Public comment began with Kelly Hilding updating the council on Fredonia’s status in the Reader’s Digest competition. Fredonia is competing for up to $40,000 for their park by “Cheering” on readersdigest.com. Anyone interested in helping Fredonia should register on readersdigest.com and “Cheers” each day. Fredonia started the competition ranked #4,000 in the nation. Hilding informed the council that Fredonia was currently ranked #19. The council hopes everyone stays motivated to “Cheer” through the end of the competition, February 7.

Town Manager Dan Watson informed the council that he had spoken with Tom Corrigan regarding the agreement for the Fredonia Humane Society Building. Watson stated Corrigan did not agree with the document, but had not yet sent his proposal for amendments.

Watson had spoken with the attorneys regarding the back billing for utilities at the medical center. According to the attorneys, the town can only go back so far. The town will only be able to bill for $30,000 of the accrued debt. The attorney will draft a demand letter to be signed at the next council meeting.

Watson informed the council he had spoken with Steve Winward regarding the irrigation dam on the creek. Irrigation District members attempted to open the dam, but were unsuccessful. The recent influx of water would have normally taken its regular path along the creek, had the dam been opened, however, with the dam remaining closed, the water chose its own path to the east. 

The water flowed hard along this new path, causing erosion, pulling trees out of the ground and pulling down fences. If left unresolved, every time the community experiences heavy rains, major flooding and erosion will occur. Because this is an Irrigation District dam, Watson is unsure of the town’s financial role in the situation. He will assist the district with seeking out and writing grants.

Russ Funk of Sunrise Engineering gave an update on the water project. The current contract is set to end March 15, 2011, approximately 78 more days.  This may be extended if the town installs more service lines, or if there are other delays. 

Crews are having issues with compaction because the ground is so wet. The moisture has also brought forth several complaints regarding where the roads have been excavated. Funk explained that, upon completion of the project, contractors will restore things to the way they were. He is working with the contractors and Watson to implement a complaint log so issues in need of immediate attention can be addressed.

Funk informed the council that the SCADA integration needs to be put in the contract. SCADA is the computer program associated with the filtration system.  The programming is budgeted for approximately $16,000 but needs to be assigned. Funk said it could be added into the contract with Sunrise Engineering.    

Funk reported the tank refurbishment project is almost complete.

Hilding explained the dilapidated state of the vehicles used by the Public Works Department.  With nearly 200,000 miles on some of the trucks, they are having expensive repair issues and are in dire need of being replaced.  She stated that when the Marshal’s Office leased their vehicles a couple years ago, it was with the understanding that they would be purchased by the Public Works Department when the time came. Watson said the Marshal’s Office could lease two new vehicles and sell two of the current ones to Public Works. 

The council agreed to allow the Public Works Department to purchase the trucks from the Marshal’s Office, as determined by the previous council, with payments made over the next two years. Funk said he will also research whether vehicles for Public Works could be added into the water project grant.   

Town Clerk Tina Marie Horlacher explained the antiquated state of the office phone system.  She said South Central has agreed to honor a bid for the phone system from 2008. She explained the benefits to the new system, as well as the payment plan.

Hilding asked if the office could request South Central to trade the new system for the back franchise fees owed to the town. The council agreed to allow the office to request the exchange.

Watson presented the council with the new proposal for employee medical benefits. The new plan would increase the employee’s deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket maximums in order to keep the premiums for the town the same as the 2010 plan. The council unanimously approved the new plan.

Watson informed the council that the previously approved Deputy Marshal candidate withdrew. The next eligible candidate for the position is JD Horlacher.  The council unanimously approved the hiring of Horlacher to begin January 3, 2011.

Also approved was the first reading of the Fireworks Ordinance 10-001, allowing the sale of certain fireworks within town limits (no exploding or flying fireworks.) 

The council approved the first reading of the Medical Marijuana Resolution 10-010, regulating the growth, sale and distribution of medical marijuana within the town limits.