified that under the Blue Earth City Charter, the library council is referred to as the statutory director.
If the library council were named as an advisory board, it would give the city more powers than it currently has as a statutory board.
Frundt advised the council on the possibility of changing the status of the library council.
“Staff have had the opportunity to look at other cities that have charted library plaques, Austin in particular.”said Frundt.
He stated that if the council were interested in changing the charter, and thereby the Library Board‘s status as a statutory body, he and City Administrator Mary Kennedy could study Austin’s charter as a basis for preparing a proposal that would be submitted to the charter commission could be submitted by Blue Earth .
The council did not object to Frundt’s proposal.
“I think it might be worth considering”Scholtes replied.
Then Brown was ready to hit again, this time to brief the council on the structural integrity of the Veterans Baseball Field shelters.
Brown reported that a structural engineer examined the shelters and saw no immediate danger of their collapsing.
“There are cracks in the joints, but the blocks haven’t really shifted,”explained Brown.
He added that aesthetic fixes could be implemented to improve the appearance of the shelters for now.
On other matters, the Blue Earth City Council:
• Conducted a first reading of a regulation amending the City Chicken Regulations.
The proposed change would allow the council to issue a residence permit for poultry if a resident’s neighbors refuse consent.
The Council has scheduled a public hearing on the amended regulation at its next meeting, which will be held on June 21st.
• Approved a proposal for Faribault County Humane Society’s (FCHS) confiscation services, with the proviso that a new agreement be drafted once FCHS has moved into its new building and any changes to its budget and fees are finalized.
• Approval of an agreement between Blue Earth resident Jim Pollard and the City of Blue Earth for the display of fossils and artifacts at the Blue Earth Community Library and Fossil Discovery Center.
• Consulted Dave Olson, manager of Blue Earth Wine & Spirits, about proposed improvements to the store’s tills.
Olson brought two design options to the Council for consideration. One option offers two separate checkout counters, while the other option offers two checkout stations arranged along a continuous counter.
The council asked Olson to put both options up for tender and bring the estimates back for council consideration.
• Adopted resolution to issue and sell $5,015,000 of general obligation bonds to Northland Securities at a rate of 3.13 percent.
Proceeds from the bonds will be used to fund various road improvement projects and utility projects.
• Approved an agreement to pay the Blue Earth Area Baseball Association $1,500 for summer maintenance of baseball fields.
• Heard an update from Kennedy on the Blue Earth Fire Department’s search for a new fire truck.
She shared that the search has been difficult, but the department is interested in a 2023 Pierce Contender Maxi Metal 3,600-gallon MacQueen Emergency tanker.
The department is waiting for a more accurate price estimate, but the current estimate is $425,000.