Regular Meeting of the Mazeppa City Council
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
The regular meeting of the Mazeppa City Council was called to order at 6:00 PM by Mayor Chris Hagfors.
The Pledge of Allegiance was said.
Present: Mayor Chris Hagfors. Council Persons Steve Liffrig, Michael Hammes, Erica Young, and Dustin Wiebusch.
Others Present: City Attorney Luke Lamprecht, City Engineer Matt Mohs, Municipal Liquor Store Mager Todd Ihrke, Wabasha County Sherriff Rodney Bartsch, Fire Chief Bryce Dohrn, Public Works Director Scott Ellingson, WSB Project Engineer Luke Lunde, and Administrator Clerk Karl Nahrgang.
Present via electronic meeting: John Clemens, Holly Galbus from the News Record.
Motion by Hammes, second by Young to approve the agenda and addendum. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
Motion by Wiebusch, second by Young to approve the August 9, 2023 regular City Council meeting minutes and August 30, 2023 Council working session minutes. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
Motion by Wiebusch, second by Hammes, to close the regular meeting and open the minor subdivision public hearing All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
Regular meeting closed at 6:01 PM.
Public Hearing opened at 6:01 PM.
This public hearing was held for comments to do a minor subdivision within the River Bluff subdivision. The proposal would create 3 lots of .66 acres each out of parcels R23.00339.00 and R23.00340.00 which are approximately 1 acre each. Lots of less than 1 acre but more than ½ acre are allowed in R-3 Zoning. It was pointed out that River Bluff is a covenanted subdivision. The covenant does have language in place requiring 1 acre lots. The requestor would have to abide by the covenant unless he can have the covenant changed.
Motion by Young, second by Wiebusch, to close the minor subdivision public hearing and open the public hearing on the Cannabis dispensary moratorium. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
Minor subdivision hearing closed at 6:06 PM.
Cannabis dispensary moratorium public hearing opened at 6:06 PM.
Purpose of the public hearing was to get public input on the proposed cannabis dispensary moratorium. The State of Minnesota has passed an enabling law to create the Office of Cannabis Management. As a part of this law, units of local government can initiate local ordinance temporarily halting any dispensary from starting business in the community until such time that zoning ordinance and other provisions can be drafted, discussed, and voted into ordinance by local City Councils.
City Attorney Luke Lamprecht and Sherriff Rodney Bartsch said that taking the extra time to get guidance from professional organizations that advise cities and law enforcement on best practices would be wise to ensure that a business of this type would not create disruption within the community.
The question of what level of business would this be considered if someone were to inquire about having a dispensary as a home-based business. Councilperson Wiebusch said that if Minnesota’s law regarding dispensaries is anything like other states that have legalized dispensing cannabis, the security requirements would not be feasible as a home-based business.
Motion by Wiebusch, second by Young to close the public hearing and re-open the regular meeting. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
Public hearing closed at 6:17 PM.
Regular meeting re-opened at 6:17 PM.
Sherriff Rodney Bartsch presented the monthly Incident Command Report. He also gave an update on updating of policing costs by Wabasha County and that the correct costs have not been charged properly to cities within Wabasha County that uses the Sherriff’s Department as primary law enforcement provider within the community. The Wabasha County policing contract is undercharging the participating cities by approximately $22 per service hour, for Mazeppa that is approximately $21,000 per year. Wabasha County Sherriff’s Office will present the new contract to the City Attorney for review before presentation to the Council.
The City will be receiving a 1-time grant for Public Safety that would cover the bulk of the increase for the first 2 years.
Mazeppa City Council will hold a working session meeting on September 27, 2023 at 6:00 PM to discuss the increase and options.
Public Works Director Scott Ellingson gave the monthly Public Works report.
Fire Chief Bryce Dohrn gave the Fire Department report.
Municipal Liquor Store Manager Todd Ihrke gave the liquor store report.
Motion by Hammes, second by Young to approve hiring new liquor store staff members Sam Sheridan, Jessica Schumacher, and Ryan Liffrig. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
City Engineer Matt Mohs gave an engineering update.
Riverbank restoration project engineer Luke Lunde from W.S. Beng updated the Council on the Riverbank project. The project has been completed. There is a 2-year period vegetative replacement and maintenance that is included in the project. The upper part of the bank will naturally reshape itself and not cut further bank into the property due to the structures created at the water’s edge. The in-channel structures placed on the northern portion of the project at Herb Vik park will use the river’s natural flow to remove some of the sediment and improve aquatic habitat in that portion of the river and still allow canoe and kayak traffic. There are still some unused allocated funds available. Mr. Lunde will present a couple of proposals for this project to use the remaining funds.
City Administrator Clerk Karl Nahrgang distributed the City Hall activities report and thanked Councilperson Dusty Wiebusch for leading the effort to install the fire escape at the Mazeppa Municipal Liquor Store.
Motion by Wiebusch, second by Liffrig to approve building permits; MZ23-13, 1176 Chestnut St. NE – agricultural building. MZ23-11, 1252 Riverbluff Rd. SE – deck. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
Motion by Young, second by Wiebusch to loan funds from City reserves to the Mazeppa Economic Development Authority in the amount of $120,000 at 3% annual percentage rate, to be amortized over the period of 5 years for the purchase of lots in the Chestnut Estates subdivision. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
Motion by Wiebusch, second by Liffrig to approve preliminary 2024 City budget totaling *$9,523,061. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
*This amount includes the expected costs of the new wastewater treatment facility that may be incurred during budget year 2024.
Motion by Wiebusch, second by Liffrig to approve preliminary 2024 Tax levy request of $405,045. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
Motion by Wiebusch, second by Young to approve replacement of the Hustler lawn mower on program for $3132. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
Motion by Liffrig, second by Wiebusch to approve replacing the snowplow on the 1-ton Chevrolet truck. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
Motion by Wiebusch, second by Hammes to schedule the Truth-in-Taxation hearing for December 13, 2023 at 6:00 PM. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
First Reading of Ordinance 2023-03, No Cannabis Use within Public Property and Public Spaces.
First Reading of Ordinance 2023-04, Interim Ordinance Prohibiting Operation of Cannabis Business.
Motion by Wiebusch, second by Liffrig to pay the bills and claims. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
Motion by Wiebusch, second by Young to transfer funds from WWTP interim loan account to City operating account to pay for WWTP project engineering. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
City Attorney Luke Lamprecht asked if the Variance request considered at the August 9, 2023 Council meeting had been signed by the property owner and if the chickens had been removed from 348 Chestnut St. NE.
City Administrator Karl Nahrgang replied that the property owner had not signed the variance request, and that he did not know if the chickens had been removed at 348 Chestnut St. NE, but he would make the necessary inquiries and report back.
Councilperson Erica Young thanked the volunteers who erected the fire escape stairs and railing at the Municipal Liquor Store and inform everyone that the final market at the park for 2023 would be September 28 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, and that the Parks and Rec committee would be hosting a golf cart parade starting at Herb Vik field on October 14, 2023 at 1:00 PM.
Councilperson Dusty Wiebusch thanked Korey Klein, Jordan Wadewitz, Karl Nahrgang, Chris Hagfors, Jamie Rowe, Dan Nelson, and others that helped assemble and erect the fire escape at the Municipal Liquor Store.
Motion by Hammes, second by Wiebusch to recess the meeting until the Council working session on September 27, 2023 at 6:00 PM. All in favor, none opposed. Carried.
Meeting recessed at 8:01 PM.