Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween: Teachable moment of tolerance

Yesterday during dinner with the kids as we were discussing what everyone did at school the conversation moved toward Friday. My two oldest boys mentioned that they were having a Fall Festival instead of Halloween and that they cannot wear costumes. I put a small rant on Facebook placing blame on progressives, liberals, and commie's in general. From my rant I was accused as being an ideologue and asked to do more research on the topic of why Halloween is no longer allowed in school. So I took the challenge unlike some of those that respond to my rants or blog entries.

Halloween or All Hallow's Eve was established by the church when Pope Gregory IV created "All Hallow's Eve for October 31 and All Saints Day for November 1" ( I did locate an article from 2003 where New Harvest Ministry evangelist Mark Poff pushed for schools to drop any Halloween observance because of its pagan roots ( Granted the Pope is Catholic, although they are trying to incorporate Anglicans again, who is Poff to question Pope Gregory IV's decision? One of my friends did retort on my Facebook rant that their Catholic Church was having a "Halloween Trunk or Treat" celebration and another church is allowing kids to come to Saturday night's mass in costume.

So, if my progressive and liberal friends are not behind the rebranding of Halloween to Harvest Festivals then where are they in defense of it? Why is there not more outrage? In researching the removal of Halloween I came across this article where Puyallup School District decided to have no observance of Halloween because "Halloween parties and parades waste valuable classroom time, some families can't afford costumes, and Halloween celebrations and children dressed in Halloween costumes might be offensive to real witches." WHAT, offensive to real witches?

While I agree that school ought to be academic related, so why not use Halloween as a teaching moment instead of banning the event or rebranding it. As Halloween approaches teach children to roots of All Hallow's Eve and its relationship to Wicca and Mother Earth. Fight the demonic symbolism and teach children in American schools that religious tolerance is a basis of our society. Teach the children that not all people they will encounter share their view on religion. Before anyone gets out of hand here, I am not looking for religious teachings of Wicca or Satanism; rather I am preaching tolerance. All too often in our society we look to eliminate the perceived offensive comment, symbol, or activity in dealing with differences our grand melting pot encompasses. Let's embrace our differences and use moments these moments to discuss and understand.

We, as Americans, need to step up and use the power of conversation, understanding, and compassion to illustrate that tolerance is still the basis of our society instead of allowing the undercurrent of political correctness to erode tolerance.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

New House Health Care Reform Bill Unveiled: Get informed!!!!!

Today House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) unveiled a new health care package ( that will cost $894 billion. The new house bill is roughly 500 pages longer and $300 billion less than the original House bill. My knee jerk reaction is to ask Speaker Pelosi to go back and craft a bill that is another 1500 pages longer so it will cost $0. All kidding aside the House Bill does cover more people than the current Senate bill; 36M to 29M people. To assist cover some of the cost will be 5.4% surtax on income, thus bringing the IRS into your health care, on individuals earning more than $500K and couples making more than $1M. Although the House bill does contain a public option, it is not based on Medicare rates. Instead the Government will have to negotiate with hospital, clinics and doctors to establish rates.

On the surface this makes sense but it begs the question: How can the government be referee and player at the same time? White House Speaker Robert Gibbs told reporters, "You've seen people say that this is going to drive policies up in price. I don't think that – I think whenever you're adding more choices through greater competition into the health care system, you're driving down costs. That's what the president wants to see. That's a big aim in health care reform, and I think that's what we're working toward" ( While I agree with Gibbs that adding more choices will drive down costs through greater competition, but that requires more than one choice. Adding just a public option is not the plural form of additional choice that Gibbs, the White House, and Democrats are pushing. We need more than one choice to drive down costs.

That being said, it does not mean that some things are good in the bill. The elimination of pre-existing conditions and caps on benefits is a good step to make health insurance portable. The House bill does contain a mandate on all Americans have coverage with the belief that it will stem uninsured patients but the penalty for not having health insurance does not deter one from going without. There is another way Congress can achieve the insurance mandate without creating uproar.

The other way is through Medical Savings Programs that replace Medicare and Medicaid for those under 55 years of age. All that needs to be done is to divert all the money deducted from ones paycheck currently for Medicare and Medicaid to a medical savings account (MSA). The MSA would be established and Congress will not be able to touch it, as they did with SSN, then as one required health coverage the money would be there. If one decided to use the MSA as their sole insurance coverage and to pay out of pocket one could. By making all medical records electronic, it would be easy enough for health care providers to collect for MSA's through automatic deductions.

I encourage everyone to read the House bill. I have posted the link above. I know I will. Be informed, make your own decision, and then inform your Congress representative on how you feel about the bill. Also, let's discuss it here and other places to make sure all aspects of the bill are properly vetted before passing the bill.

Hamburg City Council Meeting Minutes – September 22, 2009

Mayor Malz called the regular meeting of the Hamburg City Council to order at 8:00 p.m. 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. Others present were Richard Odoms (150 Jacob Street). Councilmember Larry Mueller arrived at 8:13 and Councilmember Brian Cummiskey arrived later during the meeting.


Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption

  • Added – H1N1 memo from Carver County Public Health
  • Added – Updated Delinquent Water Bill Report
  • Added – Claims List
  • Added – Quote from Henning's Excavating for storm sewer work at the City Shop.

Councilmember Barnes moved to accept the agenda with the four additions, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried.


Old City Business

  • Number 1 – The cities web site is almost up and ready. It just needs some updating and corrections.
  • Number 3 – Changing the wording in Ordinance #95.06 (B) – This will be done at the same time the cities zoning ordinances are adopted.
  • Number 4 – Business Cards – The business cards should be ready by the next council meeting.
  • Number 5 – Community Center – will be kept as an on-going project.
  • Number 6 – Evaluation Forms - Another meeting will be set up with Councilmember Trebesch and Councilmember Cummiskey to finalize them.
  • Number 7 – Discuss charging organizations a fee to help cover background fees. - Has been completed.
  • Number 8 – Video Tape City Property and Equipment – is on-going.
  • Number 9 – Set up a Committee and Meeting for City Sign Usage – City Clerk Gruenhagen, Councilmember John Barnes, and a member from each organization except churches will be on the committee. When to meet has not been decided.


Approve Minutes for July 28, 2009 and August 11, 2009

  • Councilmember Barnes moved to approve the City Council meeting minutes for July 28, 2009 and August 11, 2009, Councilmember Trebesch seconded and motion unanimously carried.


Fire Department Report – Chief Brad Droege


US Fish & Wildlife Grant & 2009 FEMA Grant

  • Fire Chief Droege informed Council that he has ordered four Wild Line Jackets, four Wild Line Pants, and a drip can.
  • Fire Chief Droege commented that contrary to the statement in the Norwood Times the Fire Department did not receive H1N1 flu shots or purchase masks with the US Fish & Wildlife Grant. He wanted to make it clear that this is not what they used the money for.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Chief Droege and Council that he will make sure the paper retracts that statement.

FEMA Grant

  • Fire Chief Droege reported that what he has heard from vendors the grants will be out the end of November or early December.

Fire Hall Garage Door

  • The Ambulance door (Garage Door Opener) at the fire station stopped working. The door was installed new in 1989, last year $150 was spent to repair it. The year before that $100 was spent fixing it. Now the cost would be around $175 to fix it again this year. Fire Chief Droege and City Clerk Gruenhagen discussed what should be done about the garage door opener and decided to have a new one installed. The new opener cost $900 however Ridgeview Medical will be paying $650 and the City of Hamburg will pay $250. Council had no objections to installing a new opener as stated above.

Fire Fighter Radio

  • Last spring there was a large swamp fire that the Hamburg Fire Department helped extinguish but during the fire one of the fire fighters radio was accidentally submerged in swamp water. Four months later the radio stopped working. Fire Chief Droege is working with the insurance company to find out if the radio would be covered under the policy. The radio is valued at $2,500.

J5 Trailer

  • Fire Chief Droege asked Council for a motion to accept a donation for the purchase of a J5 Trailer. The Fire Department Relief purchased the trailer for somewhere around $4,400 to $4,500.
  • Councilmember Barnes moved to accept the Fire Department Relief Associations donation for the purchase of a trailer for the J5, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried.

Handicap Bathrooms at the Hall

  • Fire Chief Droege reported that at a wedding dance last weekend there was a person in an electric wheel chair that could not get through the women's bathroom door. The entrance door to the bathroom was to narrow. Something has to be done, there is a handicap ramp to get into the Hall but the bathrooms are inaccessible to persons in wheel chairs.
  • Council discussed this issue and no decision was made at this time.

H1N1 Flu Virus

  • Fire Chief Droege handed out informational pamphlets that he had received during last nights Fire Department meeting. He went over some of the basic information that was listed.
  • Influenza – Basics
    • Contagious viral respiratory illness.
    • Fever, Headache, body aches, sore throat, cough, runny nose
      • Very abrupt onset
      • Contagious 1 day before to 7 days after symptom onset
    • Every year 5% to 20% of population gets infected
    • Typically 36,000 deaths per year (0.01%)
    • Virus changes yearly
      • Hence the need for yearly shot
  • Hospital Beds
    • There are only 3,000 in the 7 county metro area.
  • Food
    • Store a two week supply of water and food.
    • You may not be able to get to a store, the store is out of supplies, or there are not enough employees to work in the store.
  • Employment
    • If a person contracts H1N1 they are not to go back to work for 7 days.


  • EMS Response
    • During a pandemic, EMS resources will vary; how bad is it today?
    • Green – usual EMS operations
    • Yellow – EMS services are pending or not answering calls that normally would warrant a Code 3 response.
    • Red – EMS services are pending or not answering calls for which there is a significant risk of death for the patient.
    • May be a delay in responding, 1st responders may be busy with another call or they are short staffed to respond. The calls will be triaged.
  • EMS Staffing
    • Will likely not respond with 2 paramedics to help protect them from the H1V1 flu.
  • Hamburg Fire Department has received a thousand masks from Carver County. They also received foam hand cleaner which will be mounted in the fire trucks, fire station, and in the Community Center bathrooms. They also ordered goggles and liquid hand sanitizer.
  • Vaccinations
    • Typical government, they knew last year that this virus was coming and should have had the vaccination ready.
    • The first responders will not be getting their shots until the end of October when this will be the pike time to get the H1N1virus.
  • Adam Glander (201 Martha Street) will keep a list of first responders and members of the Fire Department who are sick with H1N1 and who are available to respond to emergencies.
  • The Hamburg Fire Department is ready for the H1N1 outbreak and will be meeting once a month at the Fire Station and through emails with the County to keep on top of it.

Fire Prevention (October 9th)

  • The yearly fire prevention event will be held at the Hamburg Fire Station on October 9, 2009.

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

  • The planning of the breakfast is on track. The founders of S.A.F.E.R. will be there with the new S.A.F.E.R. puppy and the Fire Department will be putting on demos. Some of the sponsors are; Thrivent for Lutherans who are supplementing funding and the Fire Department Relief Association's from Hamburg, Norwood/Young America, Waconia, and Cologne.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen mentioned to Fire Chief Droege to let him know what he wants on the electric sign.
  • Fire Chief Droege continued that there will be a silent auction.

Pension Increase for Reporting Year 2010

  • Fire Chief Droege commented that the pension increase is when ever Council makes a decision.


Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)


Storm Sewer Repair & Driveway Replacement (City Shop)

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly asked City Clerk Gruenhagen if he had received an estimate from Henning's.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen replied that he received it today and one from Juul for $8,548.50. The estimate from Henning Excavating was for $6,222.00.
  • Mayor Malz asked if they were comparable to each other.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen replied that they are pretty much comparable. Councilmember Mueller agreed.
  • Councilmember Trebesch asked where the manhole would be placed.
    • Councilmember Mueller replied that the manhole would be in the lawn between the sidewalk and the play ground swings then a line will run towards the building to a regular catch basin with an open back plate. By doing this it will lower the catch basin from were the existing slab is. Then the water would flow into the new 21" sewer line to the County ditch. There is a storm sewer line already in this area between the Post Office and the Hall/City Shop buildings.
  • Council discussed the estimates and decided that if they go with Henning's a completion date should be given so it gets completed on a timely basis's.
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to hire Henning Excavating to install a new storm sewer pipe to the ramp at the City Shop for the price of $6,222 and have it completed by, no later than, October 20, 2009, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Maintenance Worker Byerly to call Henning's Excavating.
    • Councilmember Mueller asked Maintenance Worker Byerly to tell Henning's that he would like to talk to them before they order the manhole or catch basin.
  • Council will discuss having the shop driveway done next year.

Community Hall Repairs – Doors

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that he had received an estimate from K&K Services to replace the side shop door. The cost for a commercial steel door with panic hardware and labor was $3,485. H2 Development Inc. sent in an estimate for the same type of door in the amount of $1,740.
  • Council discussed that the side shop door does not need a panic bar. They discussed the type of door they wanted, what type of handle, does it need a door closer, and should the handle have a lock and the door have a dead bolt or just use a dead bolt. Council also discussed both bids and decided that neither one placed a bid for the type of door they wanted to be installed. Council decided to have both companies re-bid. Council requested a bid for a commercial door with no panic bar, a lever handle with no lock, a dead bolt key lock only, and no door closer. They also requested the debris be removed. Council decided to have Maintenance Worker Byerly paint the door before it is hung.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will call both companies and ask for re-bid estimates for the specs that Council had decided on. He will also ask that the bids be in by the next City Council meeting.

Community Hall Repairs – Fans

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen suggested that if Councilmember Trebesch does not have enough time to build brackets for the new fans then maybe O.E.M. could be hired to make them. City Clerk Gruenhagen also wants the ceiling fans down so he does not receive anymore complaints from renters that they do not work. These two projects need to get completed ASAP.
  • Council discussed and it was decided that Maintenance Worker Byerly will work with Councilmember Trebesch to get the fans taken care of and have the electrical boxes in the Hall done at the same time.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey brought up that the Lions Club want to put fans in the park building. Councilmember Cummiskey suggested that if the Hall ceiling fans work then give them to the Lions to hang at their cost. If they do not work to throw them away. The Lions are also asking if the lights in the park building could be brighter.
    • Council discussed and decided that someone from the Lions Club should come before Council and put in a request for the fans and different lights.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen added that this type of request should have been made before the September proposed budget meeting. The Hall repairs have to come first.
    • Mayor Malz suggested moving on and if the Lions want the fans they can come before Council.

Gate Valve on Henrietta Avenue (Between Hall & Post Office)

  • Councilmember Mueller asked Maintenance Worker Byerly if he had fixed the gate valve.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly replied that he had jetted and vacuumed out the valve and also turned it enough to know that it works.

Water Line in Park

  • Mayor Malz asked Maintenance Worker Byerly if he had found and fixed the water line in the park that was causing the ground to be extremely saturated. After the Steak Fry at the park some people stepped in it and the water went up over their shoes.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly said he would take another look, he has not been able to find it.
    • Mayor Malz replied that he was there before the council meeting tonight and it was wet. He explained again where the leak was.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly commented that it should have been marked.
    • Mayor Malz replied that you can't miss it. The ground is wet and spongy.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly responded, all right.

Loss Control Meeting

  • Councilmember Mueller asked if Maintenance Worker Byerly was able to attend the Loss Control meeting on equipment sharing.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly replied that he did.
  • Councilmember Mueller asked if they accomplished anything.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly reported they are using the agreement from Scott County. The agreement would be for equipment sharing and cost sharing between the cities in Carver County.
    • Councilmember Mueller commented that this is something that should be followed up on. It will be a big advantage for the city.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly continued that everything should be written down if there is a catastrophe then you would have record of it for insurance.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will copy the information and give it to council at the next Council meeting.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly added that there is another meeting in a couple of months.

Cleaning Community Center

  • Councilmember Barnes asked Maintenance Worker Byerly how often he cleans the Community Center?
  • Maintenance Worker Byerly replied once a week, the Lions used it last night.
  • Councilmember Barnes stated that when there is a Council meeting and the Community Center is open to the public the floor should at least be swept.
  • Maintenance Worker Byerly responded: OK.

Air Conditioning for Hall

  • Councilmember Mueller suggested getting more estimates for installing an air conditioner at the Hall. Two bids were received however they are completely opposite of each other. He thought it would be best to hire a consultant, get an experts opinion on what type of air conditioner would be best and costs.
  • City Council agreed but decision was made at this time.




Deputy Clerk Report


Delinquent Utility Bills

  • Deputy Clerk Block reported that the delinquencies are getting better and no one had their water turned off.
  • Emily Siebold is still making her payments.
  • Jeff Muri was sent another letter asking for payment. Mr. Muri does not own the house anymore so the water can not be turned off. The Title Company says it is not their place to pay the bill even though the amount due at closing was their mistake, they are not responsible. All the Title Company can do is ask Mr. Muri to pay. If he does not pay Deputy Clerk Block will leave it up to Council on what they want done next.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen suggested that if Mr. Muri does not respond to the letter then have Mac Willemsssen (City Attorney) send Mr. Muri a letter.
    • Council discussed taking this matter to small claims court but the expenses to file a court claim is about the same as his unpaid water bill of $85.62. Council also discussed who you would take to court, Mr. Muri for not paying or the Title Company for making the error.
    • Council decided to wait to find out if Mr. Muri responds to the letter from the city before taking up more time to discussing it at this meeting.
  • Kim Barstad did make a $110.00 payment on September 8th but she is still 30 days past due on the rest of the amount owed. Deputy Clerk Block commented that if Ms. Barstad does not pay at the end of the month (September 30th) she will be sent another shut off notice.
  • Robert Gregonis (320 Sophia) paid his delinquent amount but was short sixty-six cents.
  • Mayor Malz asked about the delinquent amount due from MES Group (Parkside Tavern).
    • Deputy Clerk Block responded that their delinquency was not over 30 days past due, they have until September 30th to pay before a shut-off letter could be sent.
  • Deputy Clerk Block informed Council that City Clerk Gruenhagen and she worked for about an hour adjusting EFN Investments penalty amounts per Councils direction from the last Council meeting. They have since paid the adjusted amount and the account is now current.


Clerk/Treasurer Report


Mosquito Control for 2010

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that he had met with a representative from Clark Mosquito Control. The city is contracted with them through the 2010 season. In spring they may present a proposal for another three year contract.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked if they could spray along the fence line at the city park.
    • The representative did go down to the park and look at the area. He will contact the city at a later date with a contract proposal of what it would cost to spray the fence line.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen also asked him if the spraying dates could be adjusted. This season there was a lot of dry weather in May and June but in late August early September the mosquitoes were extremely bad due to the wet weather. The representative comment that there should be no problem with moving spraying dates.
  • Clark Mosquito Control also treats storm sewers and county drainage ditches however the County may not like having the ditch treated due to environmental issues. City Clerk Gruenhagen commented that he did not know if it would be beneficial to treat the storm sewers.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen had asked how much a sprayer and chemicals would cost if the city did their own spraying. The representative gave an estimate that the sprayer would be about $8,400 and $50 per gallon for the spray. One gallon usually can be used for 1 to 2 sprays depending on the areas size. In about 4-5 years it would pay for itself. Council would also have to have someone go out at night to do the spraying and there would be maintenance costs to consider plus training and licensing.
  • Next year it will be about $255 per spray and the representative will contact City Clerk Gruenhagen sometime in October what the additional cost would be to spray the park.

Ceiling Fans at Hall

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen reiterated that Council was in agreement that if the Lions Club wants the Hall ceiling fans they can have them. The Lions Club would have to pay for installing the fans at the park.

Health Insurance Options for 2010

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that he had spoken with Bill Singer from the AT Group. Mr. Singer represents the City in finding affordable Health Insurance. Mr. Singer is willing to come out to a Council meeting to discuss the different types of Health Insurance coverage or members of council can call him individually.
  • Council, Mayor Malz, and City Clerk Gruenhagen all agreed that Mr. Singer should come out to a council meeting to discuss the various policies.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will contact Mr. Singer and ask him to attend the council meeting scheduled for the end of October.

City Share of Fines

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council that if they remembered when Jim Keeler (Carver County) was at a council meeting discussing the Prosecution Contract. He talked about the fines being a third, a third, a third, well that has been changed by a new Minnesota Law. Rita Worm (Court Operations Supervisor) sent an email stating due to the new law the fine shares will now be distributed two-thirds to the municipality and one-third to the state. The courts will no longer be disbursing one-third to the prosecution contract. Hamburg should see an increase in fine payments to the city.

To The Home Insurance Coverage

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that he had spoken with Mr. Sprengeler and he did state that he had found new insurance coverage and that he would have a copy faxed in. City Clerk Gruenhagen reported that he has not received the fax as of tonights council meeting.
  • Mayor Malz commented that Mr. Sprengeler does have to have insurance and to wait to see if a copy of the insurance is received this week. Insurance coverage is mandatory to protect everybody involved with this project.
  • Councilmember Barnes added that the insurance agent should have contacted the city to let us know that Mr. Sprengeler does have insurance and the policy is being worked on.
  • Richard Odoms (150 Jacob Street) addressed Council that he would like to say something but he was not speaking on Mr. Sprengeler behalf but he was speaking because he has been helping promote Mr. Sprengeler's company. He is not involved in anyway financially. Mr. Odoms had spoken with Mr. Sprengeler and sent City Clerk Gruenhagen an email yesterday, September 21st that he had found out that Mr. Sprengeler insurance was cancelled. Mr. Sprengeler stopped by Mr. Odoms home and Mr. Odoms asked Mr. Sprengeler quite frankly what the deal with the insurance was. Mr. Sprengeler replied that the insurance company that he was with cancelled the policy. His insurance agent went to a better company and got a policy in effect and the policy was cheaper. Mr. Odoms commented that Mr. Sprengeler informed him and he has no reason to disbelieve him that he had paid the new company the premium but it will take some time for the insurance company to get the certificate of insurance. Mr. Odoms believes that Mr. Sprengeler is an honorable person and he will do what is right. The cancellation was a surprise to Mr. Sprengeler as it was to Mr. Odoms.
  • Councilmember Barnes and Mayor Malz both commented that the insurance company or insurance agent should have contacted City office on this matter.
    • Mr. Odoms replied that this is what he had suggested to Mr. Sprengeler that the insurance company should have contacted City Clerk Gruenhagen, sent an email, or something.
  • Mayor Malz asked Mr. Odoms that if he speaks with Mr. Sprengeler to emphasize the importance of getting the City a copy of his insurance coverage.

City Zoning Ordinances – Storm Sewer Ordinance

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that he had included in their agenda packets a template of the Storm Sewer Ordinance. Ann Perry (City Planning Consultant) will be able to attend the October 13th City Council meeting. He asked Council if they would like to meet at 6:00 p.m. before the council meeting or set a separate date to go over ordinances.
  • Council discussed and decided to hold the special meeting at 6:00 p.m. on October 13th before the regularly scheduled City Council meeting.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey made a motion to hold a Special Meeting to discuss the City Zoning Ordinance and Storm Sewer Ordinance at 6:00 p.m. on October 13, 2009, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.
  • Council also asked City Clerk Gruenhagen to forward the Storm Sewer Ordinance to Ann Perry so she could look it over before the meeting.

Elm and Ash Wood – Disease Trees

  • Councilmember Cummiskey brought up the issue again concerning elm and ash wood being stored in town plus other items concerning diseased wood.
  • Other members of Council and Councilmember Cummiskey discussed several different scenarios. It was decided to wait until there is a problem in or close by the city and discuss it at that time.

MN Valley Regional Rail Coalition Whistle Stop Tour

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen reminded Council that the Whistle Stop Tour will arrive in Hamburg on Tuesday, September 29, 2009, at 9:30 a.m. and depart the city at 9:50 a.m. Councilmember Mueller and City Clerk Gruenhagen will be attending. Other Council members could attend if they wanted.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to hold Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. as a Special Meeting at the Railroad crossing and until the Train leaves Hamburg, seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

H1N1 Memo from Carver County

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen brought up the subject that if he or Deputy Clerk Block comes down with the H1N1 flu he would prefer that she or he stays home for at least 7 days. As a city precaution if anyone on Council or Maintenance Worker Byerly comes down with it they should take the precautionary steps and stay at home for the recommended 7 days also.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey suggested that each city employee write down their main priorities that have to get done and to have one or two persons trained to back them up.
  • Council discussed what could be done to try and minimize the possibility of contracting the H1N1 virus. They decided to have Maintenance Worker Byerly purchase some Lysol Disinfectant Wipes for the phones, to clean and disinfect the drinking fountain, and wipe down the door handles.




City Council Reports


Councilmember Mueller (Sewer & Water)

  • Councilmember Mueller informed Council that the storm sewer bids could vary depending how far Henning will have to dig down to find the existing line. They charge by the foot.


Councilmember Cummiskey (Streets)

  • Councilmember Cummiskey informed Council that there is an auction tomorrow, September 23rd, in Cologne and an 8' meat cooler will be auctioned off. He does not know if it is a standup or walk-in cooler. Councilmember Cummiskey was going to the auction and asked Council if he should consider purchasing the cooler if it was in good shape.
  • Council discussed if they should give Councilmember Cummiskey permission to use his own judgment whether or not the cooler is in good enough condition to purchase. Councilmember Cummiskey asked if he could go up to $1,500 if it is a walk-in cooler.
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to give Councilmember Cummiskey authority to look at the cooler and use his best judgment on purchasing the cooler at a maximum of $1,500, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Councilmember Trebesch (Buildings)

  • Councilmember Trebesch noted to the other members of Council that the Waste Management Dump Truck is missing the tar payment when he/she backs up to pick up the dumpster by the Hall. They are creating a large hole by the dumpster and something should be done about it before winter.
  • Councilmember Trebesch mentioned that a resident by his home was shooting off fireworks between 9:30 & 9:45 p.m. the other night. He decided not to call it in.
    • The other members of Council told him to make sure he calls this in so it gets on record. If nothing is on record that the City can not do anything about it.


Councilmember Barnes (Parks) had no further comments.


Mayor Malz had no further comments.


Approve Claims List for August 2009


City Clerk Gruenhagen explained claim #14044, Twin City Garage Door, for $900. The City of Hamburg will pay $250 and Ridgeview will reimburse the City $650 for the new garage door opener.


City Clerk Gruenhagen also explained claim #14038, LMCIT, Property & Casualty Insurance Renewal, for $19,492. This bill is for insuring city property (buildings). After all the changes that were made by Council the insurance coverage premium only increased by about $200.


Mayor Malz questioned claim #14030, Wm. Mueller & Sons, fuel for City vehicles & topsoil, totaling $4,094.26. He was absent at the last council meeting when this was approved but asked if it could be explained to him.

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen explained that most of the bill was gas for the City vehicles and Fire Department trucks. About $30 of the bill was spent on topsoil for the ball field.


Councilmember Mueller asked if Maintenance Worker Byerly is using off road fuel for the city vehicles, because he can.

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen replied that he did not know if he was or not.


Councilmember Trebesch asked if Xcel Energy has any lights for the park building and if the price would be cheaper buying through Xcel.

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen replied that he previously had checked into this and purchasing the light bulbs somewhere else would be cheaper.


Councilmember Trebesch made a motion to accept Claim Numbers 14003 through 14047 and the three ACH payments, Councilmember Barnes seconded and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Councilmember Barnes moved to adjourn the Hamburg City Council meeting at 9:42 p.m., seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council Members were present.



                                        Submitted by:




                                        Sue Block                                                        Deputy Clerk

Hamburg City Council Meeting Minutes – September 8, 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, and Maintenance Worker Dennis Byerly were present. Fire Chief Brad Droege arrived at 7:17 p.m. Others present were Fire Fighters Adam Glander and Scott Karels, Fred & Heidi Pawelk (EFN Investments) and Myron (Mike) Stuewe (661 Park Avenue) arriving at 7:12 p.m. Mayor Malz was absent.


Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption

  • Added – September 22nd Council Meeting reschedule or change starting time
  • Added – Playground Equipment at Brownton
  • Added – Used Lawnmowers
  • Added – Storm Sewer Drain at City Shop
  • Added – Tree Auction
  • Councilmember Trebesch moved to accept the agenda with the five additions, City Clerk Gruenhagen's addition, Councilmember Mueller's three additions, and Councilmember Cummiskey's addition, seconded by Councilmember Barnes and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present except for Mayor Malz.


Old City Business

  • Number 2 – City Clerk Gruenhagen mentioned to Council that if they want to see the cities web site progress he would show it to them after the meeting.
  • Number 5 – Business Cards
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen reported that they are not done yet.
  • Number 8 – Councilmember Barnes asked how the review of evaluation forms was coming along.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen replied that another meeting will be set up with Councilmember Trebesch and Councilmember Cummiskey to review them again.
  • Number 12 – Fix crack in sidewalk by 430 Railroad Street.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will follow up with Mr. Harms again.


EFN Investments, Inc. – Fred & Heidi Pawelk – Utility Service Delinquency Hearing

  • Mr. Pawelk started out by addressing the delinquent charges on their apartment buildings in Hamburg. The reason they were late in paying their January 2008 payment was due to the fact that they were in Denver, Colorado at a hospital with their son who was extremely sick. They paid the utility bills as soon as they got back which was one day after the due date. They have not been late before and would like to have the late fee forgiven. Times are tough and they are paying water and sewer on 11 vacant apartments.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen commented that he is more then willing to forgive the compounding late charges however the late charge for the actual month they were late should be paid.
    • Council asked Mr. & Mrs. Pawelk if there is a chance of them being late again to call the City Office and let them know.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey made a motion to have EFN Investments, Inc. pay the initial penalty fee but the City of Hamburg will wave the compounding penalty fees, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.



Myron Stuewe Request for use of Picnic Tables from Park (September 25, 2009)

  • Mr. Stuewe stopped in the City Office requesting the use of the park picnic tables.
    • Deputy Clerk Block and City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Mr. Stuewe that this would have to be a Council decision. He would have to ask Council if he could use them at the next Council meeting on August 25th.
  • Mr. Stuewe was not present at the Council meeting.
    • Mayor Malz asked to have Mr. Stuewe contacted to be present at the next council meeting to request the picnic tables and put this on the next council agenda.


Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)


Keys for City Buildings

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly has made and hung keys for Council members in the City Shop area.

Water Tower

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly informed Council that Maguire Iron, Inc., the company that painted the water tower last year, will be back to fix the rust spots on the tower.
  • The cities contract with Maguire Iron, Inc. is up for renewal. Council discussed if they should renew the contract Maguire Iron has drawn up for the years 2010, 2012, and 2014. The rate to clean out all sediment and inspect the inside and outside of the tank for each year was $1,450.00. In 2013 they would paint the exterior of the water tower at the rate of $19,870.00.
  • Councilmember Barnes asked about the fuel or other surcharges in effect at the time of project performance: Surcharges shall be limited to no more than 10% of the contracted amount plus any additional services rendered.
    • Council discussed the possible fuel charges and surcharges and decided that this statement in the contract is standard due to fuel costs.
  • Councilmember Mueller made a motion to accept the service contract with Maguire Iron, Inc. for Hamburg's water tower maintenance and painting, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

Cooling Fans for the Hall

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly informed Council that Rob's Electric was at the Hall today checking the locations where Council decided to put the cooling fans. They informed Maintenance Worker Byerly that installing the fans on the south wall will not work because of the weight of the fans they should be mounted on the steel beams or on a wood baseboard that spans three wall studs.
  • Councilmember Trebesch will look at what is needed to make some brackets for the fans.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen suggested wiring individual on/off switches for the fans. This would allow renters to control the air movement.

Electrical Repairs in the Hall

  • The old fuse boxes will be made into junction boxes and another box will be added for breakers. Dan from Robb's Electric suggested having breakers and switches.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council if the wanted to go ahead with the breaker boxes, it is budgeted and there is $3,500 in the budget, does Council want to just go ahead with the project?
    • Council agreed that as long as there is money to do the project then go ahead and do it.
    • Installing the fans can come out of the Hall Renovation Fund.

Doors for Hall

  • Councilmember Mueller asked if Craig Glander has looked at the doors to replace at the Hall.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen replied that he has not.
  • Maintenance Worker Byerly replied that Ed Hatterschide did stop in and look at what needs to be done with the doors.
  • Councilmember Mueller will contact Craig Glander again.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey had spoken with Rob Trebesch about taking a look at the doors also.

Down Spouts on east side of Hall

  • Councilmember Mueller informed Maintenance Worker Byerly that someone must have taken a baseball bat and smashed in the down spout on the east side of the hall and that he should replace it.

Gate Valve

  • Councilmember Mueller talked to Maintenance Worker Byerly earlier in the week about cleaning out the gate valve on Henrietta Avenue in front of the Hall.

Water Shut-Off Location Worksheet

  • Councilmember Mueller mentioned to Maintenance Worker Byerly that he should get the water shut-off locations completed.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly replied that he had just turned in 15 locates last week.
    • Deputy Clerk Block reported that she did have the updates and will get them recorded.

LMCIT Loss Control Survey on June 11, 2009

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked if Maintenance Worker Byerly if he had completed any more projects that were on the list.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly replied that he had painted the yellow line in front of the electrical box.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen added that he had received a follow up letter from the Loss Control Services and he will report back to them about any updates. He asked Maintenance Worker Byerly to continue working on the projects.
  • Councilmember Mueller brought up the railing for the steps by the City Shop.
    • Councilmember Trebesch responded that he is working on this and will get it completed.

Water Leak in Park

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Maintenance Worker Byerly if he had fixed the water leak at the park.
    • Maintenance Worker Byerly reported that he still has not found the leak.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will work with Maintenance Worker Byerly on locating the leak.

Dump Station in Park

  • Councilmember Mueller informed the other members of council that he had checked out the dump station in the park to find out if it was sinking or is in need of repair. What he found out is that the ground around the dump station is sinking from people driving over the curb so they do not have to get their hoses out. The dump station has not settled but the curb is pushed down.
  • Council discussed the issue and decided to drop the issue because it is not hurting anything.


Regional Safety Training Sessions

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that he had found out from the last Regional Safety Training session that the company the League contracts out to do the training session also does a mock inspection for OSHA. There is no cost to the city for this mock inspection. He thought it would be a good idea for them to come out to Hamburg and do the inspection.
    • City Council agreed.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will set it up.


Myron Stuewe Request for use of Picnic Tables from Park (September 25, 2009)

  • Mr. Stuewe requested the use of the park picnic tables. He asked if he could use 6 or 8 tables from the park. Mr. Stuewe would pick them up Thursday afternoon and return them Saturday morning.
  • Council discussed and decided that they had no objection.
  • Councilmember Barnes moved to allow Myron Stuewe the borrow six to eight park picnic tables on Thursday, September 24, and return them on Saturday, September 26th, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch seconded and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Fire Department Report – Chief Brad Droege


US Fish & Wildlife Grant & 2009 FEMA Grant

  • Fire Chief Droege informed Council that at the last council meeting he had reported that he had not heard about the FEMA Grant and he did not think the Fire Department would be getting a grant from US Fish & Wildlife. On Friday, September 4, 2009, he received a grant for $1,650 from the US Fish & Wildlife. The Hamburg Fire Department portion is $165 from the $1,650 so they are getting $1,480 from the Feds. The money will be used to purchase four wild line jackets, four wild line pants, and a drip can. A drip can is used to start a fire if something needs to be burned off.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen commented to Fire Chief Droege to keep up the good work.

H1N1 Flu Virus

  • Fire Chief Droege reported he is working on protecting staff. They will be receiving some masks and they will be getting shots in October. The Fire Department is getting everything necessary to respond to this type of call.

Fire Prevention Week

  • Fire Prevention will be at the Hamburg Fire Station on October 9th. They will have the Smoke House available for the kids to go through.

S.A.F.E.R Breakfast – October 11th

  • The Fire Department was going to be holding a breakfast this fall at the city park to show case the new Tanker and some of their equipment, however now Mario is in need of some money for the S.A.F.E.R. program. The breakfast will now be for S.A.F.E.R. but targeted towards Mario's start up money that he used out of his own pocket. Scott Karels (225 Railroad Street) will be putting in for some matching funds. Cologne, Norwood/Young America, and Waconia want to be part of this event and will help out where needed. Tickets will be $6.00 in advance and $7.00 at the door, all you can eat. Menu will be scrambled eggs w/ham, sausages, French toast, toast, hash browns, juice, milk, and coffee. Pizza Ranch and Subway asked if they will have a silent auction. Fire Chief Droege already has 7 items that could be used for one. This will be put on by the HFD Relief Association.
  • Fire Chief Droege already has the Community Center reserved but it may not be big enough to hold the event, he asked if they could use the Hall instead.
  • Council and Fire Chief Droege discussed this event and one of the things brought up was who could do the wiping off of tables and general cleaning during the event.
    • The Boy Scouts will be contacted and the City has a Sentence to Serve person who could also work the event.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to allow the Hamburg Fire Department Relief Association the use of the Hall on October 11th (No Charge) for the S.A.F.E.R. breakfast, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present except for Mayor Malz.

Pension Increase for Reporting Year 2010

  • The Hamburg Fire Department had a meeting last Monday night and Fire Chief Droege brought up the subject of paying the fire fighters per hour. The fire fighters voted unanimously (100%) that they did not want anything per hour. Fire Chief Droege mentioned to the fire fighters that out of 11 departments Hamburg was last. New Germany receives $1,300 (pension) and they get $7.50 per call.
  • Chief Droege stated that he had congratulated Hamburg's fire fighters for not wanting to go to per hour. Number one is that they are saving the City taxpayers money.
  • Fire Chief Droege went on to say that if they were going to be paid per call/hour it would cost the City about $7,500.
  • Fire Chief Droege added that when you ask them to do something they are there to do it and he really thinks they deserve a $75, $95, or $100.
  • Fire Chief Droege thinks they do their share and dump a lot of money in. If they would not have gone after FEMA grants that they have, Council would have had to raise taxes an extra $280,000 for equipment to purchase air packs, compressor, radios, and gear. They saved the city $17,000 on the generator. He thinks the fire fighters deserve more than a $45 or $50 raise.
  • Councilmember Mueller commented that he does not think that Hamburg Fire Department should be compared to other departments in Carver County, maybe New Germany. You take the number of units they have and the number of calls. One city just took $150 away from their fire department. How much burden do you want to put on the taxpayers? We need a fire department, but.
  • Fire Chief Droege added you have 85% of the towns that are not fully vested.
    • Councilmember Mueller added that this does not mean anything to him but the rest of council it seems like it is a big concern.
    • Fire Chief Droege commented that it does not mean anything to him either.
    • Councilmember Mueller commented that their investments have doubled in 10 years.
  • Fire Chief Droege continued that he knows it is a tough thing.
    • Councilmember Mueller added that he has heard this from some of the residents
    • Fire Chief Droege countered, maybe those residents are former fire department members but we do not have residents jumping out to come and help us either. It seems like the criticizing is much more than the praise in this community. Don't get me wrong I am only talking for myself, they deserve a little better, they voted a $50. Don't get me wrong we greatly appreciate it. He just wanted to put it in the minds of Council that if they can do something more, fine. You don't want to play catch up for it was done one year.
  • Fire Chief Droege reported on what area towns are getting; Mayer - $1,700 and $9 per call, Norwood/Young America - $1,475 and $8 per call, New Germany - $1,300 and $7.50 per call, New Auburn - $1,000 and nothing per call, Plato - $1,090, Brownton - $1,000. Outer metro they are lower but he does not know what other towns in the metro they could compare to.
    • Councilmember Mueller commented that the employees wages are not compared to other cities our size in the metro area.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen replied that when the employee wages were set Council had looked at Metro and non-Metro wages then they did an average of the two.
  • Fire Chief Droege mentioned again that it is in the Councils hands and if they want to increase the Relief fund by $45, it is greatly appreciated.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Fire Chief Droege when the Fire Department feels a decision should be made. Fire Chief Droege replied by the end of the year, December.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council to make a decision by the council meeting on October 27th.
  • Fire Chief Droege commented that if you give the other employees a 3% increase that would be about a $43 increase to the Fire Department Pension. You could round that off to $45 to make it $1,450.


Deputy Clerk Block's Report


Delinquent Utility Bills Report

  • Deputy Clerk Block reported that she is not having any luck with the closing company, Title Mark, concerning Mr. Muri unpaid balance of $85.62. They say it is not their place to pay the remaining balance and that they are going to contact Mr. Muri. Deputy Clerk Block reported the water can not be turned off because the property has been sold.
  • EFN Investment, Inc. – per previous discussion with the owners tonight at the council meeting their utility bill will be adjusted and a new updated bill will be sent to them.
  • Emily Siebold is making her $50 per week payments as agreed to. She was late on one payment and a final shut-off notice was posted. Emily did call and had her $50 payment to the office by the next day.
  • Kim Barstad paid $110.00 on her delinquent bill. She is still behind but is attempting to make payments.
  • Robert Gregonis and Darrell Grams have not paid nor contacted the city office to make arrangements. They have until 4:30 tomorrow, September 9th, to make a payment otherwise a final notice will be posted and then they will be shut off.
  • Councilmember Barnes asked if the person listed on the delinquency report, Dennis Byerly, was the cities maintenance worker.
    • Deputy Clerk Block replied, yes.

Closing Pond Gates on Saturday

  • Deputy Clerk Block reminded Councilmember Cummiskey that it was his turn to close the pond gates this weekend.


Clerk/Treasurer Report

Additional Spraying for Mosquito Control for 2009

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council if they wanted to do one more mosquito spraying this year, preferable before the Chill'n and Grill'n event this weekend at the City Park. The cost would be $255 for one additional spraying and there is enough in the budget for this.
  • Council discussed and decided to go ahead with the one additional spray before the weekend.
  • Councilmember Trebesch moved to have one additional mosquito spraying before this weekend, September 12 & 13th, seconded by Councilmember Barnes and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present except for Mayor Malz.

2010 Proposed Tax Levy and 2010 Budget

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that the 2010 Proposed Tax Levy has to be submitted to the County Auditor by September 15th. The decision can be made tonight or if Council wants to discuss the budget further a Special meeting can be set up. City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council if they had any additions or changes from the Budget Workshop meeting on September 1, 2009. With the changes that were made at the budget workshop meeting, the increase would be 3.98% from last years levy. The levy would increase from $400,422 to $416,375, roughly about a 4% increase.
  • Council discussed in length the water drainage issue at the City Shop. Each Council member gave his opinion on how to correct the issue, where the water should drained to, if it should be done this year or next year, and the possible cost.
    • Councilmember Barnes suggested moving the city shop from under the Hall to an above ground facility.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that if anything is done the project will have to stay under the budgeted amount of $20,000.
    • Council also discussed who or what company should be contacted to come out and look at the drainage problem and have them give their opinion on what could be done.
    • Councilmember Mueller will ask Roger Siewert (618 David Ave) to come and look at the shop area and see what he thinks could be done.
    • Councilmember Cummiskey suggested contacting Juul and Henning's.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to set the City of Hamburg's 2010 Proposed Tax Levy at $416,375, Councilmember Trebesch seconded and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present except for Mayor Malz.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to adopt the 2010 Proposed Budget as set at the Budget Workshop Meeting (09/01/09), seconded by Councilmember Barnes and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present except for Mayor Malz.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen pointed out that the requirements for setting a date for the Truth in Taxation public meeting has changed. City Clerk Gruenhagen had spoken with the League and the County Auditors Office to clarify the changes. Basically Council will have to figure out which council meeting they will include discussion of the city budget and allow the public to comment. The meeting must be set for 6 p.m. or later and it must occur after November 24, 2009. Whatever date the Council sets is the date that will be stated on the tax statements for your proposed taxes.
    • Council discussed when they should hold the Truth in Taxation public meeting. They decided to have it during the regularly scheduled council meeting on December 8th, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. It will be the first item on the agenda to discuss.
    • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to hold the Truth in Taxation public comment meeting during the regularly scheduled Council meeting on December 8, 2009 at 7:00 p.m., seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

To The Home Wireless Network

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that he had received a memo from Ted Breckheimer (Prof Ins. Providers/Shorewood) that the Certificate of Insurance for To The Home Wireless Internet was cancelled effective 08/21/2009.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen reported that he has not been able to confirm this with Mr. Sprengeler. The memo was just received this morning. Clerk Gruenhagen called Mr. Sprengeler but has not received a reply back. If this is true then when all the work was done on the Water Tower he was not covered. If he does not have any insurance should the City shut him down?
  • Councilmember Barnes commented that having insurance was on of the conditions in allowing Mr. Sprengeler access to the tower.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen commented to Council to be fair Mr. Sprengeler should have the opportunity to respond but what time limit would Council like to allow him.
    • Council decided that Mr. Sprengeler has until the next council meeting on September 22, 2009 to provide proof of insurance.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will contact Mr. Sprengeler by email and phone to let him know that he has to provide proof of insurance before the next council meeting on September 22, 2009. If he does not the operation will be shut down.
    • Members of council added that without insurance he will not be able to retrieve his equipment off the water tower.

City Zoning Ordinances

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen reported that he will be contacting Ann Perry (Cities Planning Consultant) to find out what council meeting works best for her to discuss the City Zoning Ordinances. This probably will be some time late September or early October.

Storm Sewer Ordinance

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen commented that he had forwarded this by email to the council members. At the next council meeting he will provide a hard copy.

September 22, 2009 Council Meeting

  • Councilmember Mueller and Mayor Malz will not be able to attend the next council meeting until later in the evening. City Clerk Gruenhagen asked if the meeting should be moved to another date or held at 7:30 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. on the 22nd.
  • Council discussed and decided to hold the council meeting at 8:00 p.m. on September 22, 2009. City Clerk Gruenhagen will post the notice.
  • Councilmember Barnes moved to change the start time for the City Council Meeting on September 22, 2009 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

Clark Mosquito Control

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will be meeting with a representative from Clark this month about renewing their contract with the city.
  • Councilmember Mueller asked if he could get a map of the area that they spray. He did not know how much it would cost but he was wondering if they could go into Brian Cummiskey yard then turn around. If it would be ok with him. The mosquitoes are up in the trees and the same thing at Kerry Buckentin property. This is where the mosquitoes are at.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey suggested spraying along the fence line by the baseball field.

Play Ground Equipment in Brownton

  • Councilmember Mueller went over to Brownton and checked out the play ground equipment they will be selling. They have a small set like the one down at the park and they also have some old sets. The older piped equipment is in very poor condition and not worth purchasing. The smaller set has a double slide and a tunnel. This set has been used, on the steps where they are rubber coated you can see where it is starting to chip. Where the stairs are dipped the coating is pealing off. If the set is purchased new parts would have to be installed and it may not be worth it.
  • Council discussed if the small set was worth the time to go get it, set it up, and the cost to fix it. After some discussion the Council decided not to purchase the play ground equipment.

Used Lawn Mowers

  • Councilmember Mueller informed Council that he had looked at two used lawn mowers. One was a 60' Exmark, with 240 hours on it, and is a 23 horse gas engine, asking price is $4,000. The other one was a 72" Kubota, 3 cylinder diesel, asking price is $8,000. Both are zero turn. The person who Councilmember Mueller spoke with is in the lawn mowing service and he prefers the Kubota.
  • Council discussed various types, size, and prices of lawn mowers. Currently Hamburg's lawn mower has a sixty inch deck.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey brought up that these two lawn mowers are only good for mowing and nothing else.
  • Councilmember Mueller responded that a hitch can be put on the Exmark for dragging the baseball fields and spraying for weeds.
  • No decision was made at this time.

Water Shut Off on Maria Avenue

  • Councilmember Mueller brought up that the duplex located at 420 Maria Avenue, the renters have moved out. If the water has to be shut off this winter, so the pipes do not freeze, the water will also be shut off at 331 Louisa Street (Justin Spande). The two homes share the same water shut off. The only thing that could be done is shut the water off inside the home not outside.
  • Councilmember Mueller continued that the other problem with the home at 420 Maria Avenue is that their property does not go into the alley where the water main is.


City Council Reports


Councilmember Mueller (Sewer & Water) had no further comments.


Councilmember Cummiskey (Streets)

  • Councilmember Cummiskey informed Council that a tree auction is scheduled for this weekend. It was put in the budget to purchase two trees for the park but not exceed $200. He was wondering if anyone would be available to attend the auction.
  • Councilmember Barnes commented that he would be able to go but did not know what kind to purchase and how big.
  • Council discussed and decided that oak or a hard maple would b the best and they should be about 8 feet tall.
  • After Councils discussion it was decided to wait until spring to purchase any trees for they may be cheaper in spring.


Councilmember Trebesch (Buildings)

  • Councilmember Trebesch asked if the Lions Club had picked up the sink and installed it in the park building.
    • Councilmember Cummiskey replied that the Lions had picked up the sink from his place.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will follow up with Maintenance Worker Byerly as to where this project is at.

Councilmember Barnes (Parks)

  • Councilmember Barnes commented on the weeds growing around the house located at 350 Jacob Street. He suggested a nuisance letter be sent to the Real Estate agent that is handling the sale.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will send a letter. Councilmember Mueller and Councilmember Barnes suggested sending a nuisance letter for weeds to the home owners at 301 Jacob Street also.
  • Councilmember Mueller added that a letter should be sent to the owners of 146 Jacob Street to clean up the lot.


Mayor Malz was absent.


Approve Claims List for August 2009


Councilmember Steve Trebesch had a question on claim #14016, Hawkins Chemical, Azone 15 and 3/8" check valve in the amount of $655.98. He asked if this was for one check valve or 15.

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen replied that the statement was for Azone 15 which is a treatment chemical and one 3/8" check valve. Chemicals are extremely expensive.

Councilmember Mueller asked about claim #14030, Wm. Mueller & Sons, Fuel for City Vehicles – Topsoil, for the amount of $4,094.26.

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen responded that the majority of that amount was gas for city vehicles, fire department and the baseball park for the year.

Councilmember Barnes made a motion to accept claim number 14003 through 14031 and the three ACH payments, Councilmember Cummiskey seconded and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Councilmember Barnes moved to adjourn the Hamburg City Council meeting at 8:58 p.m., seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council Members were present.



                                        Submitted by:




                                        Sue Block                                                        Deputy Clerk

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Obama’s delay in Afghanistan kills Americans.

During the Presidential campaign, Sen. Obama lambasted the Bush Administration and painted McCain as Bush 2.0 in regards to the war in Iraq. Part of the disdain was due to a lack of an exit plan in Iraq by the Bush administration. Prior to leaving office President Bush did set an 18-month timetable that was acceptable by both the Generals on the ground and the new Iraqi government. President Obama is keeping the plan intact rather than following up with his campaign promise to get combat troops out of Iraq by the end of his first year. In addition to his promise to draw down troops was the switch in focus on the "War on terror". That switch in focus was to take place in Afghanistan.

America enters the final week of October without a clear plan of action for Afghanistan. One of the concerns many had with Sen. Obama was his lack of foreign policy experience. President Obama has met with Gen. McChrystal only twice who has asked for an additional 40,000 troops. During a speech given to troops in Jacksonville, Fla., the president said, "I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm's way. I won't risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary. And if it is necessary, we will back you up to the hilt." While the president crafts a strategy we continue to see more and more troops being killed. According to 267 U.S. troops have been killed thus far this year compared to 155 being killed all of last year in Afghanistan.

It has been nearly 10 months since Obama has taken office. Granted some data and situations have changed on the ground but in the grand scheme of things little has changed. It appears that an increase in troops may part of the answer with Sen. Kerry (D-Mass.) stating that he'd "support a decision by President Obama to 'send some additional troops' provided improvements are made in Afghan troop training and government, and civilian aid efforts are increased" (,0,7820767.story). Yet, Sen. Kerry believes that 20,000 troops would be enough and not the 40,000 that Gen. McChrystal is looking for.

Perhaps a bold move in Afghanistan is required in light of the resignation of United State Senior Civilian Representative Matthew Hoh. Hoh said his decision was not because of any political ideology; rather on the current and potential strategies. Hoh said, "I'm not some peacenik, pot-smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love. I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end" ( Mr. Hoh raises a great question in regards to our involvement in a war that has raged for over 8 years; is U.S. presence really having the desired effects.

"I have observed that the bulk of the insurgency fights not for the white banner of the Taliban, but rather against the presence of foreign soldiers and taxes imposed by an unrepresentative government in Kabul," stated Hoh. There is a run-off election going on in Afghanistan because objections were raised over the previous election results. The bumper crop in Afghanistan is opium. According to the United Nations, the market for "Afghan opium, heroin or morphine is about $65 billion per year" ( These funds create a cash cow for the drug lords and terror networks in Afghanistan. It also employees the peasants, the very peasants that NATO is claiming to "liberate". Now why would these peasants want to be liberated if that means their job will go away as well?

President Obama has been given the opportunity to make a drastic change in the drug war and the war on terror. Especially in light of a report that is linking Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of Afghan President, to the opium trade and the Central Intelligence Agency payroll. For decades Americans have seen taxpayer dollars being poured down the abyss known as the war on drugs. It is time for a drastic change. The plan is twofold.

First, President Obama needs to stand up and establish a plan – today – that will remove troop presence in Afghanistan within the next six months. Some will argue that pulling out of Afghanistan will only increase the fervor of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda as it will be the second "Super Power" they have defeated. Allow them to think this as part two of the plan will greatly decrease their cash cow to fund their recruitment, training, and funding in carrying out attacks on Western targets.

Second, legalize illegal drugs. It is time for Americans to accept that drug use exists and to concede the war on drugs. The legalization of the drug market will have many benefits to American society. The benefits are:

  1. Remove a cash cow from terror networks, street gangs and drug cartels.
  2. Regulate the purity to reduce the risk of "hot" doses.
  3. A revenue strain for the government through taxation along the lines of alcohol and tobacco.
  4. Increase treatment of illicit drug users by removing the stigma.
  5. Reduce prison populations thus saving taxpayer's money.

I understand that this is not a popular decision but neither is watching billions of dollars being wasted on the drug war. President Obama needs to act now on Afghanistan before more of our troops die needlessly. We need change we can believe in. Why not remove the troops while legalizing illicit drugs?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Opt-Out is a Cop-Out

For weeks leading up to the Senate Finance vote on the Baucus Bill – that still has not been given Legislative language (thus not a bill) – the White House and leading Democrats courted the vote of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who is fighting for his political future, announced Monday that the merged bill in the Senate will have an "opt-out" public option. The very type of option that Olympia Snowe and Senate "Blue Dog" Democrats are dead set against having as an option. The move by Sen. Reid may put him in the crosshairs of the White House as the Obama Administration has used a lot of political capital to make health care reform appear to be bi-partisan.

President Obama has been campaigning and fundraising for a number of Democrats embattled for political life in the past weeks. Will the move by Sen. Reid put his biggest political chip in jeopardy by putting in a public option? Only time will tell. Having an "Opt-Out" option will negate a slew of lawsuits, well that is if State's get a backbone, as forcing States to offer further expansion of Medicare is an affront on State Rights. As I have said before in previous blog entries, health care reform is needed to curb the escalating premiums and bring cost savings within the industry itself.

The goal of President Obama is to reduce costs and increase competition. The trouble with the public option is that it does neither. To increase competition, open the borders of the states to allow insurance companies to offer coverage across state lines. Roughly 1600 insurance options exist within the borders of the United States yet the majority of states have between 2 and 5 options. Looking to Economics 101 for an answer is required. Economics 101 sales, provided the price is at equilibrium, an increase in supply, while keeping demand the same, the price will drop. So, why are that so many politicians disregard this model of Economics?

The other goal is to reduce cost. Doctors must carry expensive insurance to shield themselves from lawsuits. The malpractice insurance does not discriminate. Surgeons, specialists, and family practioneers all must carry it to protect themselves. Tort reform is required. Without Tort reform doctors will need to earn more and more money to cover the cost of malpractice insurance. So, why doesn't the Democrat led Congress include Tort reform within their health care reform platform?

We can create legislation that will not cost $.01 but Congress lacks the courage to do so while achieving the goals of health care reform. So, why doesn't Congress do it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Global Warming Real?

Now I have heard it all when it comes to the Global Warming debate. The Swedes are putting labels on food that will indicate the carbon dioxide levels the product required to be produced. Are we serious? The Global Warming debate is baseless as those that argue for Global Warming lack scientific proof. I recall from the 80's that the big push was that the ozone layer was a big problem and deforesting of South America was going to be the end of the world. I also recall from science class that plants eat our carbon dioxide in order to grow. So, why then are we arguing about global warming and when did carbon dioxide become this evil gas?

Governments all around the world are looking at Global Warming as the baseline to expand the powers of the United Nations. Al Gore has pushed his "Inconvenient Truth" to the determent of all. Why does Al Gore not debate those that have debunked the Global Warming myth? A former policy advisor to Margaret Thatcher has been for sometime been breaking down the myth that Al Gore created around Global Warming. Lord Richard Monckton has been more visible as of late and recently presented his work at Bethel University. See his closing comments here

It is time that we debate this topic on the merits of science and not on a perceived, well funded belief that carbon dioxide is the enemy to human survival. Let's allow the science to speak and set aside the rhetoric before Congress passes Cap and Trade bill.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hamburg City Council Agenda – October 27, 2009


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 September 8, 2009 & September 22, 2009


7:05. Fire Department Report

  • Projector Screen for Community Center
  • US Fish & Wildlife Grant & 2009 FEMA Grant
  • H1N1 Virus – Flu Shots
  • Halloween Patrol
  • Disaster Mitigation Plan
  • Fireman's Dance – January 8, 2010
  • State Fire Chiefs Convention
  • Selection vs. Election
  • Pension Increase for Reporting Year 2010


7:20. Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)

  • Project List (Added Items)
  • Storm Sewer Repair (City Shop)
  • Sweep City Streets
  • Picnic Tables (Paint)
  • LMCIT Loss Control Survey on June 11, 2009
  • Community Hall Repairs – Cooling Fans/Electrical Repairs/Doors
  • Time Sheets – Overtime Hours for 2009 – Call Out Pay
  • General Maintenance Schedules


7:40. Deputy Clerk Report

  • Delinquent Utility Bills Report
  • City Council Minutes


7:45. City Clerk/Treasurer Report

  • 2009 Police Aid from State of MN
  • Set Public Hearing Dates
    • Subdivision Ordinance/Zoning Ordinance/City Ordinance Updates
  • Closed Meeting Requirements for Employee Evaluations
  • School Board Public Meeting on Proposed Referendum
    • November 17, 2009 @ 7:00 PM
  • MN Lawful Gambling Permit for Pheasants Forever
    • January 23, 2010
  • Informational Items (Comments)
    • Worksite Wellness Memo (Carver County Public Health)
    • 2nd Annual Housing Summit (CDA) – October 28, 2009


8:00. 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


8:15. Approve Added Claims for October 2009


8:20. Adjourn Meeting


Friday, October 23, 2009

Carver County misuse of Taxpayer money

This morning I am switching my focus from the national scene to the local scene. Earlier this month Janet and Lowell Carlson faced jail time for not complying with Carver County's assessment that their septic system needed upgrading. The repair costs are estimated to be $10,000 which the couple has placed in escrow. The Carlson's have agreed to repair their septic system. Janet Carlson said, "Although we didn't want to cave in to the county's pressure, due to Lowell's health issues [and] the need for me to care for him, being in jail was not in our personal best interest" ( Part of the Carlson's argument was that Carver County property, the old Waconia Ballroom, had a similar septic system that was not in compliance even though Carver County officials contend the septic system is in compliance.

Since the dust up, the Carver County Board decided last Tuesday to hire two separate inspectors to check the septic system at the Waconia Event Center. County Commissioner Tom Workman has been a supporter of the Carlson's and pushed for additional inspections of the Waconia Event Center. A question needs to be asked here; why wasn't an independent inspector not used when the Waconia Ballroom was purchased last year instead the county took the word of an inspector hired by the seller ( Where was the Carver County Board when they shelled out about $2.5M for the site?

Carver County must now, per the order by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), complete the inspections by October 28th and then submit the findings to the MPCA by November 3rd. Okay, but why do taxpayers of Carver County need to pay for two separate inspectors? What if the results differ between the inspectors? County Commissioner Workman been given a gag order by the MPCA because, "He crossed the line. He was acting like a licensed inspector, passing judgment on a [septic] system, which only a licensed inspector can do" ( The gag order appears to be due to Carver County Commissioner Workman's "public stint", with media present, to show that a pipe in the septic system's distribution box was not located as the seller's inspector had claimed.

What does the MPCA have to hide? What is wrong with an elected official bringing to light an issue? Personally, I have experienced the wrath of questioning the MPCA. After several phone conversations and being asked if I was on the Hamburg City Council by the MPCA on Hamburg's I/I problem, MPCA representatives came to explain why Hamburg lost 20 points on their score for assistance with the I/I project. Read the minutes from the Hamburg City Council meeting held on August 25th on my blog site to see the conversation and explanation. Putting aside the issue of the MPCA heavy handedness in handling Carver County Commissioner Workman, why did Carver County Board approve the purchase of the Waconia Ballroom without inspecting the property themselves and why do we need two separate inspectors now? Taxpayers of Carver County need to know.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Executive Pay today, Your pay tomorrow!!!

A dangerous undercurrent is flowing within the Obama Administration to the liberties of all Americans. Set aside your party affiliation, your ideologue, and your racial bias for a moment. A little over 200 years ago several colonials put their lives on the line to ensure we'd be able to live in a country free of tyranny. Those liberties firmly implanted by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution are under assault. The proof is in a headline I read as I pick up my morning paper: Pay Czar to drop hammer on execs. Since when does an advisor to the President of the United States dictate the terms of employment?

That is exactly what Kenneth Feinberg is about to do. Feinberg was appointed by President Obama to be the Treasury's special master for corporate pay this past June. The position did not go through Senate approval process and it appears that the position has wide latitude in handling affairs of corporate pay. According to the Politico "sources within the administration say the decision to cap corporate pay was Kenneth Feinberg's, and his alone." And that "…Obama did not sign off on the pay master's decision. Feinberg didn't even brief the White House on it, the official said, but he briefed Treasury officials instead." Did I miss something since our election last year where Americans voted to allow the Government to dictate pay terms for the private sector?

I understand that drastic measures were taken to right the financial market ship. TARP did nothing to address the root causes of the "financial meltdown"; rather it just threw dollars into the furnace. The plan put forth by Pay Czar Feinberg is to "slash the salaries of their top executives by an average of 90 percent and cut their total compensation in half" ( Not all companies that received TARP funds will be affected. The companies in question are: Bank of America Crop, American International Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., General Motors, GMAC, Chrysler and Chrysler Financial.

The Obama Administration is hiding behind TARP funds as the gateway for the Government to dictate executive pay terms. To agree with the decision of Feinberg is an acknowledgement of acceptance that Nationalization of the private sector is within the scope of Government. Our Founding Fathers fought against the tyranny of the King of England because of excessive taxation and control within the colony at risk of death. Americans wake up and shed the wool. The reckless independence given Feinberg is shredding the documents and principals our Founding Fathers risked their lives for.

What happens next time when a crisis hits? Yesterday President Obama sent forth a plan to open funds for small businesses. Beware small business owners and take note from the TARP fund recipients. What the Obama Administration giveth, the Obama Administration taketh.