Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Public Option fails twice

The Senate Finance Committee heard two different amendments yesterday that both called for a public option. Sen. Rockefeller's amendment fell failed to win majority support with Sen. Baucus (D-MT), Sen. Conrad (D-ND), Sen. Nelson (D-FL), Den. Carper (D-DE), and Sen. Lincoln (D-AR) joining the Republicans on the committee in voting 15 to 8 to reject the amendment. The other public option bill was offered by Sen. Schumer (D-NY) that was also rejected, 13 to 10, with Sen. Baucus (D-MT), Sen. Conrad (D-ND), and Sen. Lincoln (D-AR) joining Republicans in opposition. The main difference between the two proposed amendments was Sen. Rockefeller's bill set rates for the first two years at Medicare rates and then negotiated them afterwards where Sen. Schumer's amendment established rates by negotiating right away with doctors and hospitals.

During the debate on both bills the Democrats seeking a public option raised the point of competition and believes that a public option is the only method to ensure "fair" competition. The trouble I see with this logic is the government cannot establish a "fair" playing field if they are player and regulator. Sen. Grassley (R-IA) concurs with, "Government is not a fair competitor. It's a predator." Naturally the premiums of a public option will be less due to the lack of overhead but the missing element is funding. With low cost, premiums, option to people and businesses, we will see more opt for such an option thus increasing the amount of funding required to sustain. The new required funds will either come from higher taxes or premiums. Either way it will not be good for Americans and ultimately not achieve the goal of driving down health care costs.

If Democrats are serious about competition, I hate to sound like a broken record, then all for interstate health care insurance programs to exist. As I said yesterday, during the debate the Democrats referenced a chart that displayed the monopoly and oligopoly that many insurers experience in the vast majority, over 70%, of the states. So, to eliminate the monopolies and oligopolies currently instituted is best accomplished by opening up competition between states. Adding just one more option, public option or CO-OP, will not achieve the necessary additional competitive forces required to drive down premiums. Why does Econ 101 come into the minds of Congress? Perhaps it is because the vast majority of them are lawyers and have not worked in the private sector.

Sen. Rockefeller frustration boiled over, during the conversation with his amendment, when he pleaded that, "the public option will be optional. It will be voluntary. It will be affordable to people who are now helpless before their insurance companies." The trouble Sen. Rockefeller is that it will not be optional in the long run as companies will discover it is cheaper to kick in the penalty than to offer insurance benefits. Plus, a mandate that stipulates that all citizens of the United States must have health insurance eliminates the voluntary aspect of any option let alone the public option.

Although Sen. Baucus voted against both amendments he did say, "There's a lot to like about a public option." I do not see anything to like about the public option. The public option will only grow the size of government and enable lazy Americans that feel government is the answer. In addition, the public option will not breed competition which I have clearly stated above. Why do we, as Americans, continue to allow such an argument to be made? Someone please show me how adding a public option increases competition!!!!!! If no one can, please join me in requesting all in the debate on health care to remove this argument that a public option will increase competition.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Public Option does not increase competition required to lower costs

Today the Senate Finance Committee will be debating several amendments that contain a public option. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), while debating Sen. Rockefeller's (D-WV) public option amendment, stated that the only way to achieve competition in health care is to institute a public option. During the debate the liberal Democrats referenced a chart that showed that competition does not exist right now as health care insurance companies, roughly 75%, hold a monopoly or an oligopoly in the states they operate. I agree that more competition is required to drive down cost. Where I differ, as do moderate Democrats and the majority of Republicans, the public option does not foster competition. Before my progressive friends "jump the shark", hear me out.

The trouble with the logic of a public option leading to competition is that adding just ONE additional plan does not break the oligopoly. If you have two plans offered and add one more plan, how does that increase competition? Yes it does offer another option but an oligopoly still exists. To break out of the monopoly or oligopoly trend across America, in regards to health care insurance, needs more than just one option. That being said, why are liberal Democrats lack the understanding on how to breed competition? To create the competition, as I said in what I'd suggest for health care reform, is to open the state borders.

Allow everyone in the United States to purchase health care insurance from any state in our nation will create the competition that is required for drive down the cost of health care premiums. The public option will lead to less competition. Now the public option will not act like a light switch to the private insurance programs; rather it will act as a dimmer switch. After the public option is established and running, American's will lose their current insurance program.

Democrats floated the notion that the Mayo Clinic came out in favor of a public option that is similar to Medicare. This claim was false, http://healthpolicyblog.mayoclinic.org/2009/09/23/mayo-clinics-position-on-the-public-option/, as the Mayo Clinic blog states, "If the "public plan" means a government-run, price-controlled, Medicare-like insurance model, we do not support it because it has been shown over many years that such a model has not controlled costs and had punished doctors, hospitals and others that provide high-quality, affordable care." Just a few days ago the Mayo Clinic reported, in the Star Tribune, which lost over $730M is medical costs of Medicare patients. Now, where does a hospital/clinic, like the Mayo Clinic, going to make up the lost revenues? It falls on the shoulders of those with non-government run insurance.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mi) just claimed that, per the CBO, only 25% of those without insurance right now would opt into the public option. The popular of given of those uninsured is 48M people. Based on Sen. Stabenow, per the CBO, we are looking at 12M people. In a system that already offers health care for, roughly, 178M people how will we be able to ensure "real competition and choice" as Sen. Stabenow just said when it only affects 6.7% of the market? Any ration person understands that adding 7% to anything is not creating competition or big enough of anything to mix the overall pot. If the ultimate goal is to offer choice and to reduce cost of premiums to Americans then Congress needs to move in the direction of doing so by making health care insurance available interstate. By going interstate it will increase commerce as states like Iowa, as Democrats claim, has only 1 insurance option will be able to purchase insurance in other states and it will allow health care insurance providers to enter into more markets.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Longer school days a bad idea

"We can no longer afford an academic calendar designed when America was a nation of farmers who needed their children at home plowing the land at the end of each day," said President Obama last week and added, "That calendar may have once made sense, but today, it puts us at a competitive disadvantage. Our children spend over a month less in school than children in South Korea. That is no way to prepare them for a 21st Century economy" (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2008838703_schools11.html). The president suggestion is to either extend the time per day in school or go into summer. In addition to the extension of class time, the president is looking to increase the pay for teachers which the Unions are in favor of.

Randi Weingarten, president of American Federation of Teachers, likes the idea of higher pay for teachers as "Teachers want to make a difference in a kids' lives, and they appreciate a president who shares that goal and will spend his political capital to provide the resources to make it happen." While I agree with the president on rewarding teachers that do their job well, the trouble is with the Unions still in play the bad teachers will get rewarded as well. Plus, how do we really track a teacher's progress to determine if they are a "good" teacher or not?

I was talking to my cousin, whose wife is in education, a few months back about the need for changes in the educational budget. My cousin mentioned that teachers are evaluated by other teachers to determine how well of a job they are doing. As we discussed that having this type of peer evaluation is dangerous since Teacher A is not likely to give Teacher B a bad mark knowing that Teacher B will be evaluating Teacher A as well. The bigger question is how to evaluate the teachers that mitigates the "I scratch your back you scratch my back" philosophy.

As the president moves forward, I do not agree with any change to the school year that keeps the kids in school longer during the day. One of the proposal's being circulated is to change the school day to a 12-hour day. The kids will start at 7 a.m. and then get out at 7 p.m. The trouble I see with this approach is the government will take out one of the most important family opportunities; the dinner table. Too often parents find themselves chasing their kids around to volleyball, softball, debate, hockey, etc. and do not make time to sit down as a family to eat dinner.

Instead of making a good home cooked meal, these same parents, out of convenience, stop at a fast food joint to get the family their dinner. To add to the loss of the dinner table, if one has a child in extracurricular activities that will push their day later into the evening as well. The later evenings will reduce the time for homework and the ability of the child to obtain adequate sleep for the next day. Now, if the president was to look at using part of the summer to achieve his goal of educating the youth, I think I could get on board for that.

The agrarian calendar is losing its application; yet it still holds applicable in certain sectors of the United States. My thought on school is for kids to attend school in segments. The segments would be three months with a month off. This would break up the school year so students do not get fatigued and it would prevent retention loss that often takes place over the summer break. The calendar can be set up to allow July or August to be the month off during the summer time. But before any change in the school calendar is made the situation behind budgets needs to be addressed so school work smarter and rely on the drug of bigger budgets that result in higher property taxes.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sen. Bunning’s Transparency Amendment a delay tactic?

I have been watching the Senate Finance Committee meetings over the past few days and it has been very entertaining. Sen. Baucus is getting his time in the spotlight and is making the most of it. Much of the amendment voting has gone along party lines. Sen. Jim Bunning (R-NY) issued an amendment on Wednesday that would have required that a final and complete cost analysis be completed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). In addition to making the CBO analysis public the amendment would require the Senate Finance Committee to post the final bill for 72 hours prior to voting on it. Sen. Bunning defended his amendment by saying, "This bill will affect every American and I think it is our duty to provide full disclosure of all the facts. I don't see anything wrong with the committee taking a few extra weeks to ensure we get this right and so that all members of Congress and the public are given the opportunity to read the language and know what the true cost is."

Sen. Bunning's amendment makes sense. A similar bill was offered in the House that would have required members of the House of Representatives to wait 72 hours to ensure everyone had an opportunity to read any bill prior to passage. Why are Democrats in such a hurry to pass legislation that will have far reaching affects? Everyone agrees that health care reform is needed and as the president has said, 80% of the reform is agreed upon it is just the final 20% that is in question. While President Obama has championed transparency then why the Senate Finance Committee, and the rest of Congress doesn't, not adopt a 72 hour "reading" period prior to passing any legislation.

In respect to the Bunning amendment, Sen. John Kerry (D-Ma) claimed the amendment, "fundamentally a delay tactic". Where is this delay tactic? If the bill is complete and ready for vote, why not allow the CBO to score the bill and allow the public to see the bill? In order for the CBO to properly score any bill they require full legislative language to be completed. Sen. Snowe (R-Me), the only real hope on the Finance Committee for bipartisan action, was visibly frustrated during the debate of the Bunning amendment. "I don't understand the resistance," said Sen. Snowe. She went on to question, "What is the rush? Is there something happening in two weeks that we cannot wait?"

Sen. Baucus rush is to get a bill to the floor of the Senate before October 15th when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reed (D-Nv) warned that reconciliation will be considered if major progress has not be made. If Sen. Reed is serious in using a procedural move, meant for budget issues, to complete passage of health care reform, that is the rush or the "happening" that Sen. Snowe is inquiring about. It is time for Congress to put aside partisan politics and procedural moves and enact true reform that includes choice, drives down cost, and includes tort reform. Unfortunately none of the bills being discussed does all of this.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Capital Gains Revenue optimized at 20% tax rate

Yesterday in my entry, Baucus Bill Increases tax on All Americans, a friend of mine on Facebook said that my assertion of "historically speaking, when taxes are raised, i.e. capital gains, the government realizes less revenue" was wrong because "simple logic tells us that is not true increasing taxes brings in more revenue that is EXACTLY what it does by definition." My friend pointed those on Facebook, myself included, to www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1286
website. The website states that "to raise revenue over the long run, capital gains tax cuts would need to have extraordinary huge, positive effects on savings, investment, and economic growth that virtually no respected expert or institution believes they have." The site further warns that "Especially when capital gains cut is temporary, like the 2003 tax cut that Gibson cited, investors have a strong incentive to sell stocks and other assets in order to realize their capital gains before the capital gains rate increases. This can cause a short-term increase in capital gains tax revenues, as happened after the 2003 tax cut."

In a Joint Economic Committee Study, chaired by Jim Saxton, in June of 1997, concluded that "The analysis that follows unambiguously concludes that the current capital gains tax rate is too high. Analysis of data from previous changes in the capital gains tax rates indicates that a reduction in the capital gains tax rate from 28 percent to 20 percent will result in a substantial increase in capital gains tax revenue in the short run. In the long run, revenue may either increase or decrease slightly. If there are any revenue losses in the long run, they will be exceedingly small because revenue reductions due to the lower rate will be offset by revenue enhancements resulting from increase capital gains realizations. A lower capital gains tax rate will both (1) release capital resources that many investors continue to hold in order to delay or avoid a tax liability and (2) reduce an impediment to the purchase and sale of capital assets. Both of these factors will improve the efficiency of capital markets and benefit the entire economy" (http://www.house.gov/jec/fiscal/tx-grwth/gwartney/optimal/optimal.htm).

The study goes on further to demonstrate, via a graphs, to display that lowering the capital tax rates over the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s had higher revenue for the Federal government than when the tax rate was increased during the late 1980’s. The capital gains tax was cut in 1978 which saw a rise in tax revenue from $100.7B in ’’77 to $112B in ’78 and then in ’79 saw $139B in tax revenue per the Joint Economic Committee study. Then in 1986 capital gains tax was increased, that went into effect in 1987, resulted in a spike of tax revenue but, as the study points out, “When considering the long-run effect of capital gains tax rates on revenues, one cannot fail to be struck by the fact that, even though there were substantial income growth over that decade, the capital gains realization were lower in the early 1990s than during the early 1980s when capital gains tax rate was 20 percent.” The study concludes that “a lower capital gains tax rate of 20 percent would have produced about 43 percent more realized capital gains than the 28 percent rate.”

The claim that my friends source that “Capital gains tax cuts either make the nation’s daunting long-term budget problems even more severe or consume scare resources (primarily to the benefit of the most well-off) that could otherwise be used for purposes such as moving toward universal health coverage or improving the educational system.” I tried to find to see if the Joint Economic Committee Study had updated their information on capital gains tax but did not unearth one. The current capital gains tax rate is 15%. As the study pointed out, in a regression analysis, the optimal capital gains tax rate for long term investments is 20%. That being said, I can support an increase to 20% but the timing will be the question. The stock market is starting to gain steam and may fall short of 10,000 if a rate hike takes place. Unemployment is high and, although Paulsen say differently, America is in a recession. Although if Congress did raise the capital gains tax rate from 15% to 20%, maybe a similar increase in tax revenue would take place that took place back in 1986.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hamburg City Council Meeting Minutes – August 11, 2009

Mayor Malz called the regular meeting of the Hamburg City Council to order at 7:00 p.m. Councilmember Larry Mueller, Councilmember Brian Cummiskey, Councilmember Steve Trebesch, Councilmember John Barnes, City Clerk Jeremy Gruenhagen, Deputy Clerk Sue Block, and Maintenance Worker Dennis Byerly were present. Fire Chief Brad Droege arrived at 7:20 p.m. Others present were Ryan McNamee (Carver County Attorney's Office), Jim Keeler (Carver County Prosecutor) Allison O'Toole (Carver County Prosecution Assistant), Brian Biermann (210 Broadway Avenue), Richard Odoms (150 Jacob Street) arriving at 7:30 p.m., and Shawn Sprengeler (To The Home Wireless Internet) arriving at 8:40 p.m.


Miscellaneous Business (Public Comments)


  • Brian Biermann representing the Emanuel Lutheran Church (18175 County Road 50, Hamburg, MN) requested the use of the City Park on August 22, 2009 for their annual Rib Fest social gathering. Mr. Biermann request if Council would consider allowing them the use of the park free of charge. (This request was discussed under the City Clerk/Treasurer's Report.)


Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption


  • Added – Storm Water Management Fund
  • Added – Waiver from the Arlington Baseball Association
  • Added – Merging of Embarq and CentruyTel

  • Added – Building Report
  • Added – Request from Emanuel Lutheran Church
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to approve the agenda with the five additions, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Approve Minutes for July 14, 2009


  • Councilmember Mueller moved to approve the July 14, 2009 City Council Meeting Minutes, seconded by Councilmember Barnes and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Old City Business


  • Number 1 – Councilmember Trebesch to contact Rick Stockman to chip wood pile at the ponds.
    • Councilmember Mueller asked Councilmember Trebesch if he had spoken recently to Mr. Stockman about chipping the wood pile. The city has grant money this year to pay for the chipping, however, next year it does not look like Hamburg will receive grant money for this.
      • Councilmember Trebesch will contact Mr. Stockman to make sure he will be out this fall to chip the wood pile.


  • Number 5 – Business Cards for Council, Mayor, and Maintenance Worker Byerly.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council if they wanted their Business Cards in color.
      • Council replied that color was not necessary.


  • Number 6 – Purchase Shirts for Council, Mayor, City Clerk Gruenhagen, and Deputy Clerk Block.
    • The shirts were received however G&K Services have not credited the city's account for the incorrect shirts. G&K Services will be contacted concerning this issue.


  • Number 8 – Set up a committee to review current evaluation forms.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen did meet with Councilmember Trebesch and Councilmember Cummiskey before tonight's council meeting at 6:00 p.m. The evaluation forms and review forms are almost finalized.


  • Number 12 – Fix crack in sidewalk by 430 Railroad Street.
    • Mr. Harms has been contacted twice asking him to come back and repair the crack. Mr. Harms has replied that he will be out to fix the crack, however, City Clerk Gruenhagen has not heard from Mr. Harms. City Clerk Gruenhagen will follow up with Mr. Harms again.


Carver County Attorney James Keeler – 2010 Prosecution Contract


Carver County Attorney James Keeler presented to Council the following 2010 proposed prosecution contract with the City of Hamburg.


  • The Carver County Attorney has a statutory obligation to prosecute all adult felonies that occur in the County, also a select number of gross misdemeanor and all juvenile delinquencies.
  • The Prosecution Contract does not pertain to statutory mandated services required by law. The services that will be talked about tonight the city will get through this contract.
  • Civil responsibilities include acting as legal council to the elected board of commissars and other departments and agencies in Carver County Government. Civil matters on behalf of Carver County include: Board and County Departments, Child Protection, Paternity and Child Support, and Civil Commitments.
  • Currently the Carver County Attorney's Office has 16 Attorney's with 157 years of combined practice and 136 combined years of prosecution. There are 4 Paralegals with 20 years of combined years of experience. Victim Witness Coordinator with 12 years experience. Support staff has 7 personnel with 44 combined years of experience. With approving this prosecution contact the City of Hamburg is also acquiring Consistency and Continuity.
  • Under the Prosecution Contract the Carver County Attorneys office serves as Hamburg's City Attorney. This service would prosecute all Adult Gross Misdemeanors, Misdemeanors, and Petty Misdemeanors that occur within the city. Examples:
    • Petty Misdemeanor would be a speeding ticket, stop sign violation, etc.
    • Misdemeanor – criminal damage to property, domestic assault, etc.
    • Gross Misdemeanor a repeat DWI offender.
  • Beginning in 2010, violations of City Ordinances will be prosecuted at no additional fee.
    • In previous years these cases were handled on an hourly basis at $69 and in 2009 the hourly rate increased to $75.00 per hour.

    • The violations handled with no additional fee will be criminal violations not civil. Civil violations will be handled by city ordinance violations and the cities Attorney. Any city ordinance that has a criminal penalty attached to it, by law, the maximum would be a misdemeanor penalty. Mr. Keeler's office can and will handle these as they would Petty Misdemeanors, Misdemeanors, and Gross Misdemeanors.
  • For criminal violations it is likely that the judge would, at sentencing, propose a fine the defendant has to pay. By state statuette the fine is divided in thirds, State Court system receives a third, the prosecuting City (Hamburg) receives a third, and the prosecuting attorney's office would receive a third.
  • Currently there are 10 Cities participating in the service contract in Carver County. The expense for providing this prosecution service to the participating cities is approximately $203,929.
    • The cost represents the number of staff the attorney's have determined it takes to handle the case load. The staff represents the salaries of two attorneys' plus one legal secretary to prosecute and process the cases. The $203,929 is for salaries only, no cost of overhead, office space, material, supplies, etc.

    • To pay for staff personal salaries 54% is covered by fine revenue to the prosecuting attorneys office, the cities pay only 34% of the costs, and Carver County subsidizes the cities prosecution cost at a rate of 12% (14% in 2009).
      • The Carver County subsidizes starting in 2009 will be diminished during a time period of 5 years to 6 years. The cities receiving this service will eventually pay the cost for these services.
    • The contract and expense that the City of Hamburg incurs equals Hamburg's share of the total number of cases handled under the prosecution contract.
  • The prosecution cases Hamburg incurred from 2007 to 2008 were:
    • There were no petty misdemeanor cases in 2007 or 2008.
    • In 2007 there were three misdemeanors, no gross misdemeanors, and one gross misdemeanor - repeat DWI, one Felony and two Juvenile caseloads.
    • In 2008 there was one misdemeanor, one gross misdemeanor, and zero gross misdemeanors – repeat DWI, two Felonies' and one Juvenile caseload.
      • The felonies' and juvenile prosecution services are mandated by state law to have the County Attorney's office prosecute. There is no charge to the cities for these two types of cases.
  • Contract Rates & Fine Revenue
    • Current rate (2009) for Hamburg is $466.59.
    • In 2010 the proposed rate for the City of Hamburg would decrease to $305.82.
    • The fine revenue (paid to City by State) the city collected in 2008 was $398.29.
    • Carver County subsidy of approximately 12% is expected to be reduced further in subsequent years.
    • Any adjustment in per-city contract rates will be directly related to fluctuations in its caseload. City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Mr. Keeler how soon the County would like to receive the Prosecution Contract.
  • Mr. Keeler responded by saying that it is due by the end of December 2009, however, the sooner his office receives the contract the sooner they would be able to send it to the County Board for review.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked if Council reviews the contract and makes a decision at the next council meeting on August 25, 2009 this would that be soon enough.
    • Mr. Keeler answered that would be more than enough time. Councilmember Cummiskey asked Mr. Keeler if he would be interested in attending next years National Night Out.
  • Mr. Keeler responded that he would like to attend and to just send him a reminder.


Fire Department Report – Chief Brad Droege


US Fish & Wildlife Grant & 2009 FEMA Grant


  • Fire Chief Droege informed Council that he has not heard anything about the grants.


Fire Chiefs Convention


  • Fire Chief Droege asked Council if they would ok the signing of some checks. He just received the information about the convention and did not know if checks would have to be sent in before the next council meeting. The Convention will be held October 15 thru October 18, 2009 at Duluth, MN.


National Night Out


  • Fire Chief Droege commented that he thought National Night Out was well attended. For next year he suggested to start planning at least 2 month before. National Night Out is always the first Tuesday in August.
  • Fire Chief Droege added that for next year the event could be placed on a calendar two months in advance just to remind everyone to start planning for it. Reminders could be placed on resident doors in an effort to get more people to attend.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen mentioned that about 125 to 150 people attended the event. In previous years the attendance was around 180.
  • Fire Chief Droege and Council discussed rearranging where the food service line is located. Most people go straight to the food line bypassing the exhibit tables. If the area was rearranged so people would have to walk by the exhibits then more people may stop to socialize.
  • Council also discussed other exhibits that could be asked to participate.
  • The serving time was also discussed, possibly being moved back from 8:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.


S.A.F.E.R Program


  • The members of S.A.F.E.R. will be doing more training when they receive more modules and other equipment.
  • Watertown will be the fifth City to join this program.
  • At a later date Council will be invited to watch them during a training exercise.


Pension Increase for Reporting Year 2010


  • Fire Chief Droege commented that he does not know when Council will be discussing the requested pension increase. If Council needs any information they can give him a call.


New Germany Softball Tournament


  • The Hamburg Fire Department played in the New Germany Softball Tournament and took 4th place out of 18 teams.
  • New Germany has been hosting the tournament for 28 years.


Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)


LMCIT Loss Control Survey on June 11, 2009


  • Maintenance Worker Byerly reported to Council that he has not completed anything more on the list for the Loss Control Survey.


Cooling Fans for Community Hall


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that the fans have not been ordered yet. After the last council meeting City Clerk Gruenhagen received numerous variations of what type of fans he should purchase. City Clerk Gruenhagen decided to bring this issue back to Council and ask for a definite decision by them as to what he should order or have Maintenance Worker Byerly pick up.
  • Council discussed at length what would be best to help circulate the air during hot weather at the Hall.
  • Council decided to have City Clerk Gruenhagen purchase six (6) wall mounting fans.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen also brought up the problem he is having with renters calling him at home and asking how to turn on the ceiling fans at the Hall. City Clerk Gruenhagen has always previously explained to renters that they do not work. City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council if the ceiling fans could be taken down.
    • Council agreed to have the fans removed.
    • Councilmember Trebesch offered to take down the ceiling fans at no cost to the city.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to have City Clerk Gruenhagen order six wall mounted osculating fans for the Community Hall and have the ceiling fans removed, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present


Air Conditioning


  • Council discussed different ways and types of air conditioning that could be installed in the Community Hall.
    • Mayor Malz concluded that a committee should be set up to research air conditioners and the price it would cost to install a unit.
      • The committee consists of Mayor Malz, Councilmember Steve Trebesch, Councilmember Brian Cummiskey; Deputy Clerk Block and City Clerk Jeremy Gruenhagen if needed.


Tree Stumps


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that Maintenance Worker Byerly is working on cutting down the stumps.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly added that the chainsaw chains became dull while he was cutting down the stumps and he had taken them to be sharpened. He just received the chains back today and will continue with the project.


Community Center Weekend Rentals


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen brought up that Maintenance Worker Byerly will be out of town the weekend of August 15 to August 16, 2009. He asked if someone from Council would be willing to clean the Community Center Sunday morning because there are rentals Saturday and Sunday.
    • Councilmember Mueller volunteered himself and his wife (Linda) to come up Sunday morning to clean the Community Center.


Project List


  • Maintenance Worker Byerly reported that he had twelve items completed on his project list.
    • Mayor Malz instructed him to turn the list into Deputy Clerk Block. She can mark them as completed and take them off his project list.


Water Leak in Park


  • Mayor Malz mentioned that last Friday he had noticed there was a water leak in the Park. The ground was spongy possible that a pipe had broken so he turned the water off in the Park. Mayor Malz asked Maintenance Worker Byerly to fix the leak.


Time Off Request


  • Maintenance Worker Byerly requested to use vacation time for time-off on Wednesday, August 12, 2009. City Council had no objections.


Deputy Clerk Block's Report


Delinquent Utility Bills Report


  • Deputy Clerk Block reported that Kim Barstad (960 Park Avenue) paid $43.66 on her delinquent account. She is now only behind for the month of June. Deputy Clerk Block has not heard from the other persons listed on the delinquent report.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen added that Jon Reed (416 Jacob Street) and Emily Siebold (625 Kim Avenue) had called the office to set up payment arrangements. Mr. Reed will pay in full on August 28, 2009 and Ms. Siebold will set up weekly payments. They were informed that if they miss a payment their water will be turned off.
  • Deputy Clerk Block informed Council that to save the City money all delinquent notices will now be posted by the CSO instead of being sent certified mail. According to City Ordinance 50.02 (B) the notice can be served upon the customer personally, or by certified mail, or by leaving a copy of the notice at the premises served.
  • The current delinquent property owners and renters were sent letters, through regular mail, notifying them that either payment in full is required or they will have to set up a payment schedule before 4:30 p.m. on August 13, 2009 or their water will be shut off. If the city office does not hear from them by this date a letter will be posted by the CSO informing them again that payment or arrangements must be made and the new due date is August 19, 2009 at 4:30 p.m. If they do not contact the city office their water will be turned off on August 20, 2009.
  • Mayor Malz asked that EFN Investment, Inc be contacted as to why they have not paid their utility bills,in full, for the apartments they own. Their balance due is getting high and they must make arrangements or pay the full amount.


Sandy Nellen (440 Railroad Street) Water Bill


  • Sandy had allowed the City to use her metered water to water the sod the City had place along the sidewalk in front of her home and her neighbors. City Clerk Gruenhagen and Council agreed at the last council meeting to average her July water bill by using last years May, June, and July readings.
    • Deputy Clerk Block informed Council that Ms. Nellen water bill unadjusted would have been over 10,000 gallons used for the month of July but using last year's average it was in range of her normal monthly usage of 3,700 gallons.


Steve Peterson (900 Park Avenue)


  • Mr. Peterson called the City Office to let them know that he was in a car accident and his damaged car would be sitting in his driveway for about 2 weeks before it can be removed.
    • Council commented that this should be monitored and if the car is left at the property over the two week period a nuisance letter should be sent.


Time Off Request


  • Deputy Clerk Block requested August 17, 2009 off, she will be using 6 hours of vacation pay.
    • Council did not have any objections.


Clerk/Treasurer Report


To The Home Wireless Internet


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that he received the site plan from Shawn Sprengeler on Friday, August 7th and forwarded the site plan onto Ann Perry (Hamburg's Planning Consultant). Once received back the project can continue forward.
  • Shawn Sprengeler did submit the request to his Insurance Company and now needs the signed contract. He also needs the address of the Cities water tower for the certificates.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen reported the address as 230 Railroad Street.
  • Mayor Malz commented to Mr. Sprengeler that the original start up fee for the wireless internet service was $25.00 but the start up fee for Emanuel Lutheran Church is much higher.
  • Mr. Sprengeler responded by saying the church is not a residential property for it is classified as a commercial property so the rates are higher.
  • Mayor Malz mentioned that he had heard that there were already two antennas installed on silos outside of the city limits. City Clerk Gruenhagen mentioned that he was informed of one not two.
    • Mr. Sprengeler replied that one antenna was located at the Lindquist farm and the other one was located on the Kramer's silo located north of Highway 212.
  • Councilmember Barnes asked how soon this project could get started in Hamburg.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen stated as soon as Ann Perry gives her approval and the permit is submitted and approved by MNSPECT.


I/I Abatement Program – TMDL Grant


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen is checking further into the reason why the City of Hamburg's points for the TMDL grant were reduced. He has emailed and spoken with Representative Paul Kohls on this issue. Representative Kohls asked what the city wanted him to do. City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Representative Kohls that the city would like an explanation from MPCA other than a response of "we made a mistake".
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen and Representative Kohls came to the conclusion that someone from PCA should come out to a City Council meeting and explain the error. The person from PCA could also explain the TMDL Grant program so Council and the residents have a better opportunity to understand the program as a whole.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will be meeting with Doug Parrott (S.E.H.) and a representative from S.E.H. St. Cloud office to work on the Storm Sewer Utility fund tomorrow, August 12 at 2:00 p.m., and to discuss the reason why the city was denied the TMDL Grant. Mr. Parrott is also looking into a possible Load requirement the city did not meet as a possible reason for the denial.
  • Councilmember Mueller commented that the State gave out 94.8 million dollars between 40 communities yesterday (August 10, 2009) for Waste Water/Sewer Drinking Water projects. In two weeks the State will give out another 9.5 million. This money comes from the Stimulus Money for TMDL grants that the City of Hamburg did not get. Councilmember Mueller sent an email to Representative Kohls asking for a list of the cities that received the grant money and the amount they received.


Property & Casualty Insurance Renewal


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen and Council discussed how much insurance coverage should be on the following items:
    • #1 - Building - Community Hall and City Garage
      • Current coverage is $621,262
      • Premium of $2,432
      • Leave as is.
    • #1 - Content - Community Hall & City Garage
      • Current coverage is $15,001
      • Premium is $90.00
      • Recommended increase to $20,000
      • Premium would increase to $120.00
      • Council agreed to increase content coverage.
    • #2 - Building - Pump House (230 Railroad St)
      • Current coverage - $5,578
      • Premium per year - $10
      • Recommended increase to $8.300
      • Premium would increase to $15
      • Council agreed to increase coverage.
    • #3 - Building - Park Restrooms (614 Park Ave)
      • Current coverage is $4,057
      • Premium per year is $52.00
      • Recommended increase to $7,956
      • Premium would increase to $102
      • Council discussed and decided to leave the coverage at $4,057.
    • #4 - Building - Fire Hall and City Hall

      • Current coverage is $424,739
      • Premium per year is $401.00
      • Leave as is
    • #4 - Content – Fire Hall and City Hall
      • Current coverage is $13,739

      • Premium per year is $17.00
      • Leave as is
    • #5 - Building - Baseball Grandstand
      • Current coverage is $181,306
      • Premium per year is $1,688
      • Council discussed and decided to have City Clerk Gruenhagen check with the insurance agent on how much this building should be covered for. The grandstand was constructed out of poured concrete and is virtually fire resistant and should also withstand a tornado.
    • #6 - PIO (other) - Baseball Field Scoreboard
      • Current coverage is $32,069
      • Premium per year is $357
      • Leave as is
    • #7 - PIO - Ball Field Lights
      • Current coverage is $68,229
      • Premium per year is $762
      • Recommended Coverage is $100,000
      • Premium would increase to $1,117
      • Council discussed and agreed to increase the coverage of the lights to $100,000.
    • #8 - Building - Open Shelter (614 Park Ave)
      • Current coverage is $9,129
      • Premium per year is $169
      • Leave as is
    • #9 - Building - Band Stand
      • Current coverage is $11,411
      • Premium per year is $212
      • Leave as is
    • #10 - Building – Lions Park Shelter (614 Park Ave)
      • Current coverage is $36,706
      • Premium per year is $274
      • Recommended Coverage is $57,600 (3,840 square feet)
      • Premium would increase to $430
      • Council discussed and agreed to increase the coverage to $57,600.
    • #11 - PIO - City Park Equipment
      • Current coverage is $69,363
      • Premium per year is $775
      • Recommended Coverage is $100,000
      • Premium would increase to $1,117
      • Council decided to increase the coverage amount to $100,000 to cover the playground equipment, electrical sign, basketball hoops, and bleachers.
    • #12 – Building - Water Treatment Plant
      • Current coverage is $1,169,260
      • Premium per year is $1,473
      • Leave as is
    • #13 – Building - Food Stand (614 Park Ave)
      • Current coverage is $32,995
      • Premium per year is $612
      • Recommended Coverage is $21,600
      • Premium Would decrease to $400
      • Council discussed and decided to decrease the Food Stand coverage to $21,600.
    • #14 – Building - Baseball Park Open Shelter
      • Current coverage is $7,379
      • Premium is $136
      • Recommended Coverage is $15,000
      • Premium would increase to $276
      • Council agreed to increase coverage to $15,000 for roof and steal siding is new.
    • #15 – Building - Baseball Park Storage Shed
      • Current coverage is $8,854
      • Premium is $164
      • Recommended Coverage is $10,000
      • Premium would increase to $185
      • Council discussed and decided to increase coverage to $10,000.
    • #16 – City Warning Siren (on pole by pump house)
      • Not currently insured
      • Recommended coverage is $15,000
      • Premium amount of $167
      • Council discussed and decided to add coverage for the Warning Siren.
    • Water Tower
      • Not currently covered.
      • Approximate cost to replace - $300,000
      • Recommended coverage - $300,000 or $500,000
      • Premium amount $249.00 and $415.00 respectively.
      • Council discussed and decided not to insure at this time.
    • Mobile Property under $25,000
      • City Clerk Gruenhagen will handle this item with the insurance rep.


Liability Coverage


  • Currently the city has $500,000 per person, and $1,500,000 per occurrence.
    • Recommendation is to increase each one by $1,000,000.
      • $1,500,000 per person
      • $2,500,000 per occurrence
    • Council discussed and agreed to raise the coverage. City Clerk Gruenhagen reminded Council that a final decision will have to be made on the insurance renewal amounts at the next council meeting on August 25, 2009.


LGA Un-Allotment for 2009 & 2010 – 2009 Budget Items to Consider


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed members of Council that the Cities LGA funds were not cut for 2009 and 2010. Hamburg will receive its full aid during these two years.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council to go through the City Wish List and look to see if there is anything they would like to have placed on the 2010 budget for completion.
  • Council discussed what could be taken from the City Wish List and added to the 2010 budget.
    • Redo Driveway and Sidewalk for City Shop. – Keep on budget list.
    • Trim Trees in Boulevard – Council decided to cut down diseased Ash trees as needed.
    • Parks – Greg Schultz contracted to spray weeds twice a year – Council decided Maintenance Worker Byerly could spray the weeds to save the city some money.
    • Replace Hall Doors - Council discussed only redoing the west side ramp door.
      • Get prices for a replacement door with a panic bar.
    • Tables (Plywood) – purchase the same as the ones in the Community Center.
    • Capital Projects leave as they are now.
  • Council added that Maintenance Worker Byerly could cut the grass around the city instead of hiring it out at $9,000 per year.

    • No final decision was made.
  • Councilmember Mueller suggested looking into hiring a private firm to do the water testing and paper work for the WTP. This could save the city money by freeing up some of Maintenance Worker Byerly time. This will be checked into.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen suggested adding new chairs for the office to the 2010 Budget. The ones that are in there now are falling apart and for Council meetings the Fire Department chairs are always being borrowed. Another request would be for a new phone system that has caller id on every phone and two different recorded message options.
  • Mayor Malz added that the mowing contract and health care insurance should be looked at to help reduce costs to the city.


2010 Preliminary Budget Workshop Meeting


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen suggested a Special Meeting should be set up to discuss the 2010 budget items.
  • Council decided to hold the Special Meeting before the next council meeting on August 25th starting at 6:00 p.m.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to hold a Special 2010 Budget Meeting on August 25, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss the 2010 City Budget, seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


City Clerk Gruenhagen reminded Council that the Proposed Property Tax Levy is due by September 15, 2009.


Post Employment Benefits Liability


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that there is another required audit that the Government is mandating. Abdo, Eick, & Meyers sent a letter informing us that the purpose of the letter is to set forth the understanding of their engagement to provide a GASB 45 valuation for the year ended December 31, 2009 annual report.
  • The following is what Abdo, Eick, & Meyers will do: Calculate our other post employment benefits liability using the alternative measurement method. They will provide us with a summary of results as well as prepare the financial footnote required for our 2009 annual report. They will complete the valuation prior to December 31, 2009. The valuation date will be January 1, 2009. Their engagement is not to determine compliance with any legal requirements. They will communicate any issues or difficulties observed to City Council in writing. The cost would be anywhere from $750 to $1,500.
  • Mayor Malz questioned what the cost would be for this additional audit by Abdo, Eick, & Meyers. He also questioned if their auditing fees could be negotiated. The cost to have a year end audit is extremely expensive, around $19,000
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will contact the City of NYA (Tom Simons) about meeting with Abdo, Eick, & Meyers to look into possible cost savings by signing a three contract with Abdo, Eick, & Meyers.


Emanuel Lutheran Rib Fest


  • Brian Biermann (210 Broadway Avenue) requested on behalf of Emanuel Lutheran Church the use of the City Park on August 22, 2009 for Emanuel's annual Rib Fest. He also asked if the rental fee of $150 could be waived. The event this year is for raising money to renovate Emanuel's School kitchen.
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to waive the $150 rental fee for the Emanuel Lutheran Church Rib Fest to be held on August 22, 2009 at the City Park, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Mini-Biff


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that the mini-biff located at the City Park was tipped over again. This would be the third time it has happened. He asked Council for their opinion as to what should be done.
    • Council discussed and decided to have the mini-biff removed on August 27, 2009. Whether or not the mini-biff will be rented for next year will be discussed at a later date.


Time Off Request


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen requested vacation time off for September 4, 2009.
    • Council had no objection.


City Council Reports


Councilmember Mueller (Sewer & Water)


  • Councilmember Mueller suggested that a notice should be put on the City sign and a recognition plaque be sent to Janice Mackenthun. She was nominated the areas Senior Citizen of the year.


Councilmember Cummiskey (Streets)


  • Councilmember Cummiskey asked if the City can put money towards National Night Out.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will check with the Auditor.


Councilmember Trebesch (Buildings)


  • Councilmember Trebesch informed Council that K & K Services (Kip Trebesch) will start repairing the flashing (trim) on the Hall this week.
  • Councilmember Trebesch reported he will take the ceiling fans down that are in the Hall at no cost to the city.


Councilmember Barnes (Parks)


  • Councilmember Barnes asked if Joel Frank has contacted Dan Swanson to look at the sink Councilmember Cummiskey has for the park building.
    • Councilmember Cummiskey replied that he has not heard from either one if they want the sink or not.


Mayor Malz


  • Mayor Malz asked if a projector screen is still needed for the Community Center.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen replied that it would be a plus when renting the Center.
    • Council agreed to put it on the budget for 2010
  • Mayor Malz asked City Clerk Gruenhagen how the clean up was coming along at Darrell Grams residence (410 Sophia Avenue).
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will follow up with the Cities Attorney Mac as to what can be done.


Approve Claims List for August 2009


City Clerk Gruenhagen and Council discussed Fire Chief Droege's request for payment to registration members of the fire department to attend the Fire Chiefs Convention. Fire Chief Droege did not mention an amount needed or how many were attending the conference.


  • Councilmember Mueller moved to approve the August 2009 claims list from claim number 13961 though claim number 13987, the ACH payments, and the check for the Fire Chiefs Convention Registration, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


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


Submitted by:

Sue Block

Deputy Clerk

Hamburg City Council Meeting Minutes – July 28, 2009

Acting Mayor Larry Mueller called the regular meeting of the Hamburg City Council to order at 7:00 p.m.

Councilmember Brian Cummiskey, Councilmember Steve Trebesch, Councilmember John Barnes, City Clerk

Jeremy Gruenhagen, Deputy Clerk Sue Block, Maintenance Worker Dennis Byerly and Fire Chief Brad Droege

were present. Mayor Malz arrived at 8:47 p.m. Others present were Richard Odoms (150 Jacob Street) and

Shawn Sprengeler (To The Home Wireless Internet).


Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption

  • Added – Email from Ann Perry (Planning Consultant) – To The Home Lease Agreement
  • Added – Email from Bill Dunn (MPCA) – TMDL Grant Program Eligibility
  • Councilmember Barnes moved to approve the agenda with the two additions, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Approve Minutes for May & June 2009

  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to approve the May and June 2009 City Council Meeting Minutes, seconded by Councilmember Barnes and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Old City Business

  • Number 2 – City Web Site
    • This is being worked on and the templates should be finished by the next City Council meeting on August 11, 2009.
  • Number 4 – Discuss the discrepancy in the verbiage – Ordinance #95.6 – what constitutes a dog kennel, three or four dogs.
    • City Attorney Mac advised changing the wording in Ordinance #95.06 (B) to state four or more dogs matching the wording in Ordinance #95.06 (A) The keeping of four or more dogs on the same premises. City Clerk Gruenhagen will have this changed.
  • Number 5 – Business Cards for Council, Mayor, and Maintenance Worker Byerly.
    • o Council decided that after the meeting they will decide on what style of business cards they would like and the quantity to order.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will continue to work on who can print the cards at the lowest cost to the city.
  • Number 6 – Purchase Shirts for Council, Mayor, City Clerk Gruenhagen, and Deputy Clerk Block.
    • The shirts were received but with the incorrect embroidered logo on them. They have been reordered.
  • Number 8 – Set up a committee to review current evaluation forms.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen set up a meeting with Councilmember Trebesch and Councilmember Cummiskey to go over the evaluation forms. The meeting will be held before the next City Council meeting on August 11, 2009 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Number 9 – Consider charging organizations or individuals a fee to help cover the cost of what the Sheriff's Department charges for background checks.
    • Council will discuss this during the City Clerk/Treasurer Report.
  • Number 12 – Fix crack in sidewalk by 430 Railroad Street.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen has contacted Mr. Harms twice asking him to come back and repair the crack. Mr. Harms has replied that he will be out to fix it. No time line of when he would come out was given.


Fire Department Report – Chief Brad Droege

2008/2009 FEMA Grants

  • Fire Chief Droege informed Council that he should receive information on the grants about the third week of August or at the end of August.

Election vs. Selection

  • Fire Chief Droege suggested waiting until this fall to further discuss this issue.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen had checked with other cities on how they handle Election vs. Selection. He discovered that some cities have by-laws for the Relief Association not the Fire Department, some follow what their employee handbook states, and others have separate guidelines for fire department members.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen noted that it is up to Council, what they want to do.

Pension Increase for Reporting Year 2010

  • Fire Chief Droege informed Council that at last nights Fire Department meeting it was voted on to request a $50 pay increase. Chief Droege stated that Hamburg is falling behind other cities in what they pay their Fire Department members.

Deferred Member Retention

  • Fire Chief Droege asked for Councils approval for their deferred members account. The Fire Department had previously set up accounts for deferred members (someone who retires from the Fire Department with 20 plus years but are under 50 years old) that the interest accrued on their retirement fund goes to the deferred member, up to 5%, anything over 5% stays with the Fire Department Relief Association.
  • Councilmember Trebesch moved to approve the Hamburg Fire Department Deferred Member Account as it is currently set up. The interest accrued on a deferred members retirement account goes to the deferred member, up to 5%, any accrued money amount over 5% stays with the Hamburg Fire Department Relief fund, seconded by Councilmember Barnes and motion carried. Councilmember Cummiskey abstained.


To The Home Wireless Internet – Lease Agreement


City Clerk Gruenhagen apologized to Richard Odoms (150 Jacob Street) and Shawn Sprengeler (To The Home

Wireless Internet) for the delay in getting the contract drafted and ready for Council approval. The Cities

Attorney and Planning Consultant were on vacation.


City Clerk Gruenhagen and Council went over the Lease Agreement with Mr. Sprengeler. The lease agreement

is based on To The Home's contract with the City of Cologne, MN. The following items were discussed

concerning the wording of the contract between To The Home, LLC and the City of Hamburg:


Recitals – Page 2


  • Mr. Sprengeler will provide the city with a diagram of the antenna, construction and design diagram, and photos or diagrams of the antenna once attached to the water tower. A Site Plan needs to be submitted to the City.


Rent – Page 3 – Number 4


  • (a) – Base Rent
    • (ii) – Each month during the Lease Term when there are more than one hundred (100) Subscribers, Tenant shall pay to Landlord, as monthly base rent ("Base Rent"), an amount equal to ten percent (10%) of the gross revenues derived from all Subscribers ("Subscriber Revenues") during such month derived from the following formula:
      • Number of Subscribers Over 100 x $24.95 x .10 = Total Monthly Rent
    • Council requested to have the number of subscribers changed to fifty (50) Subscribers.
      • Mr. Sprengeler agreed to the change.


Contingencies – Page 4 – Number 5


  • (b) – Interference Study
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Mr. Sprengeler if he had done a Interference Study (A radio frequency interference study carried out by an independent and qualified professional selected by Landlord showing that Tenant's intended use will not interfere with any existing communications facilities)
      • Mr. Sprengeler replied that there is no need at this time to have a study done. The wireless internet service he is providing is public Wi-Fi signals. Unless Mr. Sprengeler gets into proprietary license frequencies he will then probably have the study done.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will have this section changed or taken out.

Tenant's Use – Page 4 – Number 6

  • (d) - Payment of Utilities
    • Contract reads Tenant shall separately meter charges for the consumption of electricity and other utilities associated with its use of the Antenna Facilities and shall directly and promptly pay all costs associated therewith. Tenant shall, at its sole expense, install all meters required for such separate metering.
    • Council, Mr. Odoms, and Mr. Sprengeler discussed how many kilowatts of electricity the wireless network equipment would use and the amount to be paid to the city for the usage.
      • It was agreed that To The Home Wireless Internet (President Mr. Sprengeler) would pay the City of Hamburg a flat fee of $10 per year for the cost of using the cities electricity.
    • Councilmember Cummiskey added that it should be put in the lease agreement that the city would have the option of increasing the $10 fee if the electricity usage would increase. A separate meter could be hooked up to the wireless equipment to find out what the monthly usage is.
      • City Clerk Gruenhagen re-phrased; To The Home Wireless Internet will pay the City of Hamburg a $10 fee per year for electricity use. City Council will monitor and make adjustments on a yearly basis if the usage exceeds the $10 fee.
      • Mr. Sprengeler agreed to the $10 yearly fee and agreed to have Council monitor the usage.
  • Hazardous Materials - Page 5 – Segment 7 (b)
    • In segment 7 (b) it states: Without limiting the scope of Subsection 9 (a) above. This should read: Without limiting the scope of Subsection 7 (a).
    • Mr. Sprengeler and Council agreed that 9 (a) should be changed to 7 (a).
      • This will be changed in the contract.
  • Insurance - Page 5 – Segment 8
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen requested that Mr. Sprengeler provide copies of insurance listing the City of Hamburg as additionally insured. The City of Hamburg requires the following insurance be carried by To The Home Wireless:
      • 8 (a) – Workers' Compensation
      • 8 (b) – General Liability
      • 8 (c) – Automobile Liability
      • 8 (d) – Tenant Property Insurance
      • 8 (e) – Adjustment to Insurance Coverage Limits
      • 8 (f) – Additional Insured – Certificate of Insurance
    • Mr. Sprengeler informed Council that he does not carry Tenant Property Insurance. This insurance is for their radios and he does not cover them.
      • Councilmember Cummiskey asked Mr. Sprengeler if replacing the radios would be an out of pocket expense for To The Home LLC.
      • Mr. Sprengeler answered yes it would be at their expense to replace the radios. To The

Home Wireless Internet would replace the radios if damaged, stolen, or vandalized.

  • Page 7 - #10 (b) – Termination Without Cause
    • Currently the contract reads, upon 90 days written notice to Tenant. City Clerk Gruenhagen requested this be changed to 60 days written notice to Tenant.
    • Mr. Sprengeler and Council agreed to have this changed to 60 days written notice.
  • Council asked if To The Home, LLC needs a FCC license.
    • Mr. Sprengeler replied that he does not. The wireless service is for public use and this does not require a permit.


City Clerk Gruenhagen commented on the email from Ann Perry dated (Tuesday, 07-28-09 at 3:18 p.m.)


  • Ms. Perry suggested in the email "The lease should be conditioned upon obtaining a CUP/site plan before the Commencement Date as noted in the agreement (page 4, para, 5 Govenmental Approvals) that indicates that the provider needs to comply with governmental approvals.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen mentioned that in reviewing the lease agreement he did not see a definition of Commencement Date and he assumes that this means the date of construction.
  • Ms. Perry continues to state in her email that the cities ordinance is so old that it really doesn't anticipate antenna for wireless communication devices.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen added that the City is upgrading its zoning ordinances which will address antenna's for wireless devices.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen continued by adding that the zoning ordinance includes a definition of "essential utilities" as being telephone systems, etc. Ms. Perry applied a conservative interpretation of the ordinance using the last sentence of Section 8.1 pertaining to non-public easements – to apply to the antenna (although the language says "easement" instead of "lease"). Ms. Perry thinks the City has leeway to also determine the antenna is permitted, as a more liberal interpretation, using the preceding sentences in 8.1 of city code. Ms. Perry thinks as a minimum, the City should require the submittal of a site plan for formal City review and approval. This review can occur after approval of the lease.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen suggested to keep this moving the Council would approve Resolution 2009-11 which would be approving the lease agreement between the City of Hamburg and To The Home. Subject to a site plan being submitted and approved by Ann Perry, the City Attorney, and the City Engineer. Copies of insurance and a copy of Mr. Sprengeler FCC License would also need to be submitted to the City.
      • Mr. Sprengeler noted that he is not required to have a FCC License. City Clerk

Gruenhagen will inform Ms. Perry about this.

  • Mr. Sprengeler requested a diagram of the water towers dimensions.
    • Council will try to obtain a copy of the water tower dimensions for Mr. Sprengeler.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen added that the dimensions will also be needed for the building permit.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that Ann Perry also suggested having To The Home reimburse the City for the cost of reviewing the plans.
    • Councilmember Mueller thought this was a good idea.
    • Mr. Sprengeler asked what the cost would be.
      • City Clerk Gruenhagen replied that Ms. Perry has a fee of $60 to $90 per hour and her cost should not be any higher than that. City Clerk Gruenhagen does not know what the Engineers fee would be. Ms. Perry just thought that an Engineer should look at the plans just to find out if the water tower is structurally sound.
  • Council discussed if the plans should be sent to the Engineer but decided not to send the plans. The device to be placed on the water tower only weights about 5 pounds. Council also decided that a CUP was not necessary.


Councilmember Cummiskey moved to adopt Resolution Number 2009-11, approving Site Lease Agreement

With ToTheHome.com, LLC, allowing ToTheHome to install an antenna on the City of Hamburg's water

tower and submit a site plan before construction, Councilmember Trebesch seconded and motion

unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


National Night Out – Tuesday - August 4, 2009


Fire Chief Brad Droege informed City Council that the Fire Department Relief Association donated $400 for the purchase of hot dogs and chips. The Hamburg Lions Club will be doing root beer floats and Councilmember Cummiskey will get sweet corn. Fire Chief Droege suggested that some of the kids in town could go door to door handing out fliers informing residents about the events that will be held in the park during National Night Out. He continued to list the events that have been lined up: a member of the Carver County Posse (with her horse), fire trucks will be there and giving rides, the Carver County ambulance and members from the S.A.F.E.R. group.


Fire Chief Droege also commented that a few weeks ago an owl was found caught in a snap trap and was taken to the Rapture Center. They will bring the owl back to Hamburg in about a week to release it back into the wild.


City Clerk Gruenhagen requested that members of City Council attend National Night Out and help with the serving.


Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)


2009 NPDES/SDS Permit Compliance Summary Report


  • Number 2 - Compliance Information Summary
    • This section summarizes the DMR reporting and monitoring requirements for the Hamburg WWTP permit and the information reported on the DMRs in 2008.
      • Total DMR Forms Required – 24
      • Timely DMRs – 22
      • Late under 10 days – 2
    • Hamburg received one black mark due to a late submittal of a form over the Thanksgiving Holiday.
  • Number 10 - DMR Data Submitted
    • This section lists all DMR data submitted for 2008.
      • During May 2008 the Total Suspended Solids calendar month average was 54.75 which exceeded the MPCA limit requirements of 45. This was during a pre-discharge and the water should have been re-sampled.
  • Councilmember Mueller asked if PCA has given notice of when they are coming out again.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly replied that they do not give prior notice. The last inspection was conducted May, 8, 2008.


LMCIT Loss Control Survey on June 11, 2009


  • Maintain adequate clearance to electrical panels.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly is clearing a 36 inch area from around the electrical boxes in the City Shop area. Once completed he will paint a yellow line as a notice not to obstruct access to the electrical boxes specially in an emergency situation.
  • Install handrails for the concrete stairs on the east side of the Community Hall.
    • Council discussed the cost and placement of a handrail on the wall side of the stairs. Councilmember Trebesch will take a look at the stairs and build the handrail.
  • Test the emergency eyewash stations.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly will test and keep a log for the eye wash stations in the Water Treatment Plant.

    • The eye wash located in the Fire Department bay area will be tested and logged by the Fire Department.
  • Do an annual inspection of the 2-ton hoist.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly will do an inspection of all moving parts and keep a document listing the date of when the inspections were done.
  • Provide a covered container for combustible shop cloths.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly does have a container for combustible items.
    • Councilmember Mueller also suggested getting rid of any oil and oil filters right away; find a place to take them to.
  • Remove/disconnect or provide automatic fire suppression systems for cooking devices in Hall.
    • Councilmember Trebesch had checked pricing for a fire suppression system and reported to Council that they are very expensive.
    • Council decided to have Fire Chief Droege check if he could locate an inexpensive suppression system.
  • Repair the rear stairs leading to the basement of the Community Hall.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly will repair the worn out steps.


Cooling Fans for Community Hall


  • Council discussed what type of fans to get for the Community Hall. They finally decided to leave it up to the discretion of City Clerk Gruenhagen and Maintenance Worker Byerly on what type of fans to get.
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to have City Clerk Gruenhagen and Maintenance Worker Byerly purchase two fans for the Community Hall not exceeding $500, seconded by Councilmember Cummiskey and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Picnic Tables for Hall Park


  • Council had previously discussed placing two picnic tables in the park area east of the Community Hall. City Clerk Gruenhagen checked into the cost of two picnic tables and they are approximately $400 to $500 each to make.
  • Council decided to put the purchase of two picnic tables on the council wish list.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that there is money in the budget to have someone come out and grind the tree stumps down on the east side of the Community Center.
  • Council discussed the cost and decided to have Maintenance Worker Byerly use a chainsaw to cut the stumps as close to the ground as possible.


Water Trees


  • Due to the dry weather conditions Councilmember Cummiskey asked Maintenance Worker Byerly to water the young birch trees in the city park.


Upstairs Cooler in Hall


  • To help save energy costs Council discussed turning the upstairs off when there are no rentals. After some discussion Council decided to have Maintenance Worker Byerly turn up the temperature of the upstairs cooler when it is not in use.


Hall Electrical Wiring for Light Switches


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that when the light switches for the ceiling lights are turned on they sometimes short out. This situation should be corrected and there is $3,500 in the budget for new Hall wiring.
  • Council agreed to start having the wiring in the Hall replaced. Chuck from Robb's Electric will be contacted to give the City an estimated cost to replace the old fuse boxes.


Project List


  • Maintenance Worker Byerly mentioned that several items on his list are completed. City Clerk Gruenhagen instructed him to meet with Deputy Clerk Block to have the completed items removed from his list.


Sink for Park Building


  • Councilmember Cummiskey has been waiting since last council meeting for someone from the Lions Club to come and look at the sink he has offered to be installed in the park.
  • Council suggested that Bruce Gruenhagen or Joel Franck should be the ones to make the decision if the Lions Club wants the sink or not. Until the Lions make a decision no further action from Council will be taken.


Deputy Clerk Block's Report


Delinquent Utility Bills Report


  • Certified delinquent letters will be sent out and if the residents and/or owners of rentals do not pay by the date stated in the letters their water will be turned off.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen added that City Attorney Willemssen had been contacted concerning delinquent accounts and he did agree that if the bills are not paid to turn their water off. However, he did mention that if the City certifies the amount due to their property taxes the account is then considered paid in full; their water may be turned off if they fall behind again.
  • Councilmember Mueller asked other members of City Council if Sandy Nellen (440 Railroad Street) should receive a break in her water bill. Sandy allowed the City to use her metered water to water the sod the City placed along the sidewalk in front of her home and her neighbors.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen suggested taking last years average for the months of May, June, and July for her reading this year, for the month of July.
    • The other members of Council agreed that Sandy's water bill should be adjusted by using last years May, June, and July average.
  • Jeff Muri (941 Park Avenue) closed on his home, however, the incorrect amount was paid to the city for the delinquent amount owed.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will ask Deputy Clerk Block to contact Title Mark, Closing Company, as to why the total amount due was not paid.
    • Deputy Clerk Block will report back the findings at the next Council meeting.


MCFOA Clerk's Conference (July 13-17)


  • Deputy Clerk Block thanked City Clerk Gruenhagen for suggesting and Council for approving paying her 40 hours for the week and allowing her to stay at the hotel during the Clerk's Conference.


City Council Minutes


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that the City Council minutes are up to date.


City Clerk/Treasurer Report


Property & Casualty Insurance Renewal


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that the city has received a 60 day extension in renewing its Property & Casualty Insurance. Mr. Buckentin from the Hamburg Insurance Agency is the cities insurance agent. The following is a list of the current coverage amounts and the proposed recommended amounts the buildings/property should be insured at:
  • Community Hall and CT. Garage Building – Current Coverage is $621,262
    • Leave as is.
  • Community Hall & City Garage Content – Current Coverage is $15,001
    • Recommended – Increase to $20,000
  • Pump House (230 Railroad St) Building - Current Coverage is $5,578
    • Recommended – Increase to $8,300 (332 square feet)
  • Park Restrooms (614 Park Ave) – Current Coverage is $4,057
    • Recommended – Increase to $7,956 (468 square feet)
  • Fire Hall/City Hall Building – Current Coverage is $424,739
    • Leave as is.
  • Fire Hall/City Hall Contents – Current Coverage is $13,739
    • Leave as is.
  • Baseball Grandstand Building – Current Coverage is $181,306
    • Leave as is.
  • Baseball Field Scoreboard – Current Coverage is $32,069
    • Leave as is.
  • Ball Field Lights – Current Coverage is $68,229
    • Recommended – Increase to $100,000
  • Open Shelter Building (614 Park Ave) – Current Coverage is $9,129
    • Leave as is.
  • Band Stand Building (614 Park Ave) – Current Coverage is $11,411
    • Leave as is.
  • Park Shelter – Lions Building (614 Park Ave) – Current Coverage is $36,706
    • Recommended – Increase to $57,600 (3,840 square feet)
  • City Park Equipment – Current Coverage is $69,363
    • Recommended – Increase to $100,000
    • Council decided to add the park equipment, electrical sign, and bleachers to the coverage.
  • Water Treatment Plant Building – Current Coverage is $1,169,260
    • Leave as is.
  • Food Stand Building (614 Park Ave) – Current Coverage is $32,995
    • Recommended – Reduce to $21,600 (720 square feet)
  • Baseball Park Open Shelter Building – Current Coverage is $7,379
    • Recommended – Increase to $15,000
    • Roof and Steal Siding is all new.
  • Baseball Park Storage Shed Building – Current Coverage is $8,854
    • Recommended – Increase to $10,000
  • Warning Siren on pole by pump house – Not currently insured
    • Recommended coverage - $15,000
  • Water Tower
    • Not currently covered.
    • Approximate cost to replace - $300,000
    • Recommended Coverage - $300,000 or $500,000
    • Council discussed and decided not to insure at this time.
  • Mobile Property under $25,000
    • Recommended to increase to $600,000, premium cost would not change. This is a flat fee charged regardless of actual dollar amount. The charges go by population of the city.
      • City Garage - $30,000, Fire Equipment - $550,000, Baseball Park & Lawn Equipment - $15,000.
    • Fire Chief Droege would like to put full dollar amount coverage on the fire equipment. Council agreed and added full coverage on City equipment, the lawn mower, skid loader, etc.


Liability Coverage


  • Currently the city has $500,000 per person, and $1,500,000 per occurrence.
    • Recommendation is to increase each one by $1,000,000.
      • $1,500,000 per person
      • $2,500,000 per occurrence
    • Council agreed to keep coverage as is. City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that the extension is up on September 15, 2009 and a decision has to be made by then.


Councilmember Cummiskey moved to table the discussion on the Cities Property & Casualty Insurance quotes and final approval until the next City Council meeting on August 11, 2009, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present. Small Cities Development Program – DEED Grant


  • The City of Norwood Young America has requested the Business and Community Development Division, Small Cities Development Program, of Minnesota to release federal funds for the Home Occupied Improvement project. The money requested will be for the cities of Cologne, Hamburg, and Norwood/YA.
    • The owner-occupied rehabilitation project will include 17 homes between the three communities to receive federal money in the amount of $293,250 for minor repairs. Examples would be reroof, windows, siding, etc.
  • Council requested that City Clerk Gruenhagen keep them informed of how many homes in Hamburg will receive the grants and the dollar amount received for each home.


Temporary On-Sale Liquor Licenses


  • The Hamburg Lions Club requested Council to approve three Temporary On-Sale Liquor Licenses for September 12, 2009, October 29, 2009, and November 20, 2009.
  • Councilmember Barnes moved to approve the Hamburg Lions Club request for three temporary onsale liquor licenses for the dates of September 12, October 29, and November 20, 2009, Councilmember Mueller seconded and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey noted that the date organized on the Liquor License application should be changed. On the application it reads the year as 1082 this should be changed to 1982.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will contact Gene Siewert to have this corrected.


Background Check Fees


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council if the newly implemented Background Check Fee should be billed back to the organization or applications that require a background check.
  • Councilmember Barnes commented that the fee should be paid by the organization or individual.
  • Councilmember Mueller asked if a background check is required every time the Lions Club requested a Temporary 3.2 License.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen answered that neither the State nor the City of Hamburg requests a background check for a Temporary 3.2 License.
  • It was noted that City Clerk Gruenhagen can approve Peddler/Solicitor permits without Councils approval but background checks are required. City Clerk Gruenhagen can add the fee charge to the Peddler/Solicitor permit cost. He will add this to the permits for next year and adoption of the additional fee to be added to the permits at that time. This fee will be included in the City Fee Schedule.


I & I Abatement Program – TMDL Grant


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen had informed Council at the last council meeting that the cities position on the TMDL Grant had dropped. Points were taken away with no explanation as to why.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen did follow up on this issue by contacting Bill Dunn (Clean Water Revolving Fund Coordinator – MPCA) and Gene Erickson. Mr. Erickson was out of the office until August 3rd. Mr. Dunn did reply to City Clerk Gruenhagen request as to why there was a reduction in points. Mr. Dunn's response per email:

    • This e-mail is in response to Jeremy Gruenhagen request that I (Bill Dunn) explain in writing the recent determination by the Minnesota Pollution control Agency related to Total Maximum Daily Load points and TMDL grant eligibility. Both the 2010 Intended Use Plan and Project Priority List have recently been distributed to the municipalities and will be finalized after August 10, 2009. During the review of projects that had bee awarded TMDL points under the PPL scoring system MPCA staff realized that the Hamburg project to rehab the collection system had been awarded the TMDL points in June 2008 without the required waste load allocation. State stature has established that requirement for eligibility to the TMDL Grant Program.
    • This was a mistake that should have been discovered when the application was submitted. I apologize for that error, but now that it has been discovered, the MPCA has no choice but to correct that mistake in the next publication of the 2010 PPL and subsequent years. I understand that this is a significant change from the information I presented in front of the City Council in October 2008. Unfortunately, I did not have all the file information with me that would have allowed me to identify that mistake.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen again pointed out that back in June 2008 the city was at 78 points but now the city has dropped to 58 points.
  • Councilmember Mueller commented that this email should be forwarded to Senator Ortman and Representative Kohls.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will forward the emails to Senator Ortman and Representative Kohls.


LGA Un-Allotment for 2009 & 2010


  • The LGA Un-Allotment will not affect the City of Hamburg.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council if they would like to consider doing something from the 2009 Budget, Items to Consider.
    • Councilmember Mueller suggested having Don Harms provide Council with an estimate to redo the sidewalk across the road from Parkside Tavern from Railroad Street to 480 Henrietta Avenue and have the project put on next year's budget.
    • Council came up with new tires for the Bobcat and if they should purchase a new lawnmower. They also discussed several other items but were not sure what was all on the Wish List.
      • City Clerk Gruenhagen will email the list to the council members for their review.


2010 City Budget


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen reminded Council that the proposed property tax levy must be submitted to Carver County Auditors Office by September 15, 2009.


Omnibus Liquor Bill


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that Deputy Clerk Block brought back, from the MCFOA Conference, a copy of the Omnibus Liquor Bill that was passed.
    • This bill contains a provision that a license is not needed to serve liquor in a public facility when no commercial transaction is taking place other than possible rental of the facility. An example of this is when someone rents a municipally owned community center or park shelter for a family reunion, and intends to serve alcohol, but is not selling the alcohol. The only commercial transaction is the renting of the facility, and so a license is not needed. This has no effect on a city's ability to prohibit liquor consumption in any or all of its public facilities.
    • A Public facility is defined to include parks, community centers, or other accommodations or facilities owned or managed by or on behalf of a subdivision of the state, including any county, city, town, or township, or independent district of the state. It clarifies that rental of a public facility is not a commercial transaction, and a permit is not required. This was brought forward to clarify the situation where a family rents the Community Center/Hall/Park to host a family reunion, and may be serving alcolhol but is not charging for the alcohol. A license is not needed, as long as the city allows alcohol in the building. Effective August 1, 2009.


National Night Out – August 4, 2009


  • Fire Chief Droege asked to have Maintenance Worker Byerly open the Park building up by noon.


City Zoning Ordinances


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will keep this item on the agenda incase Council would like to add anything to their previous requests.


Resolution Number 2009-10


  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council to approve Resolution 2009-10: Resolution supporting the Fiber Optic Funding request by Carver County through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
    • The fiber optic loop would connect county facilities, libraries, school district facilities, city buildings and other important local government buildings through a public/private partnership to provide service to residents and businesses.
    • The City of Hamburg would benefit by reducing operating expenses, improve connectivity, and having an additional economic development asset in the community.
    • The residents and business owners in the City of Hamburg will benefit through this public/private partnership by having an opportunity to obtain a broadband connection and increase competition amongst telecommunication companies.
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to approve Resolution 2009-10 supporting the Fiber Optic funding request by Carver County through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


City Council Reports


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


Councilmember Cummiskey (Streets) had nothing further to report.


Councilmember Trebesch (Buildings)


  • Councilmember Trebesch mentioned that he has contacted K & K Services (Kip Trebesch) notifying him that Council did approve their additional $350 bid to do flashing (trim) repair work on the North side of the Hall.


Councilmember Barnes (Parks) had nothing further to report.


Mayor Malz


  • Mayor Malz asked if removing the street light from behind the North side of the Hall would save the city any money. Council discussed and decided that there would be no benefit to the city to remove the light.


Approve Claims List for July 2009


City Clerk Gruenhagen added the following check numbers:

  • 13955 - MVTL Laboratories, Inc – Sewer Fund – Discharge Sample - $73.00
  • 13956 – State Bank of Hamburg – Debt Service – Ambulance Certificate of Indebtedness - $12,749.00
  • 13957 – Dennis Byerly – Divided – Wagers 07-13-09 to 07-26-09 - $1,101.43
  • 13958 – Susan Block – Gen/Water/Sewer – Wages 07-13-09 to 07-26-09 - $667.07


Councilmember Mueller moved to approve the July 2009 claims list from Claim Number 13942 though 13958 including the ACH payments, seconded by Councilmember Barnes and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


City Clerk Gruenhagen reminded Council that he will be taking a vacation day Friday, July 31, 2009. Deputy Clerk Block will adjust her hours so she can be at the office until 3 or 3:30 p.m. on Friday.


Councilmember Mueller moved to adjourn the Hamburg City Council meeting at 9:17 p.m., seconded by Councilmember Barnes and motion unanimously carried. All Council Members were present.


Submitted by:

Sue Block

Deputy Clerk