SE City Council OKs shark purchase


7% levy


By Fritz Busch

Staff Writer

SLEEPY EYE — In an effort to replace broken lily pads at the Sleepy Eye Water Park, the Sleepy Eye City Council unanimously approved the purchase of an 8-foot, floatable shark Tuesday.

The action to buy the $9,775.42 item from Playtime came on a motion by Councilor Gary Windschitl, seconded by Councilor Nate Stevermer.

“My kids are super excited about this. They’ve played on these sharks at other water parks,” Windschitl said

Sleepy Eye Parks Director Steve Lingen said the shark would have to be in 4 1/2 feet of water to float.

The city council also unanimously approved:

• A $4,769,885 2020 city budget with a 7% ($92,580) levy hike over the 2019 base levy, motion by Councilor Doug Pelzel, seconded by Windschitl. The 2020 budget is $142,400 less than the 2019 budget but includes $100,000 less for street improvements and $50,000 less for contingencies.Last year’s budget included $350,000 for a new police station.

City Manager Bob Elston said the 2020 budget would increase annual city property taxes on a home valued at $100,000 by $15 to $20 a year.

A resident, Reg Wick, questioned the 2020 budget including $713,700 for police; a $107,000 increase from 2019 with the hire of an investigator. She also questioned the education of a new investigator.

“Do we pay Brown County for an investigator?” Wick asked.

:“We need an investigator to help our officers close cases and not work 16 hours a day,” Elston said.“Brown County investigators wouldn’t investigate Sleepy Eye crimes. We also pay for continuing education of police. It’s in our best interest.”

• Two $500 community grants for billboards marketing the Little Sprouts Learning Center, motion by Windschitl, seconded by Stevermer. The daycare business had 13 students at the end of October. Enrollment rose to 18 in November, according to an assessment prepared by St. Peter Business Services. Three new infants are expected by March 2020, according to the assessment.

• Purchasing PerfectMind Inc. recreation management software, motion by Pelzel, seconded by Windschitl. The service costs $6,000 a year for five years plus a one-time $6,000 implementation fee.

Wick questioned the software purchase.

Councilor Joann Schmidt said the city did extensive research and found the best solution to campground registration.

“We may miss people coming to town without this,” Windschitl said.

• Tabled creating a 75 feet by 275 feet dog park between the Prairieview Park north softball field and Sleepy Eye Baseball Park.

Councilor Pelzel suggested moving the dog park to an east-west shape instead of the proposed north-south design between the ball fields.

Councilor Nate Stevermer suggested creating a dog park in the old outdoor hockey rink west of the Orchid Inn property.

Discussion included the danger of creating a dog park near baseball and softball fields and parking issues.

Councilor Schmidt said the dog park would be used for a much longer period of time than baseball or softball season lasts.

• Elston said Aaron Wilfahrt of New Ulm will perform rental property inspections beginning in January. Elston said rental property inspection fees will be reduced from $100 to $60 for 2 years for property owners that apply prior to March 31, 2020.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.