City Council to consider city attorney contract
NEW ULM — The council will consider changes to the City Attorney contract at its meeting Tuesday.
During the Feb. 16, meeting the city council tabled an amendment to the City Attorney Service Agreement to allow a review of the service agreement with Brown County for criminal prosecution.
Nierengarten & Hippert Law Office has served as City Attorney for New Ulm since 1979. From 1986, until the retirement of Hugh Nierengarten in 2015, three or four attorneys were providing the legal services required to meet the City’s needs, including all of the work involved in City criminal prosecutions, the civil matters involving the City and also the New Ulm Public Utilities.
Roger Hippert and Tom Borgen were able to cover these, but as of Jan. 4, Borgen has left the firm and Hippert is not in a position to provide all of the services as a solo practitioner. Hippert went into negotiations to join the Blethen Berens Law Office. The addition of Blethen and Berens Law Office would require changes to the current retainer agreement. This new agreement would represent an increase in attorney fees for the city.
The council decided to wait until Brown County had submitted a proposal before making any amendments.
The city will consider approving a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the city regarding intersection lighting at Trunk Highway 15, Shag Road and DNR entrance.
Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) scheduled a project for 2021 that includes the signal replacement at 16th North and HWY 14 (Broadway), miscellaneous ADA improvements and intersection lighting installation at Highway 15 and Shag Road and the DNR entrance. The project agreement between the City and Mn/DOT was approved on October 6, 2020. The MOU details the agreement with the city for electrical costs associated with lighting. New Ulm will pay these costs, estimated at $420 a year. In exchange, the DNR will cover the necessary mowing around the New Ulm Welcome sign. Also included within the agreement is that the City will maintain the system and bill the DNR for this work. This arrangement is expected to have a balanced impact on the city budget.
The council will conduct the second reading of an amendment reducing the number of members on the Energy Awareness Commission from nine to five members. The Energy Awareness Commission has struggled to maintain a necessary quorum of members to hold meetings. By reducing the number of total members it will easier for the commission to hold regular meetings.