Monday, November 30, 2009

2010 Final Budget Meeting for Hamburg, MN

Hamburg residents the following announcement is for you. I just received this myself; sorry for the short notice.










Notice is Hereby Given that the Hamburg City Council will hold a Special Meeting on November 30, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hamburg City Hall at 181 Broadway Ave, Hamburg, MN.


The reason for the special meeting is to discuss and review the 2010 Final Budget and 2010 City Fee Schedule. This special meeting will serve as a workshop to review the 2010 Final Budget and 2010 City Fee Schedule. The 2010 Proposed Budget will be finalized at the December 8, 2009 City Council meeting.


If you have any questions or concerns about this meeting feel free to attend the meeting, call the City Offices at (952) 467-3232 or write in advance to the City of Hamburg, 181 Broadway Ave., Hamburg, MN 55339.






                            Jeremy Gruenhagen

                            City Clerk-Treas.




To Walk or Not To Walk: Underwater Homeowner’s dilemma

House owners around the United States are struggling with a mortgage entered into with the hope that the housing boom of 2001 to 2005 would continue to drive up prices. Reality is very different. The "subprime" lending practices by mortgage companies and banks launched a wave of foreclosures in recent years. The tide of foreclosure rates has not yet been stopped. Confusion over regulation oversight of the "subprime" derivatives only exacerbated the problem and raises concerns that government officials are asleep at the switch. As the boom in "subprime" lending took off, some in Congress were voicing concern of the practices and financial stability of Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae. The true nature of Freddie and Fanny were blinded by the increase of home ownership among the low and middle class voting pool. Several prominent liberal leaders in Congress, namely Rep. Frank (D-Ma), promoted the idea that solvency of Freddie and Fanny is rock solid.

Over the past two years the reality of Freddie and Fanny solvency is contrary as the Federal Government had to bailout the program and recues the banking industry to a perceived financial meltdown. Why are these politicians allowed to stay in their seats? Why is there not more outrage from the constituents? Now many Americans are realizing that they are upside down on the mortgages and scrambling to balance mortgage payments with job loss and general downturn in the Economy. Brent White, law professor at the University of Arizona, has written a paper, "Underwater and Not Walking Away: Shame, Fear and the Social Management of the Housing Crisis", states that "Homeowners should be walking away in droves, but they aren't. And it's not because the financial costs of foreclosure outweigh the benefits."

White asserts that homeowners are not walking away because of the moral obligation one has. I agree with White that many see a stigma behind a bankruptcy or a foreclosure but one of the most successful businessmen in the United States, Donald Trump, and uses bankruptcy like the normal citizen uses their credit or debit card. Then again, what signal or example does a responsible parent give to their offspring by folding up the tents? A program currently exists that is attempting to encourage mortgage companies to assist borrowers to refinance their current mortgages. The $75 billion Treasury program allots $1,000 initially to Mortgage Company then an additional $1,000 annually for the next three years. The program was a result of the $700 billion financial bailout program.

Today, President Obama is expected to announce expansion of this program that would include delaying payment until the loan modifications are made permanent. Once again the public is turning to Government for the answer. While a select number of mortgage companies participated in predatory lending practice the vast majority of homeowners were fully aware of the contract being entered into or at least should have been. Forget the moral dilemma of walking away for a moment and imagine what our economy will look like if just 15% of homeowners walked away. The taxpayer that did not get themselves upside down or buy the big house will be on the hook.

That being said, let's return to the moral dilemma of walking away. Is the stigma of a foreclosure the motivating factor why homeowners are not walking away from their homes? What lessons are parents who walk or don't walk displaying for their children?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday: The blight of the Holiday Season

Well Thanksgiving Day is a distant memory as consumers woke early this morning, or some like I saw yesterday were already sitting outside their favorite box store at noon, to participate in the annual rat race that kicks off the consumerization of Christmas, or for the politically correct, the Holiday Season. The gluttony of deals offered to the savvy consumer is really a farce and an assault on their intelligence. The kicker is that stores, mainly online stores like Amazon, offer better deals than one has come to expect on "Black Friday" but I digress.

Black Friday is a symptom of the ills our society has fallen prey to over the amnesia to the spirit of Christmas. Christmas is about giving and the magical time of the Winter Solstice. The message of the season is lost with the rise of consumerism and the need, or the feeling to need, to provide copious amounts of items to those within ones social circle. In George Will's piece today, he mentions that the utility of Black Friday is really bad for the economy to the tune of $12 billion. So why do consumers become bedazzled by the "Door buster deals" that have become common for the hours following the feasting on Thanksgiving Day.

Some may argue the intrinsic value of watching a child's eyes light up over the plethora of gifts under the tree or the bewilderment as the wrapping paper is torn to reveal the treasure within. What message are we sending our children by this? People plot their course on Black Friday with the same fervor that a coach plans for the Super Bowl. Kare11 even featured three ladies on their evening news broadcast on their strategies to a successful Black Friday shopping tour; complete with diagrams. So, again, why do consumers feel compelled to rack up debt for an activity that produces little utility when simply another form of the lost meaning of the season can be promoted; giving cash?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!! Today is a day of feasting, watching football, and visiting with family that many of us in the United States take for granted. Estimates have that about 15% of our population will struggle to eat this day due to one reason or another. Be thankful for the bounty you are about to partake and be remindful of the freedoms and liberties you are afforded because of the sacrifices made by the Founding Fathers and those that ensure they remain secure to this day. While the remainder of my words will fall short to mark this day, I turn to our first President of the United States George Washington to inspire us once again.

In a proclamation by President George Washington, printed originally in The Massachusetts Sentinel (, given on October 14, 1789, the president articulates the importance of the day like no one else could. As you read it today, think of the message President Washington is conveying and look to how it is applicable today. I hope everyone has a wondering Thanksgiving Day. Be Safe, enjoy your family and most of all Go RAIDERS!!! A small note as you read this sometimes a f is supposed to be a s. I did not change the original score as written.

General Thanksgiving

By President Washington a Proclamation

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houfes of Congress have, by their joint committee, requefted me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to eftablifh a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and affign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of thefe States to the fervice of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our fincere and humble thanksfor His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the fignal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpofitions of His providence in the courfe and conclufion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have fince enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to eftablish Conftitutions of government for our fafety and happinefs, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are bleffed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffufing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleafed to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in moft humbly offering our prayers and fupplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and befeech Him to pardon our national and other tranfgreffions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private ftations, to perform our feveral and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a bleffing to all the people by conftantly being a Government of wife, juft, and conftitutional laws, difcreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all fovereigns and nations (especially fuch as have shewn kindnefs unto us); and to blefs them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increafe of fcience among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind fuch a degree of temporal profperity as he alone knows to be beft.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand feven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day of Observations

Ahhhh…the day before Thanksgiving which brings out the amateur drinker in all of use more than New Years Eve. The night that family, former classmates, and friends are all in town with essentially no where important to be the next day. I said essentially, I know that family gathering around the television set watching the Lions, Cowboys, and Broncos run up and down the field makes up for quality family time on Thanksgiving. That being said, I'd like to make a few observations I made while out taking the two youngest ones to the doctors.

We have been discussing health care for a long time now with the goal to improve care, lowering costs, and making it affordable for all to purchase. Some have even stated that it ought to be a mandate for all to carry it like we are required to have car insurance if we choose to drive a car. Well, my appointment – more accurately the boys' appointment – today was slotted for 11 a.m. Now, my second oldest boy did get his flu shot in a relatively timely manner but the well child check up for the youngest labored on. I understand that things come up and physicians come across peculiar and challenging diagnosis. At the same time when a physician is late in arriving to your room they cannot devolve the complete tardiness because HIPPA will reign down on them. All fine and good except when I have to wait, or anyone for that matter, for an hour to go by before my physician enters the room. In the end, I was there with a 3 and 5 year old in a sterile 4'x6' room with no windows or distractions waiting for an hour to have my youngest examined for 20 minutes.

Imagine the number of patients that could have been seen and the amount of wasted billable hours I took up for a well child appointment that lasted 20 minutes when it was all said and done. Perhaps reform needs to be done at this level before we move onto a single payer system. Next my travels took me to the local grocery mart where the annual bells were ringing of the Salvation Army crew. Every year I explain to the children why it is the men and women stand out in the frigid Minnesota winter ringing those bells at the entrance and exits of the grocery mart. Funning thing this time is the gentlemen ringing the bell was multi-tasking. Not the type of multi-tasking I'd expect – ringing the bell, saying "Hi" to the kids, and thanking the donors – instead this fine gentleman was ringing his bell while talking on the cell phone. I heard on CBS one night that some Salvation Army buckets will be set up with electronic card readers so people can donate via credit or debit card. So, unless this gentleman was taking donations from the cell phone, I am missing the point of him having the conversation on the phone while ringing the bell. At least when I left the grocery mart the other gentlemen, from the other Salvation Army bucket, was inside the mart using the pay phone; I assumed he was on break.

After leaving the mart I proceeded to a financial institution to drop off some paperwork which prompted me to go next door for some lunch. In a thoughtful gesture of the restaurant – fast food – I noticed a table with the little handicap sticker on it. What made this table unique was one side was a bench or booth seat with the other side being two removable chairs. As I filled up my pop, I thought what a cool idea and grand gesture it was for the restaurant (fast food) to establish or reserve a table for those less fortunate to be able to use the booth. While reading my paper and eating my food, a mother with two children – probably 6 or 7 years old – entered the fine dining establishment and ordered lunch. As you may have already guessed it, they choose to use the handicap table to eat lunch at. Now, it was lunch time on a Wednesday – perhaps Friday given that Thanksgiving is tomorrow – but for the most part people ordered lunch and took it to go leaving plenty of more suitable options for the able-bodied customer.

To the mothers credit she did tell the boys to use a wet wipe prior to eating to clean their hands off with but it was her choice of table that irked me. I refrained from comment. Just thought I'd share a little of my day with my readers. And offer this up; Do people really understand?

Hamburg City Council Meeting Minutes – October 27, 2009

Mayor Malz called the regular meeting of the Hamburg City Council to order at 7:00 p.m. Councilmember Steve Trebesch, Councilmember John Barnes, Councilmember Larry Mueller, Councilmember Brian Cummiskey, City Clerk Jeremy Gruenhagen, Deputy Clerk Sue Block, Maintenance Worker Dennis Byerly, and Fire Chief Brad Droege were present. Others present were Kerby Kroells (Green Isle Conservation Partners).


Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption

  • Added – I & I Program Update
  • Added – Presentation of Appreciation Plaque to Fire Chief Brad Droege.
  • Added – Gambling Permit request by Green Isle Conservation Partners.

Councilmember Mueller moved to adopt the agenda with the three additions, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Old City Business

  • Number 1 – Cities web site is almost completed.
  • Number 3 – Change wording on how many dogs constitutes a dog kennel to 4 dogs. This will be done at the same time the cities zoning ordinances are adopted.
  • Number 4 – The business cards should be ready by the next council meeting.
  • Number 7 – Completed and should be removed from list.
  • Number 8 – City Clerk Gruenhagen has started taking pictures of the office equipment. Council decided that video taping would not be necessary, pictures are good enough.
  • Number 10 – Spray dandelions in park; too late for this fall, change to be completed this coming spring.
  • Number 11 – One fan is left to install.
  • Number 12 – Completed and should be removed from list.
  • Number 15 – Contact Doris Mielke (Realtor) to explain the water shut off situation. The home (vacant) she has listed for sale shares the same water shut off as the home next door that is occupied.
  • Number 16 – Council agreed to patch the hole with bituminous fill for this winter when the City Shop Storm Sewer Improvements are completed.
  • Number 17 – Unisex Bathroom in Hall, Councilmember Cummiskey will talk with MNSPECT and redraw the plan. He will present the new plans at the next council meeting.


Approve Minutes for September 8, 2009 and September 22, 2009

  • Councilmember Mueller moved to approve the City Council Minutes for September 8, 2009 and September 22, 2009, seconded by Councilmember Barnes and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen noted that the October 13, 2009 minutes are completed but he has not reviewed then due to the laptop computer repairs. Both October 13 and October 27 minutes will be presented for Council's approval at the November 10th Council meeting.

Gambling Permit

  • Kerby Kroells representing the Green Isle Conservation Partners requested a Minnesota Lawful Gambling permit for January 30, 2010. The permit would be for their annual CPA Banquet which will be held at the Hamburg Community Hall on January 30, 2010.
  • Councilmember Barnes moved to approve the Gambling permit for the Green Isle Conservation Partners annual CPA Banquet which will be held on January 30, 2010 at the Hamburg Community Hall, seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Fire Department Report – Chief Brad Droege


Projector Screen

  • Fire Chief Droege requested a new projector screen be purchased for the Hamburg Community Center.
  • Council discussed and decided to gather prices for a new stand alone or hanging projector screen. The findings will be presented at the next City Council meeting on November 10th.

FEMA Grant

  • Fire Chief Droege reported the remaining grants will be out the end of November or early December.

US Fish & Wildlife Grant

  • Fire Chief Droege informed Council he has the paper work completed to send in for reimbursement for the items that were purchased from the grant money.

H1N1 Flu Virus

  • Seven (7) fire fighters took the nasal, five (5) did not want to participate, two (2) received shots, and the rest of the fire fighters are waiting for supply of the regular shot.

Halloween Patrol (October 31st)

  • The fire department will be out patrolling the streets of Hamburg again this Saturday during the hours of 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. They will go longer if the kids are still out and about.

Disaster Mitigation Plan

  • Fire Chief Droege gave Council a sample resolution authorizing dispatch and use of fire department equipment and services by (Administrator/Fire Chief) in emergency situations.
  • Fire Chief Droege requested a resolution be drafted by the City Council.

Fireman's Dance

  • The date for the annual Fireman's Dance has been changed from a Saturday to a Friday night. The dance will be held on January 8, 2010.

Selection vs. Election

  • On the agenda as a reminder so it is not forgotten. No discussion at this time.

Pension Increase for Reporting Year 2010

  • The Hamburg Fire Department Members voted on requesting a $50 pension increase, however, Fire Chief Droege suggested a $45 increase bringing the pension to $1,450 per year.
    • Mayor Malz supported the increase.
    • Councilmember Mueller commented that the increase would almost be the same as a 3% increase for city employees.
    • Councilmember Cummiskey commented on the pension increase. Brian stated they he feels the Fire Department Pension Fund should be fully vested. Councilmember Cummiskey is on the Fire Department and is unable to vote on the issue.
    • Councilmember Barnes commented that a pension increase would delay the department from being 100% invested. Currently the Fire Department pension is about 75% funded.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen reminded Council that the pension should be 100% to 110% funded and any increase the City is responsible for.
    • Councilmember Trebesch commented that the City has already committed an additional $2,000 to the pension relief fund in the 2010 budget.
  • Council discussed the issue and the effect of a $45 increase.
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to grant the Hamburg Fire Department a pension increase of $45 starting in the reporting year of 2010, seconded by Councilmember Barnes, and motion carried. Councilmember Cummiskey abstained from voting.

Fire Department Officer Elections

  • Elections will be held at the end of November.
  • At this time no fire fighters have put their names in for any of the positions.

Training Reimbursement for FF1 and FF2

  • Fire Chief Droege will be sending in the paperwork, due by November 1, 2009, for training reimbursement through the State. The Hamburg Fire Department will know by December 1, 2009 if they will receive a $1,800 reimbursement.

S.A.F.E.R Breakfast

  • The S.A.F.E.R organization received $6,127 from the breakfast and of that amount $500 was from Thrivent for Lutherans.
  • The Fire Department and Chief Droege received a recognition plaque from S.A.F.E.R for hosting the S.A.F.E.R breakfast.

State Fire Chiefs Convention

  • Fire Chief Brad Droege received the 2009 Fire Officer of the Year Award for city populations under 2,000 from State Fire Chiefs Association.
  • On behalf of the City of Hamburg, the City Council presented Fire Chief Droege with a plaque of appreciation. The Hamburg City Council and Staff also stated their appreciation for his hard work and years of service.

Reimbursement from Green Isle

  • Green Isle has not received any money from the State for the warehouse fire
  • Fire Chief Droege is trying to receive money for at least the water Green Isle used from Hamburg to fight the fire. The total billing amounted to $5,259.


Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)


Project List

  • Crack in sidewalk on Railroad Street was fixed by Maintenance Worker Byerly.
  • City Shop Storm Water Improvement, Henning's were contacted and are behind schedule due to the extremely wet weather. They will be out as soon as they can, no definite date was given.

Picnic Tables

  • Councilmember Mueller asked Maintenance Worker Byerly to bring the park picnic tables to the Shop and repaint them.
  • There are four (4) picnic tables that need to be readjusted. Councilmember Trebesch will help Maintenance Worker Byerly in readjusting them.

Sweeping City Streets

  • Council discussed sweeping the city streets again this year and decided to wait until all the leaves are all off the trees.
  • Council requested a two day warning before the streets are swept so residents can be notified to remove their cars/trucks from the roadway.

Snow Ordinance Signs

  • Council discussed the yearly problem of cars parked on the city streets after a snow fall.
  • Council decided to have Maintenance Worker Byerly purchase two snow ordinance signs and place them by the apartment buildings within the city.
  • Council discussed if cars are parked on city streets after a snow fall should they be ticketed or given a warning first.
    • Council decided to give residents a one time warning and on the second offence give them a ticket.
  • Council discussed the concern over the cars parked in the streets by the apartment buildings during snow emergencies. They decided to have the winter parking ordinance sent to the apartment owners to post inside their buildings.

Water Leak in Park

  • Mayor Malz asked if Maintenance Worker Byerly had located and fixed the water leak in the city park.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly responded that he did find the leak, it is not fixed, but the water was turned of at the park for the winter season. Dennis will try to get it fixed yet this year.

Loss Control

  • The handrail by the shop area has to be installed; Council decided to wait on the installation until the shop storm water improvements are made.
  • Council discussed installing an ansul system as required by insurance companies to the hood of the electric stove in Hall dance area.
    • No decision was made at this time.
  • Council discussed and decided to cap the gas line to the gas stove in the Hall basement. This should be done by a licensed plumber. Maintenance Worker Byerly will contact a plumber.

Hanging Heaters at Halls

  • Council discussed and decided to have the Hall heaters checked and have this done on a yearly basis. Council also decided to have the Community Center heaters checked.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly will contact a qualified inspector to come out and check the furnaces.

Table Rack for Community Center

  • Councilmember Trebesch is willing to donate two (2) table racks with wheels to the City of Hamburg.

Shop Door

  • Ed Hatterschide (870 Park Avenue) was contacted and informed that he did receive the bid to replace the City shop door. He was asked by Council and informed to wait until the City shop storm water improvement is completed before installing the door.

Community Hall Repairs

  • One fan is remaining to be installed.
  • Council discussed and agreed to have Chuck (Robb's Electric) update the fuse box in the Hall basement but only if there is enough money remaining in the budget after the upstairs electrical boxes are updated.
    • Council discussed and decided to have switches installed in the breaker boxes. Using a switch is better than turning the breaker switches on and off all the time.

Time Sheets – Define Call Outs & Call Out Pay

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council to define what determines overtime for call out hours.
  • Council discussed and decided that on Saturday and Sunday that maintenance would receive two (2) hours of overtime each day for doing the city rounds (water and sewer). If the maintenance person is called out after his/her regularly scheduled hours (currently 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM) he/she would also be paid a minimum of 2 hours at overtime. If an employee is called out multiple times throughout the day then the total actual hours worked would be paid at overtime with a minimum of 2 hours at overtime for the day.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to adopt the decision by Council
    that on Saturday and Sunday the City maintenance employee would receive two (2) hours of overtime for doing the city rounds and if the maintenance person is called out or required to work after their regularly scheduled hours (currently 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM) he/she would be paid a minimum of 2 hours at overtime pay and if an employee is called out multiple times throughout the day then the actual hours worked would be paid at overtime, with a minimum of 2 hours at overtime, for the day, seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will run this by the City Attorney (Mac Willemssen) to make sure the wording is correct and add the wording to the Cities Employee Handbook for adoption by Council.

General Maintenance Schedules – Safety Meeting

  • There will be a Safety Meeting on November 4, 2009 at Norwood/Young America with a mock OSHA inspection in Hamburg after the meeting.

Wastewater Class

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly informed Council that he has registered for a Wastewater Class which will be held in Norwood-YA on the 24th of November.

Requested Time-Off

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly requested November 2, 2009 and November 13, 14, and 15, 2009 off. He can do the rounds on November 2nd and November 13th.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will do the rounds on November 14 and 15.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to grant Maintenance Worker Byerly's request for time-off on November 2nd, November 13, 14, and 15th, seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Deputy Clerk Report


Delinquent Utility Bills

  • Emily Siebold is still making her scheduled payments.
  • No other resident is in the 2nd period of delinquency at the time.

City Council Minutes

  • As City Clerk Gruenhagen had previously pointed out all the City Council meeting minutes are completed and up to date. The October 13th Council minutes just have to be reviewed.


Clerk/Treasurer Report


2009 Police Aid from State of MN

  • The City of Hamburg received a $1,091.31 refund from Carver County from the 2009 Police Aid from the State of Minnesota.

Public Hearing Date for Subdivision Ordinance/Zoning Ordinance/City Ordinance Updates

  • Council discussed and decided to hold the Public Hearing on November 24, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hamburg Community Center.
    • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to hold the Public Hearing for Subdivision Ordinance, Zoning Ordinance, and City Ordinance Updates on Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hamburg Community Center, seconded my Councilmember Mueller and motion carried. All Council members were present.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen and Councilmember Cummiskey did note one change: the City Zoning Officer (City Clerk Gruenhagen) should not be doing the building inspections as stated under Section A, Subdivision 1. Zoning Officer, A.1. Ann Perry was contacted to change the wording for Hamburg contracts out its building inspections which are regulated by the State Building Code.

Closed Meeting Requirements for Employee Evaluations – Response from Mac Willemssen

  • Employee review evaluations can be a closed meeting
  • It usually works best for this to happen at the end of a regular meeting so you can clear the room without the need for spectators returning for more business.
  • The employee has the right to request the meeting be an open meeting.
  • Notice must be given of the intent to have a closed meeting so as to qualify as a legitimate meeting under the Open Meeting Law.
  • Minutes need to be taken of the discussion and its results. Whether those minutes become public depends on what happens.
    • If further things need to be investigated, that is still private until things are finished and there is a final result. Discipline results and things finalized are then public information.
  • Mac Willemssen suggested one change in the evaluation forms and that is the final signature portions of the form should say "I have reviewed and discussed …." not just discussed them.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey suggested employees sign a form if they want an open or closed evaluation meeting review.
  • City Employee reviews will be held on November 24, 2009.

School Board Public Meeting on Proposed Referendum

  • The School Board will be holding a Public Meeting at the Hamburg Community Center on November 17, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss the 2009 Referendum. The proposed referendum will be on to unearth elementary school and make improvements.
    • Council agreed there would be no rental fee for this public meeting.

MN Lawful Gambling (Exempt) Permit for Pheasants Forever

  • The Carver County Pheasant Forever club requested a Minnesota Lawful Gambling permit for their banquet on January 23, 2010 at the Hamburg Community Hall.
  • Councilmember Barnes moved to approve the Gambling Permit for the Carver County Pheasants Forever Banquet which will be held on January 23, 2010 at the Hamburg Community Hall, seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

Informational Items

  • Worksite Wellness Memo (Carver County Public Health)
  • 2nd Annual Housing Summit (CDA)
    • The meeting will be held on October 28, 2009 at Lake Waconia Event Center if members of Council would like to attend.
  • Met Council is inviting all Carver County elected officials to the A.C.C.E.L meeting on November 5, 2099 (Thursday night) from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cologne Community Center. City Clerk Gruenhagen asked if any one from Council could attend.
    • Councilmember Barnes informed the other members of council that he will be available to attend this meeting. Council Members Malz and Mueller may possible attend also.
  • New Law on Yard and Organic Waste Collection – Plastic Bags are no longer allowed
    • The new law will not affect Hamburg much, however, Council decided to put a sign by the Cities compost bin that no garbage bags are allowed.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen handed out a Budget Summary sheet for the City of Hamburg.

I & I Project Update

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen and Councilmember Mueller met with Doug Parrott on October 20, 2009 and discussed the following items on the cities Sanitary Sewer and Storm Sewer Improvements:
    • Martha Street culvert needs to be cleaned out. Council agreed to contact Lothar Wolter (YA Township Clerk) on this issue for they are the road authority for the culvert.
    • Drain tile, inlets are planned to be 24-inch diameter.
    • Sanitary Sewer from MH 52 to MH 28A and from JH 46 to MH 58 have not been televised.
      • Council approved to have the lines televised.
    • Move sanitary sewer line to the north of 421 Brad Street 3 to 5 feet north of tree – north of shed.
    • Eliminate manhole, MH 51B in southeast corner of Lehrman property (638 Kim Avenue) and check MH 51B for any possible service lines coming into the MH.
    • Easements for Project
      • Doug Parrott will meet with Councilmember Mueller and City Clerk Gruenhagen next Wednesday to review easement recommendations and property impacts.
      • City Attorney Mac will draw up the final paperwork for obtaining the easements.
    • Storm Sewer Tile Line (662 Park Avenue)
      • Council discussed and approved televising and abandoning the storm sewer line on Willard Bergmann's (662 Park Avenue) property.
    • Council discussed and agreed to add two 20' access gates (north and south gates) on the east side of the City Park fence and to add a 3 wire fence on the east side of the pond. Council agreed to hire the installation of the fencing and gates out to a contractor to save money.
    • Councilmember Mueller moved to add the listed items (stated above) to the Sanitary and Storm Sewer Improvement Project, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously passed. All Council members were present.
  • Council also discussed obtaining a loan from USDA Rural Development. City Clerk Gruenhagen will contact Ron Seymour, with S.E.H on the pros and cons of a USDA loan. He will present the findings at the next council meeting.

City Clerk Gruenhagen's Hours for October 29, 2009

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that he will be leaving early on Thursday, October 29, 2009 (Medical Appointment).


City Council Reports


Councilmember Mueller (Sewer & Water) had nothing further to report.


Councilmember Cummiskey (Streets)

  • Councilmember Cummiskey presented Council with a proposed drawing of a Unisex bathroom to be installed at the Hall.
  • After some discussion Council decided to have Councilmember Cummiskey call and meet with a building inspector at the Hall. The building inspector would then have some incite as to what council is proposing and the requirements needed for a handicapped bathroom. Brian will report back at the next meeting.


Councilmember Trebesch (Buildings) had nothing further to report.


Councilmember Barnes (Parks) had nothing further to report.


Mayor Malz

  • Request the CSO be contacted and asked to check for any abandoned cars within the city.
  • Requested nuisance letters be sent out to residents.


Approve Claims List for October 2009


Councilmember Cummiskey made a motion to accept Claim Numbers 14083 through 14096, including the five ACH payments, Councilmember Mueller seconded and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Councilmember Barnes moved to adjourn the Hamburg City Council meeting at 9:30 p.m., seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council Members were present.



                                        Submitted by:




                                        Sue Block                                                        Deputy Clerk

Hamburg City Council Meeting Minutes – October 13, 2009

Mayor Malz called the regular meeting of the Hamburg City Council to order at 7:03 p.m. Councilmember Steve Trebesch, Councilmember John Barnes, Councilmember Larry Mueller, Councilmember Brian Cummiskey, City Clerk Jeremy Gruenhagen, Deputy Clerk Sue Block, Maintenance Worker Dennis Byerly, and Fire Chief Brad Droege were present. Others present were Brian Biermann (210 Broadway Avenue) and Bill Singer (AT Group).


Miscellaneous Business (Public Comments)

  • Brian Biermann (210 Broadway Avenue) addressed Council concerning a ticket he received about his dogs excessive barking on September 25, 2009. Mr. Biermann asked if the City has a policy about receiving a warning before a ticket is issued. He has had no prior complaints or warnings about his dogs creating a public nuisance.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen and City Council discussed contacting Jim Keeler (City Attorney) and request the County to waive the ticket and decline prosecution.
  • Council discussed and agreed that Mr. Biermann should not have received the ticket.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to have City Clerk Gruenhagen call Jim Keeler (City Attorney) and ask if the City can decline the ticket and prosecution for Mr. Biermann. Councilmember Mueller seconded and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption

  • Added – Bids for lawn mowing, Dave's Season All (updated) and Kottke Lawn & Landscape.
  • Added – Quotation from Hard Stuff Masonry (Don Harms) to replace the sidewalk in front of Parkside Tavern.
  • Added – Estimates for City Shop door - H2 Development and K & K Services.
  • Added – Sanitary and Storm Sewer Improvement Project update.

Councilmember Mueller moved to accept the agenda with the four additions, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Old City Business

  • Handicap Bathroom in Hall
    • Council discussed installing a handicap bathroom inside the Community Hall and expanding the west side ramp door.
    • Councilmember Cummiskey and Councilmember Trebesch will draw up plans for a Unisex bathroom and present the plans to Council at the October 27th Council meeting.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen thanked Councilmember Trebesch for taking down the old ceiling fans in the Hall.


Approve Minutes for June 9, 2009, August 25, 2009, and September 1, 2009

  • Councilmember Mueller moved to approve the City Council meeting minutes for June 9, 2009 (Special Meeting), August 25, 2009 and September 1, 2009 (Special Meeting), seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Fire Department Report – Chief Brad Droege


Fire Chief Droege commented that when the plans are draw up for the handicap bathroom they should include a cabinet to store extra supplies like toilet paper and hand towels.



US Fish & Wildlife Grant & 2009 FEMA Grant

  • FEMA Grants
    • Started coming out Friday, October 9, 2009, mostly grants for fire trucks.
  • Us Fish & Wildlife Grant
    • Wild Line jackets, pants and drip can were ordered. They should arrive in one to two weeks.

H1N1 Virus Flu Shots

  • Fire fighters can schedule an individual appointment on October 20, 21, 26, or 27th for nasal shots.
  • The regular shots for them should be available at the end of this month.

Fire Prevention (October 5th through October 9th)

  • The yearly fire prevention event went over well. Smoke House went over well with the kids.

State Fire Chiefs Convention

  • The Convention will be held October 15, 16, and 17th at Duluth. Brenda Droege, Adam Glander, and Fire Chief Brad Droege will be attending.

S.A.F.E.R. Breakfast - October 11, 2009

  • Approximately 500 people were served at the S.A.F.E.R breakfast. The organizations raised about $6,300 from the event.

Statement of Interest in (Carver County) All-Hazard Mitigation Planning

  • Fire Chief Droege signed the agreement. By going along with the County (Carver) Mitigation Planning the City can reduce the number of required N.I.M.S. classes.

Selection vs. Election

  • This is listed in the agenda just as a reminder that the Fire Departments By-Laws have to be updated.

Pension Increase for Reporting Year 2010

  • A decision will be made during the October 27, 2009 City Council meeting.


Members of Council commended Fire Chief Droege and all the Fire Fighters from Hamburg and the surrounding area for the excellent and hard work they put into the S.A.F.E.R breakfast.


Ann Perry – City Planning Consultant (Resource Strategies)


2030 Comprehensive Plan

  • This plan is final and Council received a copy at the last council meeting.

Subdivision and City Zoning Ordinances

  • This was discussed during the Special Meeting which was held at 6:00 p.m. tonight before the regularly scheduled council meeting at 7:00 p.m.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council if they had any further comments. Council decided to have one more meeting to review the ordinances. A Public Hearing date will be set at the next Council meeting.


Bill Singer – AT Group


Health Insurance Options for 2010

  • Mr. Bill Singer from AT Group presented Council with various Health Insurance coverage policies and plans.
  • Council discussed the different options and decided to have City Clerk Gruenhagen work with Mr. Singer to find a low cost plan with good coverage.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will work with Mr. Singer again at the end of October when the new Blue Cross & Blue Shield rates become available.

Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)


Shop Storm Sewer Improvements

  • Council instructed Maintenance Worker Byerly to call Henning's and find out when they plan on completing the Shop Storm Sewer Improvement.

LMCIT Loss Control Survey on June 11, 2009

  • The back steps in the City Shop have been fixed.
  • A handrail for the steps on the east side of the City Shop has been purchased and is ready to be installed.
  • Councilmember Mueller asked Maintenance Worker Byerly to paint diagonal lines between the outlining yellow lines that he had painted in front of the shop electrical box.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly commented that that is not what the instructions said.
    • Councilmember Mueller replied that just doing the minimum is not always enough.

Community Hall Repair – Electrical Repairs – Fuse Boxes

  • Upstairs fuse boxes have been converted into breaker boxes.

Community Hall Repair – Cooling Fans

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen thanked Councilmember Trebesch for making the fan brackets and installing the fans. He also thanked Councilmember Trebesch for taking down the old fans.

Community Hall Repair – Shop Door

  • H2 Development Inc. submitted an estimate for replacing the east shop door for $1,620. This would include:
    • Demo existing side entry door.
    • Install Insulated steel commercial grade out swing door with frame. Falcon 3068F 90Min.
    • Sill & weather striping
    • AL53PD SAT 626 Key Lever Handle – keyed alike
    • B560P 626 Single CYL Deadbolt – keyed alike
    • Haul away all debris
    • Paint & finish by others.
  • K and K Services, LLC submitted an estimate for replacing the east shop door for $1,625.87. This would include:
    • New commercial steel door and frame, lever handle, dead bolt.
    • Labor for taking old door out and replacing with new commercial door.
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to award the contract for replacing the east City Shop door to H2 Development Inc., 870 Park Ave, Hamburg, MN, at the price of $1,620. Councilmember Cummiskey seconded and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.
  • Council discussed and decided to have the door replaced after the shop storm sewer improvement is completed.

Crack in Sidewalk on Railroad Street.

  • Council discussed what to do about the sidewalk crack for Mr. Harms (Hard Stuff Masonry & Concrete) has not returned to fix the crack by 430 Railroad St. On completion of the sidewalk Council agreed to pay Mr. Harms the full amount due and did not retain any payment amount.
  • Council decided to have Maintenance Worker Byerly fix the crack and to not to wait any longer for Mr. Harms to fix the sidewalk crack.
  • Council also decided to put a 5% retainage statement in any new contract with the City. City Clerk Gruenhagen will also look into a retainage fee policy for the City.




Sidewalk Repair in front of Parkside Tavern (490 Henrietta Avenue)

  • Hard Stuff Masonry & Concrete (Don Harms) submitted a quotation to tear out and replace the sidewalk in front of Parkside Tavern for $4,443.50. This would include:
    • Removal of existing concrete and replace with concrete no less than 4" thick.
    • Materials and labor costs.
    • Build ramp with hand rails for bar access.
  • Council discussed and decided to wait until spring, then draw up specs, and have interested companies re-bid at that time.

Time Sheets – Overtime Hours for 2009

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council if they would require Maintenance Worker Byerly start work at 7:00 a.m. instead of 6:00 a.m. as he is currently doing. By starting at 6:00 a.m. Maintenance Worker Byerly is unavailable in the afternoons when he is needed the most.
    • Council discussed and decided that 6:00 a.m. is to early of a start time and that he should be starting work no earlier than 7:00 a.m.
  • Council was informed by City Clerk Gruenhagen that Maintenance Worker Byerly already has been paid $5,800 in overtime and is on pace to collect $7,800 in overtime for the year.
    • Council discussed but no decision on how to cut overtime hours was made.

City Cell Phone Usage – Use of City Radio

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly was given a pay as you go cellular phone for the following reasons:
    • Help save the city some money.
    • Be able to contact him after hours for emergencies.
  • The following problems with the cellular phone were discussed:
    • Unable to contact Maintenance Worker Byerly because of the spotty cellular coverage in and around town.
    • Extremely high minute usage requiring continual purchasing of minutes, $25 for ninety (90) minutes. Maintenance Worker Byerly admitted to using the Cities cellular phone for private use. Council informed Mr. Byerly that the City cell phone is not to be used for personal calls. The Council also discussed using the City Radio as much as possible to help with coverage problems and reduce the use of minutes during the day.

Maintenance Schedules

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen again informed Maintenance Worker Byerly that a Maintenance Schedule has to be drawn up and used. This is an OSHA requirement on many things.
  • Council discussed and agreed to have Maintenance Worker Byerly draw up a Maintenance Schedule and Council can add to the list as needed.


  • City Council and City Clerk Gruenhagen that Maintenance Worker Byerly needs to show (and have) a more positive attitude. His behavior (continued grumbling) is unacceptable. City Clerk Gruenhagen and City Council feel they need to see improvement in Mr. Byerly's attitude, his work ethics and to show a little more ambition.

Safety Meeting

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly was told that there will be a safety meeting on November 4, 2009 and a mock OSHA inspection may be conducted in Hamburg. City Clerk Gruenhagen will also be involved with the mock inspection.

Deputy Clerk Report


Delinquent Utility Bills

  • Jeff Muri paid his delinquent amount and no further action is needed.
  • Emily Siebold is making her payments as scheduled.
  • Kim Barstad (960 Park Avenue) had her delinquent bill posted by the CSO. She did pay her delinquent amount, however, she was very upset over the posting. She commented we were costing the City more money to have the notice posted then what was past due. City Clerk Gruenhagen informed her that it did not cost the City any additional money, having the CSO post notices, for the City has a contract for their services.
  • Robert Gregonis (320 Sophia) paid his delinquent amount and is current with his payments.
  • Maintenance Worker Byerly had his delinquent bill posted by the CSO and as of tonight's Council meeting he has not paid or made payment arrangements. He did stop in the City office on Monday, October 12th, and was given a payment schedule, however, he has not returned it.
    • Council discussed and decided to have City Clerk Gruenhagen contact Mr. Byerly on Wednesday, October 14th, and have Mr. Byerly set up a payment schedule otherwise his water off will be turned off.

City Council Minutes

  • Deputy Clerk Block asked Council if they would like the minutes to be more of a summary or as detailed as they are now.
  • Council discussed and asked to have the minutes summarized. This would cut down on the time taken to complete them. They requested the minutes be completed by the first Friday after a council meeting.


City Clerk/Treasurer Report


Employee Valuation Forms and Written Warning Form

  • Council reviewed the employee valuation and written warning forms.
    • They asked for a signature line to be added on the warning form so the Mayor can sign off on it also.
  • Council discussed and decided to have City Clerk Gruenhagen fill out Maintenance Worker Byerly and Deputy Clerk Block's evaluation forms then present them to Council for review. City Clerk Gruenhagen evaluation form will be filled out by the Mayor.
  • Councilmember Barnes moved to adopt the three form employee evaluation forms and the employee written warning form with the one signature line added. Councilmember Mueller seconded and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.
  • Council decided to have the evaluation forms filled out by the first council meeting in November.

Snow Removal Contract with Wm. Mueller & Sons for 2009-10

  • Wm. Mueller & Sons submitted a contract for snowplowing for the 2009 -2010 snow season.
    • Blade with plow and wing - $126.50 per hour
    • Sand truck with plow and wing - $115.00 per hour
    • Loader 966 - $162.00
    • Trucks to haul snow - $85.00
    • Truck and Sander - $85.00
    • Salt/Sand - $15.00 per ton
    • Salt - $85.00 per ton
  • Council discussed if all salt or salt and sand or all sand should be used.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey made a motion to contract with Wm. Mueller & Sons for the snow plowing season (2009-10) and leave it up to Wm. Mueller & Sons discretion on what to use; sand, salt/sand or salt, Councilmember Mueller seconded and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

Lawn Mowing Bids for 2010

  • Dave's Season All, updated bid dated 10/05/2009:
    • Mow Park Lawn and Trim Park – $200.00 per mow/trim
    • One mow will be donated for Zummerfest.
  • Kottke Lawn and Landscape
    • Contract Period: April 1, 2010 to October 31, 2010 – Cost $240 per mow plus taxes.
    • Weekly (or as needed) mowing of park, ball fields, pavilion, play ground and associated areas.
    • Pick up and dispose of on site trash
    • Trimming and blowing of debris from hard surfaces included
    • Does not include weed control or fertilizing
  • Council discussed and decided to draft specs for lawn mowing in January 2010 and request bids in March 2010.

To The Home Wireless Internet – Insurance Coverage

  • Received copy of insurance coverage on October 14, 2009.

Darrell Grams Nuisance Matter – Letter from City Attorney

  • City Attorney Mac sent two certified letters to Mr. Grams, both were unclaimed.
  • Council discussed the next step and decided to send Mr. Grams a letter informing him that the city is appreciative of what he has already cleaned up and state what still needs to be done.

Request for Time-Off – October 15th and 16th

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen submitted a time off request for October 15th and 16th, 2009.
  • City Council granted his request.
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to grant City Clerk Gruenhagen request for time off on October 15th and 16th, 2009, seconded by Councilmember Barnes and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Informational Items (Comments)


Letter from Carver County Sheriff's Office (Policing for Townships)

  • Council and the Township Board are invited to meet with Mr. Olson on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Emergency Operations Center.

Letter from Senator Klobuchar to USDA (Fiber Optic Ring Project Funding)

  • Senator Klobuchar is trying to find out the reason for the delay in issuing funds for the Carver County Fiber Optic project.

2010 IUP Approval – Wastewater Loan Applications

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will follow up on this to make sure Hamburg has an application in for funding.

MN Valley Regional Rail Coalition Whistle Stop Tour

  • Councilmember Mueller wanted to document that not one Carver County Official was present at Hamburg during the Whistle Stop Tour.

Thank You from Arlington A's Baseball Association

  • The Arlington A's Baseball Association thanked Council for the use of Hamburg's bleachers during the State Baseball Tournament.

Ceiling Fans at Hall

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen again thanked Councilmember Trebesch and Councilmember Cummiskey for their work in removing the old ceiling fans and installing the new fans.



City Council Reports


Councilmember Mueller (Sewer & Water)

  • Councilmember Mueller informed the other members of Council that Doug Parrott (SEH) has requested a meeting with City Clerk Gruenhagen and himself to discuss cleaning out the County ditch. The meeting will be on Tuesday, October 20th, at 3:00.
  • Councilmember Mueller would like Mike Wanous (Carver County Soil & Water Conservation Representative) called to find out if the city can get a quote for the culvert.
  • Councilmember Mueller informed Council about the information he had received concerning what the City of Hamburg is responsible for on County Road 50. A copy of the 1956 agreement will be faxed to City Clerk Gruenhagen.
  • Councilmember Mueller would like to get prices for a new city sign if ok'd by the other members of Council. The other Council members had no objection.


Councilmember Cummiskey (Streets) had no further comments.


Councilmember Trebesch (Buildings)

  • Councilmember Trebesch asked if there is a city ordinance pertaining to having a dog tied up but having full access to the city sidewalk.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will check into this.


Councilmember Barnes (Parks) had no further comments.


Mayor Malz had no further comments.


Approve Claims List for October 2009


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen explained claim #14082 and #14083 were reserved for payroll checks.

Councilmember Mueller made a motion to accept claim number 14050 through 14083, Councilmember Barnes seconded and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Councilmember Mueller moved to adjourn the Hamburg City Council meeting at 9:54 p.m., seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council Members were present.



                                        Submitted by:




                                        Sue Block                                                        Deputy Clerk

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vikings success could raise your taxes

I know that Viking fans has longed for the day that their beloved team would be good enough to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season but it may have come at the worst possible time for Minnesota taxpayers. With the economy still running near the cliff of insanity, unemployment high, and a mounting debt in Washington D.C., taxpayers – not just in Minnesota – ought to be worried. The 9-1 start by the Vikings is the best in recent memory and they do look like a team that can compete for the NFC title. Along with that is the fact that the lease the Viking has with the Metrodome runs out at the end of the 2011 season. Zigi Wilf and his associates have already made it clear that staying the Dome, as is, is not an option.

While Zigi may say he wants to keep the Vikings in Minnesota, let's face it, Zigi is a business man first. Right now there is a group in Los Angeles that is courting the NFL for a franchise. At last look the mock up the proposed stadium had Vikings colors. I am not saying; rather just saying. Anyone that has owned a business near a stadium will attest that having a professional sports team nearby boost the bottom line. In a time where people are struggling, I can see some Minnesota Legislators making that argument when proposing a new stadium for the Vikings. At the same time, Zigi will play the move card at some point during the discussion. Actually, I think he already has without even saying it by saying that a lease extension is a non-starter.

Are taxpayers ready for a Legislative session that discusses raising of taxes to provide funds for a new Vikings stadium? Let's face it Favre cannot play quarterback forever and soon the Vikings will be turned back over to T-Jack. What then? Will Viking fans continue to support the team with sellouts if the team stumbles in a couple of years? I doubt it. Don't get me wrong, the notion of the Vikings playing in any other state is insane. Then again I do identify more with the Los Angeles Lakers than their former home in Minnesota. Now if the Vikings go on to win the Super Bowl imagine the leverage it will give Zigi and the organization to strap the Minnesotan taxpayer over the barrel.

Or is there another way to fund a stadium? Does the State Legislature have the guts to take on a powerful lobby group and risk the loss of a key political donor to keep the Vikings in Minnesota? The donor and lobby group I refer to is the Native American lobby. The notion of a Racino has been floated around for several years and each year it gets voted down. Now, if the proceeds were to save the Vikings – what warm-blooded Minnesota State Legislature would vote against that? Especially if Favre delivers the Lombardi trophy. Or will the taxpayers of Minnesota be saddled with another heavy handed tax to provide another wealthy businessman a place to house his pet project?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hamburg City Council Agenda – November 24, 2009

6:30. Public Hearing – Ordinance Number 133


6:45. Public Hearing – Ordinance Number 134


7:00. Call City Council Meeting to Order @ 7:00 PM

  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Miscellaneous Business (Public Comments)
  • Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption
  • Old City Business (Memo)
  • Approve Minutes for October 13, 2009 & October 27, 2009


7:10. Fire Department Report

  • US Fish & Wildlife Grant & 2009 FEMA Grant
  • H1N1 Virus – Flu Shots
  • Toy Drive Breakfast – December 6, 2009
  • Safety Recall – 2001 Ford Econoline


7:20. Ordinance Number 133

  • Chapter 160: Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance


7:25. Ordinance Number 134

  • Chapter 95.06 of the Hamburg City Code pertaining to (A) Definition of kennel and (B) Kennel as a nuisance.


7:30. Ron Seymour – S.E.H.

  • Financing Options
    • Storm Water and Sanitary Sewer Improvement Project


8:00. Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)

  • Project List (Added Items)
  • Storm Sewer Repair (City Shop)
  • 420 Maria Avenue Curb Stop
  • Well Inspections – McCarthy Well Company
  • Picnic Tables (Paint)
  • LMCIT Loss Control Survey on June 11, 2009
  • Community Hall/Community Center Repairs
    • Tables for CC/Hall
    • Cooling Fans/Electrical Repairs/Doors
    • Wall Heaters/Fans
      • Estimates to Replace Wall Heater Units
  • 2010 Budget Items
  • General Maintenance Schedules


8:20. Deputy Clerk Report

  • Delinquent Utility Bills Report
  • Filing System for City Council




8:30. City Clerk/Treasurer Report

  • Temporary On-Sale Liquor Licenses for Hamburg Lions Club
    • January 8th, 23rd, 30th, 2010 - February 6th, 2010
  • 2010 Policing Contract with Carver County
  • Set Special Meeting – Budget Workshop Meeting
    • 2010 Final Budget
    • City Fee Schedule for 2010
  • December 22nd City Council Meeting
  • Time Off Requests (November & December)
  • Informational Items (Comments)
    • School Board Referendum Vote
      • December 1, 2009
    • Carver County Community Development Agency
      • Foreclosure Services
      • Community Land Trust Program
    • Xcel Energy – Routine Vegetation Maintenance
    • City Offices Closed November 26th & 27th for Thanksgiving


8:45. City Council Reports

  • Councilmember Mueller Report (Sewer & Water)
  • Councilmember Cummiskey Report (Streets)
    • Handicap Bathroom for Hall
  • Councilmember Trebesch Report (Buildings)
  • Councilmember Barnes Report (Parks)
  • Mayor Malz Report


9:00. Approve Added Claims for November 2009


9:05. Recess City Council Meeting


9:10. Move to Closed Meeting for the purpose of Employee Reviews [Unless any employee requests an Open Meeting for his/her review. Any Open Meeting Employee Review(s) shall be held prior to any Closed Meeting Employee Review(s)]

  • Sue Block
  • Dennis Byerly
  • Jeremy Gruenhagen


10:00. Adjourn City Council Meeting (Adjournment of City Council Meeting following completion of Employee Reviews)



Sarah Palin: What is the liberal media worried about?

I just do not get it. My hope is that while I write that logic or reason will seep in that enables me to understand the liberal media's quest to soil Sarah Palin. No one had heard of the former Alaskan Governor prior to Sen. McCain's decision to add her to the Republican Presidential ticket. Since that time she was quit as Governor and written a new book called "Going Rogue". Today she is at Fort Bragg signing books. At first there was not going to be media allowed then outcry came from the liberal press to which a change was made to allow media attendance at the book signing. It is a book signing, yet the liberal media is doing what it can to discredit and discount Governor Palin. Why?

The latest issue of Newsweek had Sarah Palin on the cover. The photo on the cover had Sarah Palin in a jogging suit that was originally shot for a different magazine. Newsweek posed the question "How Do you solve a problem like Sarah?" on the cover with the tag line of "she's bad news for the GOP – and for everybody else, too." I still don't get it. What is it about Sarah Palin that scares the liberal press? Perhaps the Augusta Chronicle editorial staff member has it right as to the hysteria of media probing of Palin by stating, "We understand the media's fear. Sarah Palin embodies a conservative values system that horrifies liberals. But what's really frightening is how the media take those values and reflect them in a funhouse mirror back to the public, trying to pass that off as the truth"(

Over the weekend the Senate finally moved forward on health care reform by voting to allow the bill to the floor. So, why is that not the hot topic of the day? Why is the liberal media not digging into the bill to vet it, to bring to light the amount of new taxes, to investigate the purpose of the Health Benefits Advisory Board, or why the bill, if passed, does not establish a public option until 4 or 5 years later? Instead the media is spending a lot of air time to the Sarah Palin book tour. In reading the news articles about Sarah Palin, I may have found my answer in a blogger on The Huffington Post. Eric Boehlert posted "Palin's book and Obama's bow: A media week to forget" ( Mr. Boehlert lashes out at the mass media as reporting on "pointless, vacuous 'news' stories" because it is "easy, lazy, and safe thing" to report on.

President Obama has not even been in office a year, yet the media is doing what they can to discuss the faults of Sarah Palin. Can the media please get back to solid, investigative reporting of the news of the day? All this addiction by the liberal press to cover the Palin book tour does is distracting the public from the real news of the day. Well I guess I did get my answer to my original point. Journalism is dead in the United States and people are not really interested in items that will affect our lives like health care reform, increase taxes, mounting debt, printing of money by the Fed, and the elephant in the room; inflation.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Beware of China’s Role in the Health Care Debate

Americans stay on your toes this weekend as the Democrats in the Senate look to vote this Saturday to bring Sen. Reid's health care reform bill to the floor for debate. In order to open debate, on the bill, the Senate will need 60 votes to bring the bill to the floor. Republicans are looking to stall the process by requiring the bill be read word-for-word which is something typically motioned waived and accepted without objection. Normally I agree with dispensing of the reading but in this case it is extremely important that the entire bill be read. By reading the entire bill, Americans can be assured that our elected officials are not voting, again (Stimulus Bill), without reading the bill in its entirety. Per Senate rules all bills are to be read three times on three separate legislative days. Reading the bill once is sufficient and I hope that Republicans do not use this procedure to delay a vote.

The CBO scored the Senate bill and put the price tag at $849B over ten years. The Senate version, according to the CBO, would reduce the deficit by $127B. The CBO report can be seen here: Part of the scoring includes the belief that 1/3rd of States will opt-out of the program and the start of the public option is push backed to 2015. A few concerns here: 1. What if no States opt-out? 2. If reform is needed, why are we waiting until 2015?

I understand that if a public option is passed and a Health Benefits Advisory Committee is established it will take time to iron the red tape out but 6 years? Do our elected officials believe that we are naïve and stupid? I think so. During those six years it will give the government an opportunity to tie the public option, Medicare, and Medicaid to the States in a manner that if they opt-out it will cost them Federal funds much in the same manner the transit dollars were tied to the lowering of the DWI limit, speed limit, and drinking age. The States need to learn, and the citizens of those States, that we cannot continue to allow the growing beast in Washington D.C. to exert so much power over our lives. Thomas Jefferson sums it up best, "Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition."

Concerns are already being raised by Governors over the Senate health care bill because it will shift responsibility to paying for the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid onto the States. My hope is that the States will now finally use this abuse of Federal power to exert their 10th Amendment rights. The trouble is that too many States have become drunk on the Federal tit and may not be sober enough to fight for their rights. Granted we are the United States but our Founding Fathers wrestled with the concept of a central government leading to tyranny. In just over 200 years we have seen the central government of the United States grow in power and stature.

We hope that all elected officials are looking out for the best of all Americans but let's face it, what is good for California may not be applicable for Minnesota and vice versa. Government ought to be local. The role of our Federal Government is a growing beast that must be tamed before it consumes us all and ruins the great land we have all come to cherish. The mounting debt and unchecked actions by the Federal Reserve already have our biggest benefactor worried about repayment of debt. China is not looking favorably on the actions of the United States and is looking to replace the American dollar as the standard world currency.

The health care reform being proposed by Congress will only exasperate the problem. We can achieve reform without $900B bills. The Federal Government needs to be reminded of their limited role and I hope citizens of the different States realized that too. More is at stake than reform of the health care system with the two bills floating through Washington D.C. Our future as a country rides on the shoulders of our States to exert the power granted them in the United States Constitution to stand up the tyranny of central government that resides in Washington D.C. Or fear the wrath of the debt collector.

Whether you agree or disagree with actions being taken on health care reform be wise to the beast that grows in Washington D.C. Be wise to the mounting debt and the day of reckoning when the debt collector comes calling. It is not too late to stem the tide. Call your local representatives and Governors to lit the fire of defending the 10th Amendment and reclaim what is rightfully the States.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Lack of Accountability is more than a Republican Cancer

This morning I open up my email to find a message from Mitch Stewart, Director at Organizing for America, with the memo line of "Accountability". Stewart writes:

"Thirty-three Republicans in Congress represent districts that voted to send President Obama to Washington to reform our health insurance system.

And 32 of them -- all but one -- voted against health insurance reform. They voted with the insurance industry, and against their constituents. They voted against ending discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, against reining in skyrocketing premiums, and against expanding health coverage to more Americans."

First off, just because a district voted for Obama in the Presidential election does not translate into agreeing with health care reform that Obama envisions. The funny thing is, as President Obama admits, that Congress is in agreement on about 80% of what is required to bring true reform to the health care industry which includes ending pre-existing conditions discrimination, lowering premiums, and expanding coverage. Where the partisan debate takes off is how to lower premiums and expand coverage (among a few other items) and not whether or not reform is required. The August break proved that many constituents in Democrat strongholds do not want ObamaCare either.

Mr. Stewart continues, "So we've started an aggressive radio ad campaign to make sure these 32 understand that if they vote against the wishes and interests of their constituents again, they will be held accountable." Okay let's look at accountability. Sen. Obama campaigned on hope and change platform. The platform always stated that no lobbyists will be in his administration and yet it has taken place. Sen. Obama said he bring change to Washington D.C. to bridge the partisan divide that exists. I have yet to see any of that in the health care reform debate. I had the luxury this summer to watch the committee meetings and the debate on the floor of both Houses of Congress and did not see any meaningful actions by President Obama to bridge the divide; rather I witnessed a wedge jammed in.

The conclusion of the letter sent out by Mr. Stewart states, "This is what real accountability looks like. It's the first step toward ensuring that Congress represents the voters who sent them to Washington – and it could well be critical to winning the final health reform vote." Okay Mr. Stewart, first you start off saying these 32 Republicans are not voting their constituents interests because they voted for Obama in the last Presidential election and they you close with "first step toward ensuring that Congress represents the voters who sent them to Washington". So which is it? Do the Republicans vote on health care reform based on their elections results or Obama's election results?

Now, I agree that our elected officials need to be held accountable for the actions and non-actions while in Congress. That being said, can someone explain to me Mr. Stewart's logic here? I thought Obama was to bring hope and change that would be a bridge in the partisan politics that exists in Washington D.C. While we mull this over, I was alerted to a fleecing of America story that is taking place. The Canada Free Press reported that our First Lady is spending $1,591,200 on staff.

The First Lady serves no governmental role so why does Michelle Obama require 22 staff members? Michelle Obama was quoted in the article as saying, "In my own life, in my own small way, I have tried to give back to this country that has given me so much. See, that's why I left a job at a big law firm for a career in public service." WHAT!!! This is the same person that was quoted during the campaign has not being proud of her country. Some of you may be asking what does this have to do with Mr. Stewart's email; simply put it is accountability. Why is the media, in the United States, not putting the White House to task on the fleecing of the American taxpayer by the First Lady? To see a list of First Lady's staff and salaries go to The list does not include the makeup artist and hairstylist that travel with Michelle Obama.

I agree with Mr. Stewart on accountability and that taxpayers need to keep their politicians honest to the reasons why they were elected. Perhaps I am off my rocker and I am sure there will be some that view this as an ideological attack on the Obama's but it is really none of that. It is all about accountability. Then again more and more Americans routinely look to the government to solve issues of accountability. Can we really rely on those elected officials when they themselves are not being good steward of taxpayer money and interests?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ISD 108 Superintendant Corlett visits Hamburg to discuss $10.2M bond referendum

District residence, for years schools have waited for expansion and updates instead of planning for them by setting aside a portion of the budget year over year. Last night the hamlet of Hamburg had an opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns, and get more information on the bond referendum for the Central School District. About 10 people showed up to listen to Superintendant Brian Corlett explain the reasoning behind the bond referendum. The expectation is that the school district will see a 500 student influx over the next 5 to 7 years and to ensure that the school district can continue to offer smaller class sizes whiling making the elementary school and middle/high school viable for the next 30 years updates are required according to Superintendant Corlett.

The $10.2M bond referendum, at a 0% interest rate, will enable the district to make updates to both schools to meet the influx demand and maintain the competitive advantage smaller class sizes offers Central School District students. The proposed budgets, established by architect Paul Youngquist (I apologize to Paul in advanced if I misspelled his last name or missed it all together), is for $3,899,800 to go to the elementary school and $6,355,000 allotted to the middle/high school. In the voter information packet an architect drawing shows an unearthed and expanded elementary school. Voters beware that the bond referendum does not provide for an expansion of the elementary school. When asked about expansion of the elementary school, Superintendant Corlett indicated that there was nothing allocated for expansion nor does the school board have plans to expand the elementary school.

When the discussion moved toward the middle/high school an interesting revelation occurred; the middle/high school is comprised of six different additions that have creating challenges to heat/cool and properly ventilate the school. Although the district has not been warned or fined by the State due to poor ventilation, Superintendant Corlett feels that the updates are needed to drive efficiencies and modernize both schools. Plus, there is a perception that an underground elementary school contains poor air quality even though every test performed, according to Superintendant Corlett, has shown the "air quality inside is better than the air quality outside."

The meeting lasted just over an hour and fifteen minutes. When pressed about the budget and what actions are being done to create a "raining day" fund so in 15 years the school district does not have to come back to the public for more money, the answer was the flat lining of the budget from the State and the potential that 27% of the budget may be held by the State next year. Another budget concern raised is the retirement benefits that the district will need to account for in the near future. An interesting observation of the meeting is that nearly all those in attendance appeared to be comfortable with the notion of the bond referendum and an increase in property tax. Evidence of this observation was the comment of "0% interest rate" being the key selling point of one attendee.

After the meeting I chatted privately with Superintendant Corlett and an invitation was extended to me to look over the budget as one of my concerns is why the district hasn't set aside money for the past 15 years. No further public sessions are planned but Superintendant Corlett said an article will be coming out in the Norwood Times, which only about 25% of school district residence subscribe to, and he plans to update his blog as well. While I am on the fence as how to vote, I encourage all residence within the school district to learn more about the referendum prior to voting. Information is available at
but don't settle for that information.
Another opportunity to get answers is on November 23rd when the school board meets again.
According to the ISD 108 Board of Education Goals for 2007-2008 and beyond ( is to “Develop a comprehensive long-range facility plan for District 108.” While we cannot reverse the sands of time, I am curious as to what budgetary elements of the comprehensive plan exist to mitigate the chance of the Board coming back to District residents in the future for further referendums. If smaller class sizes are not driving the 100 or so residence that live in the northern segment of Cologne to Central then why are they choosing Waconia? I encourage all residents to become more involved and hold the Board more accountable for their actions or non-actions. Remember that the vote is December 1, 2009.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force practicing rationed care with guideline changes in mammograms?

A report by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force established new guidelines on Monday for breast cancer examinations. The new guidelines are, which are for the general population and not patients deemed high risk for breast cancer, are (

  • Most women in their 40s should not routinely get mammograms.
  • Women 50 to 74 should get a mammogram every other year until they turn 75, after which the risks and benefits are unknown. (The task force's previous guidelines had no upper limit and called for exams every year or two.)
  • The value of breast exams by doctors is unknown. And breast self-exams are of no value.

The confusion behind the new guidelines has already created a stir. Even though many in the cancer society are easing back the promotion of self-exams, they are still advocating that mammograms be performed for women earlier than the new guidelines. Dr. Otis Brawley, the society chief medical officer, said in a statement, "This is one screening test I recommend unequivocally, and would recommend to any woman 40 and over." The World Health Organization recommends mammograms are performed every two years after a woman reaches 50 years of age while Britain looks to perform mammograms every three years.

Ask yourself this, why is the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force looking to change the age to start breast cancer detection? One only need to take a look at the current health care reform debate going on in Washington D.C. Part of the reform bill passed by the House; H.R. 3962 An aspect of the bill that was labeled as "Death Panels" by the Right and said not to exist by the Left is indeed what is going on. See Sec. 223. Health Benefits Advisory Committee on page 111 of the H.R. 3962 bill. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is just the precursor to the Health Benefits Advisory Committee. The reason why the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force stated for moving the mammograms from age 40 to age 50 is because the research performed showed that screening 1.300 women in their 50's proved to save one life while it took 1,900 women in their 40's to save the same life.

While the change in guidelines only has immediate impact for those women on Medicare and Medicaid it does lay lend insight into what Americans can expect from the Health Benefits Advisory Committee if health care reform is passed in its current form. President Obama claims, repeatedly, that if one likes their insurance they will be able to keep it and that no government bureaucrat will get between the patient and their doctor; really? Isn't the change in guidelines by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force doing just that? Granted it will, to start with, affect those on Medicare and Medicaid. Americans need to wake up and see what health care reform is really all about; more government control over your lives.

As I have stated several times, health care reform can be achieved without a 2,000 page bill or raising taxes or increasing spending. So, why do our leaders in Congress feel that adding a public option will increase choice and competition to the point that it will achieve the goal of lowering cost and premiums? I still have not seen an answer to this question – on any stage! One argument the Right has been making is that the current health care reform being proposed by the Progressives will lead to rationed care. I ask you, isn't that what the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force is doing with changing the guidelines of mammograms?

Women of America see the change guidelines for mammograms for what it is; a government bureaucrat coming between you and your doctor. Write your member in Congress and the president to voice your opinion on the change in guidelines. For the rest of Americans realize this is just the start if health care reform passes as the government will start decided when and how often other preventive services will be performed; essentially rationing care.