SE Council approves new trash container service contract

SLEEPY EYE — The Sleepy Eye City Council unanimously approved a new trash container service and a service contract with Braun & Borth Sanitation July 10.

Under the resolution offered by Councilor Dick Zinniel, seconded by Larry Braun, new 65-gallon containers on wheels would be provided by the company. Monthly pickup fees will increase $0.75 as of Jan. 1, 2019 to $12.66 for single residents and $18.11 for families. Business owner Brent Kucera said the new containers are really durable and easier to handle.

The council also:

• Received a 2019 preliminary budget from City Manager Mark Kober. The document included a $260,000 budget transfer for downtown improvements and $340,000 for street improvements. Both figures are more than $100,000 higher than they were in recent city budgets.

The budget includes a 14.14 percent levy hike and $174,730 total budget increase that equals about a 7 percent tax hike, Kober said. In addition, he said the Economic Development Authority (EDA) is working on a downtown plan that could be substantial if combined with federal funds.

“That’s still well below the state average increase from what I’ve seen. We have some of the lowest city taxes in this part of the state. We need to raise taxes to make investments in the city,” Kober said. “It would raise taxes on my house $46 a year.”

“Boy, oh boy. We have a lot of work ahead on this budget,” said Councilor Zinniel.

• Did not approve a request for Councilor Nate Stevermer to attend the National League of Cities Conference with Kober in Los Angeles Nov. 7-10. Councilors Doug Pelzel, Braun and Zinniel voted against the measure.

Kober said he could attend the conference by himself since it is written into his city manager contract but he only wanted to make the trip with a councilor. Kober said Stevermer voiced interest to him about attending the conference that would cost about $2,500 for each man.

Braun questioned the request and offered a motion on the subject, seconded by Pelzel. Braun said he opposed the request because Kober is about to retire and Stevermer is up for election this fall. Pelzel agreed, saying the city will likely send the new city manager to conferences and seminars.

Kober said he felt the conference was valuable to attend to learn things that could contribute to the city of Sleepy Eye. Councilor Joann Schmidt agreed, saying the trip would not be a waste of money.

• Approved a $2,200 contribution from the Sleepy Eye Sportsmans Club to repair the fishing pier in Sportsmans Park.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at