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New Mayor Terry Sveine takes oath of office

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Terry Sveine (front left) is sworn in as New Ulm mayor by City Attorney Roger Hippert (front right) as City Manager Chris Dalton and City Council President Andrea Boettger look on.

NEW ULM — Terry Sveine was officially sworn in as New Ulm’s mayor Tuesday.

The New Ulm City Council conducted seven interviews for the mayor vacancy on Tuesday, May 25. Sveine was a top choice for the position. The council appointed him to the position June 1, but Sveine was unable to take the oath until Tuesday.

Sveine will finish the unexpired term of Robert Beussman. His term expires December 31, 2022.

The council held the second reading of an amendment to the blight ordinance. The amendment would change the city code, extending the time for junk cars, household furnishings stored on public or private property to be declared a nuisance in a business or industrial zone. Currently, the code allows for seven days before it is declared a nuisance. The amendment would allow 30 days for a business or industrial site to move blight material. In addition, licensed vehicle dealers are exempt from the prohibition of placing or storing unlicensed or unregistered motor vehicles, trailers or recreational vehicles kept as part of sales inventory.

Councilor Les Schultz said he heard a few complaints from people who were concerned this ordinance would allow people to have blighted property for a longer period.

City Attorney Roger Hippert clarified the extension only applied to businesses. This change is intended to accommodate businesses that may have several vehicles that need work done.

Council President Andrea Boettger said this is also a method of enforcing the ordinance.

Councilor David Christian said this is a good ordinance to move forward. Christian said body shops and welding shops might need more than 30 days to fix a vehicle, but with this ordinance, the city can track and act on violations.

Christian added the seven-day limit would remain for residential neighborhoods.

The council unanimously approved the amendment change.

The council approved seeking bids for the German Park Amphitheater shade structure with a bid opening date of Wednesday, July 28.

The city previously bid out the shade structure as an alternative for the amphitheater, but the city will need to re-bid the project because the cost of metal has increased and will likely raise the cost of the project.

The 2020 state bonding bill included a $300,000 funding agreement for the project. The shade structure must be complete by Dec. 31, 2023.

The council approved the appointment of Jeffrey Grace as assistant city attorney. Hippert requested Grace be appointed as a fifth assistant attorney to meet the demands of city caseloads.

Sveine asked if having this many assistant attorneys dilute the responsibilities of the attorneys.

Hippert said they can coordinate the city attorneys. There is a clear separation of responsibilities. The appointment of Grace will allow others in the law firm to take vacation time.

The council also appointed Jeremy Reed to the Sister Cities Commission to fill the unexpired term of Brian Serbus.

The council conducted two public hearings. The first hearing was on the reassessment of the unpaid 2005 Lakeside Village Addition special assessments. The assessments include sanitary sewer main, water main, storm sewer, site grading and stormwater quality pond.

These improvements were previously assessed Dec. 20, 2005. After making some initial payments, the developers did not pay any taxes or special assessments for five years and the bulk of the subdivisions went to tax-forfeited land.

The assessments include $6,266.97 on Lot 17 of Block 1, Lakeside Village Addition; $8,355.94 on Lot 12 of Block 2, Lakeside Village Addition; $9,748.59 each on Lots 3, 4 and 5 of Block 4, Lots 1, 5 and 6 of Block 5, Lots 14, 16 and 17 of Block 6 all of Lakeside Village Addition.

No comments were received during the hearing.

The council unanimously adopted the final assessment. This will make the assessments payable over 10 years with a 5.5% simple interest.

The second public hearing was for the final plat of Korth’s 2nd Subdivision. The planning commission recommended approval in May.

The property is located at 213 KC Road, south of KC Road and west of Boundary Street. The 2.51-acre plat would subdivide the parcel into two lots.

Community Development Director David Schnobrich said one of the lots already has a residence on it. Staff set a condition for approval that would require city utilities to connect to any new residence constructed on the other lot.

No comments were received during this hearing and the plat was unanimously approved by the council.

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