By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
It’s been a busy couple of months in South Haven, with some special meetings in-
between their monthly meetings.
At their regular meeting Nov. 13, the South Haven council was still lacking a Public Works worker after Dan Dawson submitted his resignation/retirement earlier. Mayor Norm Bodeker worked with Dawson for several days, learning some of his tasks. Mayor Bodeker did some research, and Minnesota Rural Water Association recommended two contractors that could fill the job: MMS Environmental and Peoples Services Inc. Bodeker met with both, and they recommend electronic automation of the system for monitoring and meter readings at the pump house and wastewater pump; those readings are currently taken manually.
Hiring an individual is another option, perhaps to fulfill part of the job and utilizing a contractor for the licensed portions.
A current employee (firefighter) Payton Polston works in Public Works for another city; he also has the required licensing and qualification. He is willing to help the city in the interim. The council voted unanimously to hire Polston at $25/hour to assist and fill in for water/wastewater duties until the position is filled.
Dawson was also the general maintenance person. The council discussed options for this position as well.
A special meeting was called for Nov. 19 to hear contractor proposals.
Fire Chief Laney reported two fire calls in October and 12 rescue calls. The council agreed to raise the Fire Relief Pension Retirement annual benefit from $1,600 per year of service to $1,800.
The council approved repainting the interior of the fire hall, and redoing the floors, at a cost up to $3,500. They also approved installing heat tape on the fire barn by Valley View Inc. for $2,754.79.
Both contractors presented an overview of their services at the Nov. 19 special meeting. Their rates were comparable, but coverage differed. The council will research funding an automated monitoring system which would be needed before hiring a contractor for water/wastewater.
At a closed meeting Dec. 4, prior to the regular meeting, the council interviewed candidates for the Public Works job. Five applications were received for a part-time water/wastewater operator with a D license. Only three of the applicants had the required training or experience, and only two were experienced and licensed. These two were interviewed Dec. 4. The applicants, Payton Polston and Mark Logeais, decided they would like to work together as a team to cover the duties of both water/wastewater operator and general city maintenance. These duties would be in addition to their other jobs, with the understanding that a city emergency would take priority. The council agreed to a six-month trial with the two working together as a team to fill these two positions.
At the open meeting that followed, the council agreed to hire both men, at $1,000/month each, on a six-month trial basis effective immediately, retroactive to Dec. 1.
Meanwhile, there is an open council seat following the November election. Cameron Hazzard is willing to give it a try, even though he’s lived in town only a few months. He will attend the January meeting to be appointed. This is a two-year position.
The city office will be closed Dec. 20-25, open Dec. 26-27, and closed again Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.
The next regular meeting of the South Haven city council will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. At that time, elected and appointed council members will be sworn into office.