Monday, June 28, 2010

Hamburg City Council Minutes – April 27, 2010

Mayor Malz called the regular meeting of the Hamburg City Council to order at 7:00 p.m. Councilmember Steve Trebesch, Councilmember John Barnes, Councilmember Larry Mueller, Councilmember Brian Cummiskey, City Clerk Jeremy Gruenhagen, Deputy Clerk Sue Block, Maintenance Worker Dennis Byerly and Fire Chief Brad Droege were in attendance. Also in attendance were Brian Eggers (Parkside Tavern) and Scott Qualle (MNSPECT).


Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption

  • Added – Greg's Hardware Quote for Handicap Bathroom
  • Added – Veteran's Preference Documents
  • Added - Updated Delinquency Report
  • Added – Updated April Claims List
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to adopt the agenda with the four additions, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

Approve Minutes for March 9, 2010

  • The March 9th minutes were not emailed to the Council members for their review. They will be sent out and put on the next council meeting agenda.


Old City Business

  • #1 – Take pictures of the cities property and equipment.
    • This will be started soon.
  • #2 – Install hand railing on stairs by the City Shop.
    • This will be completed after the Shop Driveway repair work is finished.
  • #3 – Handicap Bathroom in Hall
    • Councilmember Cummiskey gave an update on the proposed Handicap Bathroom in the Hall. He estimated that to do the electric the cost would be $1,500 and the total estimated cost of the project would be $14,000.
      • Councilmember Barnes commented that at least two contractors should submit bids on this project.
      • Councilmember Mueller commented that Councilmember Cummiskey should talk with MNSPECT to get this project done.
  • #4 – Projector Screen – use the Cable COM Franchise money.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen is working on this.
  • #5 – Change the wording from just Grams to all residents. Maintenance Worker Byerly can check for nuisances and take pictures when he is doing his rounds.

#6 – Hire Part-Time Maintenance Worker

  • This will be discussed under the City Clerk's Report.


Fire Department Report


2009/2010 FEMA Grant Update

  • Fire Chief Droege received a notice that the Fire Department will not be receiving any grant money.

US Fish & Wildlife Grant/DNR Grant

  • No word yet on these grants.

Emergency Response - Pillsbury Company in Chanhassen

  • The Hamburg Fire Department has received reimbursement for the July 21, 2009 Emergency Response to the Pillsbury Company in Chanhassen.

Old Rescue 11 Update

  • Rescue 11 (old rescue) was up for bid at the Fred Radde & Sons Auction in New Germany. The only bid on the Rescue was a bid of $3,400. The Rescue will be brought back to Hamburg and the Fire Department will list it in the Smoke Eater's Magazine and on Craig's List before going to a Broker.

Regional Grant for Pagers

  • The Hamburg Fire Department Committee will be making a presentation to the County Commissioners requesting 20% of the cost before requesting a Regional FEMA grant for the pagers. The meeting with the Commissioners is scheduled for May 11, 2010.

Background Checks for Fire Fighters

  • Fire Chief Droege requested preauthorization to send in the money amount requested for new Fire Fighters background checks. This would speed up the process in approving new members instead of waiting for the next Council meeting and receiving approval at that time.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will check with the City Auditors if this could be done and report back at the next Council meeting.

Fire Department Back Door Platform

  • Members of the Hamburg Fire Department decided to install a cement slab outside of the department's back door. The Fire Department will pay for the cement and installation either by donations or through the Relief Association.

Accident Service Call on March 23, 2010

  • Fire Chief Droege has been unable to collect the $450 due for the service call however he is pursuing the matter.


William Mueller & Sons

  • Next week Wm Mueller & Sons will do some patching and mill work on Park Avenue.
  • Council also discussed that in one to two years more streets in Hamburg will need to be repaired.


Claims List Questions for the Fire Department

  • Councilmember Barnes questioned claim number 14398, Metro Fire, for Chief's Shield 5 Gallon Pail Vehicle Wash. He was wondering what this was used for.
    • Chief Droege replied that it is used on the Fire Trucks to keep the water spots off when washing the trucks in hard water. A 5 gallon pail usually lasts 2 years.
  • Fire Chief Droege pointed out that to help cut costs the Department is sending two instead of four Fire Fighters to the Grand Rapids Fire Convention.


Emily Siebold – Past Due Utility Billing

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen had requested Emily Siebold to attend a Council meeting to discuss her delinquent utility bill.
  • Ms. Siebold was not in attendance.


Parkside Tavern – Request for 3.2 Liquor License & Park Rental for May 1, 2010

  • Brian Eggers (Parkside Tavern) requested a one day 3.2 liquor license for the annual Kick-Ball Tournament.
  • Council asked Mr. Eggers several questions about how the Tournament will be handled.
    • Insurance has been submitted to City Clerk Gruenhagen.
    • Only 3.2 beer will be allowed at the Park.
    • Clean Up is the responsibility of Parkside Tavern.


  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to approve a one day 3.2 liquor license for Parkside Tavern on May 1, 2010, the license fee will be waved and Parkside Tavern to pay the $150 Park Rental Fee, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen questioned if the players will be signing waivers again this year and mentioned that everyone is to be out of the Park by 10:00 p.m.
    • Brian Eggers responded that the players do have to sign a waiver and he will make sure everyone is out of the Park by 10 p.m. He will also make sure all the garbage is picked up.


MNSPECT – Scott Qualle

  • Mr. Qualle updated Council on current Legislative Building Inspection changes, rules, and fees.
    • Completion of exterior work – The Minnesota Legislation set a statute allowing municipal cities to set their own time limit for completion of exterior work on a building.
    • Building Surcharge – A surcharge is like a sales tax that the state collects to run the Construction Codes and Licensing Division. The surcharge on fixed fee permits like Re-roof, Window Replacement, Siding, Plumping, Mechanical will be increasing from 50 cents to $5.00. The fee change will take effect July 1, 2010 and will be charged for one fiscal year until July 1, 2011. MNSPECT will be changing all the forms necessary to reflect the increase.
  • Scott gave Council an overview of how the Permit Fees are calculated. The fees are calculated on the value of the work being done not the cost. The State gives the building inspectors a valuation schedule and building code fee schedule to determine the cost of the Permit Fee. There may be other fees associated with the permit too.
  • Scott Qualle went over the new Lead-Based Paint Rules.
    • The new rules pertain to the contractors or work for hire not the home owner.
    • The rules are for homes built before 1978.
    • Lead-Paint rules are set by the EPA not Federal, State, County, or City.
    • MNSPECT will not be monitoring contractors but if the contractors are caught violating the rules the fine is $32,000 per day until corrected.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey asked Mr. Qualle that when a Building Inspector does a sight or plan review does MNSPECT check for easement or zoning violations.
    • Mr. Qualle responded that they do not. It also is not in the contract between them and the City of Hamburg. They will however check the setbacks that are provided to them from the city.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked if there are any permit requirements for patio, cement replacement, or fencing.
    • Scott replied that a patio installation is no it is considered landscaping. Fencing less than 6 feet is not required to have a permit, if over 6 feet then a permit is required.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will research if Hamburg has any zoning requirements or if one should be put in place for fences.
  • Community Hall Ramp Canopy
    • Councilmember Barnes had a question on how to fix the Hall canopy that was damaged this winter by an ice jam on the roof. The top part of the canopy roof was not anchored to the wall and pulled away from the building.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen added that Council would like Mr. Qualle to look at the damage and let Council know if the canopy should or should not be anchored to the building.
      • Mr. Qualle will have Ty take a look at it and get back to Council.
  • Mayor Malz questioned if a retaining wall at ground level and on a residents property has to have an above ground fence.
    • Mr. Qualle replied that there is nothing in the code to make the residents protect the drop off at the retaining wall. He will have Ty look at the retaining wall when he is in town. Mr. Qualle suggested that Council put into place an ordinance that any 3 foot drop would require a fence.
  • Council and Mr. Qualle briefly discussed the requirements for the Hall Handicap Bathroom.


Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)


City Lawnmower

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly reported that when cutting the Park area the new lawnmower saves an hour of his time.

Spraying for Weeds

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly had talked with Greg Schultz about spraying.
  • Councilmember Mueller questioned if hiring out the weed spraying was taken out of the budget for this year.

Grinder Station Repairs

  • The grinder station repairs have been completed.

Lift Station Repairs (Replace Brackets for Pumps)

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly is getting a second opinion if the brackets need repairing or not.

Picnic Tables

  • Three more to be touched up and one needs a new wooden top.

Sidewalk Replacement - Parkside Tavern

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly was asked to get some estimates on the cost.

Seal Coating and Crake Sealing

  • Both projects have been put on hold until the City finds out how much the LGA cut will be.

Water Wells Usage – Water Consumption

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly asked to have the procedure changed when he reads meters. Council had requested both inside and outside readings were to be read at the same time. During the day most people are not home so he is unable to read the inside meter.
    • Council agreed and discussed other options.
  • Deputy Clerk Block will put a notice on the next water bills requesting residents to read their inside meter and list the information on the back of the return potion of the bill.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen has been logging the three wells water usage per month. The water usage for January was 1,077,000 and for February the usage was 970,800. The water usage per month versus the water billings are off by at least 300,000 gallons that is not being accounted for.
  • Councilmember Mueller suggested for one month only run one well reading the beginning and ending meter readings. Then for the next month do the same with the second well.
  • Council brain stormed various ideas on what could be causing the thousands of gallons difference. They decided to start with Councilmember Mueller's suggestion.

Storm Sewer Repair (City Shop)

  • Henning's will be starting next week on the City Shop storm sewer repair.

Part-time Seasonal Help

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen received information on Veteran Preference hiring requirements. The hiring committee will have to meet again to go through the information and it will be a lengthy process. A job description and point system will have to be created for the committee to go by when reviewing applications.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council's permission to work with Kelly Dohm (City Attorney) to make sure the hiring is done correctly.
  • Councilmember Barnes asked if Maintenance Worker Byerly should go back to 40 hours per week until a part-time person is hired.
    • Council discussed and decided to allow Maintenance Worker Byerly to work 40 hours per week.
    • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to have Maintenance Worker Byerly work 40 hours per week starting this week until a part-time assistant is hired, seconded by Councilmember Barnes and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Council to clarify the 40 hours per week at regular pay and 4 hours of overtime for doing weekend rounds. Actually paying for 46 hours worked.
      • City Council agreed.

Water Leak in Park

  • The water leak in the Park has been located and will be fixed.

Post by Old Treatment Plant

  • Council discussed and decided to remove the post. Gopher State will be called to mark the electrical locations and Wm Mueller and Sons will pull it out.

Old Swing Set in Park by Hall

  • Henning's will remove the old swing set when they do the shop driveway repair.

Water Fountain in the City Park

  • Maintenance Worker Byerly will check on prices for a replacement water fountain.


Deputy Clerk Report


Delinquent Utility Bills

  • 350 Louisa Street, Diana Payne – Certify to Taxes – Foreclosure & Home Vacant
  • 618 Kim Avenue, Chris Tordsen – Certify to Taxes - Water shut off at curb stop. CSO was contacted about dogs left in the home, this will be monitored.
  • 625 Kim Avenue, Emily Siebold – Emily was asked to attend this council meeting however she was not in attendance. Council discussed and decided to give her until 12:00 a.m. on April 29th to pay her delinquent water bill in the amount of $615.16 or her water service will be discontinued and will not resume until the total amount is paid. A $100.00 reconnection fee will be applied if not paid within 30 days from the date of posting.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to have Emily Siebold's delinquent water bill posted on April 29th with total delinquent payment due of $615.16 by 12:00 a.m. that day or her water service will be discontinued and will not resume until the total amount is paid. A $100.00 reconnection fee will be applied if not paid within 30 days from the date of posting, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.
  • 419 Railroad, Nick Nordin – Home is being sold and the utility bill will be paid at Closing.
  • 410 Sophia Avenue, Darrell Grams – Had a payment agreement with the City but has not paid as scheduled. Council decided to have the water turned off at the curb stop.


Clerk/Treasurer Report


I/I Abatement Program – Easements

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen gave a brief up date on the number of easements that have been signed. Seven have signed and five other residents have shown interest in signing.
  • Council discussed how to have more people sign the easements. Council decided to call the residents and set up appointments for residents to either come up to the city office or have the City Clerk and Deputy Clerk (notary) go to the resident's home for signage.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to grant additional time for Deputy Clerk Block to notarize signatures for the I & I Project, seconded by Councilmember Mueller. Councilmember Mueller, Councilmember Cummiskey, Councilmember Trebesch voted Aye. Councilmember Barnes abstained. Motion carried and all Council members were present.

Easement for Brian & Maggie Cummiskey

  • Councilmember Cummiskey and his wife Margaret Cummiskey requested a change in wording of the Public Utility Easement that is going across his property. The added change would state; this easement grants the City of Hamburg the right to place underground storm sewer pipe within the easement. Also granted is the right for the City of Hamburg or its contractors to access said pipe for repair, replacement or expansion. This easement does not grant the City of Hamburg any right to the surface of said property. The land owner retains all rights to the surface of said property, including but not limited to cropping, pasturing of livestock, fencing, driveway, yard or garden. The landowner understands that no permanent structures may be placed within the easement area, furthermore any crop or plantings may be removed without compensation if needed for the city to access their Storm sewer in the easement area.
  • Councilmember Trebesch moved to authorize the additional easement statement for Brian and Maggie Cummiskey be sent to City Attorney Mac, seconded by Councilmember Mueller. Councilmember Mueller, Councilmember Barnes, and Councilmember Trebesch voted Aye. Councilmember Cummiskey abstained. Motion carried. All Council members were present.

Public Hearing (Ordinance #137) – Amend Side Yard Setbacks

  • The Public Hearing would be to amend the portion of the Zoning Ordinance pertaining to side yard setbacks for structures in A-1 Restricted Agriculture, R-1 Single Family Residential, and R-2 Multiple Family Districts. The minimum side yard setback is proposed to be ten (10) feet from the side lot line, rather than fifteen (15) feet as stated in the existing ordinance.
    • Ann Perry (City Consulting Planner) had entered the incorrect feet set back and will change them at no cost to the City.
  • Councilmember Barnes move to hold a Public Hearing on May 25, 2010 at 6:55 p.m. in reference to Ordinance #137 amendment, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

2010/2011 City Cuts to LGA & MV Credits

  • In the process of the Legislators trying to set the budget the Governor signed a new bill that would affect LGA and Market Value Credits. The Governors proposed cuts for 2010 would be $37,727 but if the new bill stands with no changes the supplemental cuts to the City would only be $15,596 in 2010. In 2011 the supplemental cut would be $4,324 instead of the Governor's plan to cut $23,395. Until the 17th of May these numbers may change.

2010 Census Numbers - Update

  • National (72%) – Minnesota (78%) – Hamburg – (83%)
    • Hamburg percentage includes the City of Hamburg and Young America Township.

Work Comp Renewal

  • Council discussed and decided to carry Workman's Comp for elected officials and volunteers again this year (2010). Cost for elected officials about $35 per year and volunteers $218 (with medical coverage for volunteers).

Carver County Adult Use Ordinance

  • Carver County sent Hamburg their Adult Use Ordinance incase Council would like to draft up an ordinance for the city.
  • Council discussed and no decision was made at this time.


City Council Reports


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


Councilmember Cummiskey (Streets) had nothing further to report.


Councilmember Trebesch (Buildings)

  • Commented that he does not like the Saturday and Sunday overtime hours given to the Cities Maintenance Worker. He does not agree with the policy.


Councilmember Barnes (Parks) had nothing further to report.


Mayor Malz

  • Reported damaged shut off valve in the city street.
  • Mentioned that Xcel painted two street light poles.
  • Requested authorization to have someone purchase plants and pots for the City Park.
    • Councilmember Mueller had two planters that could be used.
    • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to authorize the two volunteers to purchase up to $200 in plants and landscaping for the City Park, seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.
  • Re-paint yellow curbs around town.
    • Council decided to have Maintenance Worker Byerly contact CTS and have them do the painting.
  • Requested a nuisance letter be sent to the owners of the camper that has been sitting in the city street for the last two weeks.
  • Asked if there was anymore information on the in-ground pool request.
    • Deputy Clerk Block mentioned that basically it has been put on hold.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen responded that he has not heard anything further. Until the set backs and plans are submitted it is currently in the residents hands.
  • Requested all Council members wear their city shirts to Council meetings.
  • Commented the wiring for To The Home Internet service by the old treatment plant should be looked at. The way the wiring is connected looks unsafe.
    • Council decided to table this until the next Council meeting.


Approve Claims List for April 2010


Claims List for April 2010

  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to approve the April 2010 Claims List including the one ACH payment and claim numbers 14392 through 14405, seconded by Councilmember Barnes and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.





Councilmember Barnes moved to adjourn the Hamburg City Council meeting at 10:00 p.m., seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.



                                                                                                Submitted by:




                                                                                                Sue Block

                                                                                                 Deputy Clerk

Hamburg City Council Minutes – April 13, 2010

Mayor Malz called the regular meeting of the Hamburg City Council to order at 7:00 p.m. Councilmember Steve Trebesch, Councilmember John Barnes, Councilmember Larry Mueller, Councilmember Brian Cummiskey, City Clerk Jeremy Gruenhagen, Deputy Clerk Sue Block, and Fire Chief Brad Droege were in attendance. Also in attendance were Stacie Franck (Cub Scouts), Joe Hubler and John Hubler (411 Maria Ave, Old City Hall), Jim Ische (Carver County Commissioner), Jim Keeler, Jr. (County Attorney), Lyndon Robjent (Carver County Engineer), and Kipp Trebesch (K&K Construction). Maintenance Worker Dennis Byerly was absent.


Miscellaneous Business (Public Comments)

  • Stacie Franck representing Cub Scout Pack 361 requested the use of the Hamburg City Park on May 15, 2010 and if the rental fee could be waved. The Cub Scouts are planning an advancement and awards ceremony for that date.
  • Councilmember Mueller moved to grant Cub Scout Pack 361 use of the Hamburg City Park on May 15, 2010 for their advancement and awards ceremony and the rental fee be waved, Councilmember Barnes seconded and motion unanimously carried.


Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption

  • Added – Updated Delinquency Report
  • Added – Updated April Claims List

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


Approve the February 23, 2010 Minutes

  • Councilmember Mueller moved to approve the February 23, 2010 Hamburg City Council Meeting Minutes, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Old City Business

  • #3 – Handicap Bathroom in Hall
    • Councilmember Cummiskey will report on this during the City Council Report.
  • #6 – H.I.P. Group To Attend City Council Meeting
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen reported that he is hoping someone from the H.I.P. Group will be attending tonight's meeting.
  • #7 – Hire Part-Time Maintenance Worker
    • This will be discussed under Public Works and Utilities Report.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that the Claims List will be reviewed during the opening items of the council meeting. This will give Council the opportunity to question and discuss any items on the list while attendees of the meeting are still present. Motion to approve the Claims List will still be at the end of the council meeting.


Fire Department Report


Severe Weather Awareness Week

  • Next week, April 19th through April 23rd, will be Severe Weather Awareness Week.
    • One April 22nd the Hamburg Severe Weather siren will be activated. It will be sounded monthly at 1:55 p.m. and 6:55 p.m. Documentation will be kept to make sure the siren does go off at those times and is working properly.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will be putting this information on the city sign.

2009/2010 FEMA Grant Update

  • No word yet on the FEMA Grants

US Fish & Wildlife Grant

  • Fire Chief Droege applied for a $1,150 grant. This would be a grant to the Fire Department with no matching funds.

DNR Grant

  • A $1,500 grant was applied for. This grant is a 50/50 match.

Laminated Maps

  • Fire Chief Droege presented three laminated maps that were purchased of the surrounding area; one shows the community, one shows Hamburg and Norwood Young America, and the third one is a county map. These maps will be used during search and rescue missions to mark where search teams have been sent.

Fire Department Vehicle Upgrades/Repairs

  • Engine Pump Testing – This is done every year and they all passed.
  • Rescue 11 Update – Needs new lettering. Three persons have donated $200 apiece to help cover the cost.
  • Rescue 11 (old rescue) is up at Fred Radde & Sons Auction in New Germany. The auction will be held on March 26, 2010. As of this meeting the on- line auction bid for Rescue 11 is $176.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to allow a representative for Fire Chief Droege to lower the minimum auction bid down to $14,000, Councilmember Trebesch seconded and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.
  • Engine 12 Transmission Repairs – To fix Engine 12's transmission and the towing charge came to $5,563.32.
  • Rescue 12 Brake Repair – Pro Auto fixed the worn brakes on Rescue 12 and the cost came to $111.97.

Regional Grant for Pagers

  • County Fire Departments are applying for a regional grant from FEMA to fund the Pagers and Simulcast. The Cologne Fire Department will be heading the project. The Hamburg Fire Department will be drafting a letter of support to be taken to the County Commissioners asking for their help in funding 20 percent of the cost for the Pagers and Simulcast.
  • The Pagers and Radios will be going from wide band to narrow band and the change over has to be completed by the beginning of 2013.
  • Splitting the cost will be 20 percent local and 80 percent Federal. Twenty percent of the cost comes out to approximately $250,000 to $280,000. The Departments are trying to have this amount spread over the County instead of individual City's trying to come up with the money for the pagers.
  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to have Fire Chief Droege and City Clerk Gruenhagen draft and send a letter of support for the application of the Fire Departments Regional Grant, seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Carver County Commissioner Jim Ische, Attorney James Keeler, & County Engineer Lyndon Robjent


Commissioner Ische – Opening Comments

  • Gave an update on the proposed Fiber Optic line.
    • Applied for a grant for some ARRA funds to hook up the 55 laterals once the Fiber Optic ring is in.
  • Updated Senator Franken on the needs and increased volume of vehicles using County Road 10 between Waconia and Chaska to get to Hwy 212.
  • Commented on the Ordinance amending the county code and fee schedule for Adult Use Businesses.
  • Informed Council that the County is planning a mill and overlay on County Road 50, the last mill and overlay was done in 1992. Commissioner Ische asked for a time line on when the city's I&I project would be crossing the county road. The County can delay the mill and overlay work until the crossing is completed.
    • Council informed Commissioner Ische that the I&I project is scheduled to start this fall once all the needed easements are signed. Council would like to go to bids in July 2010.
    • City Clerk Gruenhagen will send the I&I plans to Mr. Ische so he is acquainted with what the City is planning to do.
    • Councilmember Mueller asked Commissioner Ische is the County could give the City of Hamburg permission to close County Road 50 when the sanitary water and sewer lines cross the road. By closing the County Road it would be faster and quicker to complete the work. The road would only be closed for one or two days.
      • Commissioner Ische could not think of a reason why the City could not close the road. He will talk to Bill Weckman concerning the detouring of County Road 50.


Councilmember Mueller asked County Attorney Keeler on how to find out who can sign the Easement document for the lot at 470 Brad Street. The property is zoned residential and was foreclosed on. The county has had the foreclosed lot for about 10 years and it will be going up for sale some time this summer Councilmember Mueller commented that the City would like to get the easement signed before the lot is sold.

  • County Attorney Keeler requested the information be emailed to him and he will check in to this.

County Road 50 Agreement between Hamburg and Carver County

  • Council has requested a copy of the County Road 50 agreement between Hamburg and Carver County listing who is responsible for what within the city boundaries. The agreement dates back to 1957 and the City had requested a copy for the last 8 years.
    • County Engineer Lyndon Robjent gave each Council member a copy of the agreement. He went over the agreement and any adjustments made to the agreement with Council.

Speed Limit Sign – Requested

  • Council requested the installation of a speed limit sign going east out of town on County Road 50.
    • County Engineer Robjent will have an "End 30 mph" sign put up at the line between the city and county boundary.

Attorney James Keeler – Adult Use Ordinance for Carver County

  • Today, April 13, 2010 Carver County adopted an Ordinance amending the County Code and Fee Schedule. Adopted Chapter 113, adult use businesses; amended Chapter 152, the Zoning Code; and amended the County Fee Schedule.
  • Attorney James Keeler updated Council on the reason why the Ordinance was needed and its rules and regulations.
  • Attorney Keeler suggested the City of Hamburg draft up its own adult use ordinance. He will send the city a copy of the County Ordinance.

County Plans for LGA Cuts

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen asked Commissioner Ische if the County had any plans to cut money to the cities if the County has any LGA cuts.
    • Commissioner Ische said no, the County does not have any plans at this time.


Joe & John Hubler – 411 Maria Avenue


Renovation of Old City Hall Building

  • Joe Hubler had previously given Council a booklet listing their plans on renovating the old City Hall. Their plan is to use the first floor as a fabrication shop (cutting granite) and office, and the second floor for two apartments.
  • Ann Perry (City Planning Consultant) had sent Council a memorandum listing the required City process for the review of the renovation of the old City Hall located at 711 Maria Ave. Ms. Perry also included a list of questions Council should address with the Hubler's.
  • Joe and John Hubler answered the questions along with other questions from Council and they also reviewed the plans with Council.
  • Joe Hubler questioned Council as to where the water and sewer lines are stubbed in at.
    • Councilmember Mueller answered that the water line is stubbed in on the west side of the building. The sewer line is stubbed in at the southeast corner of the building between the sidewalk and curb.
  • Joe Hubler asked if the City has a permit fee to hook up the water and sewer lines.
    • Council replied there is a fee of $3,500 per hookup, WAC&SAC.
    • John and Joe both commented that this was extremely high.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will talk with Ann Perry (City Planning Consultant) on the next steps to keep this plan moving. Ann Perry will contact Joe & John Hubler directly is she has any questions or needs any further information.


H.I.P. Group (Hamburg Improve Parks)


Presentation of Future Plans

  • The H.I.P. group would like to provide playground equipment for the Park area on the east side of the Hamburg Hall. There is $6,000 in the H.I.P. fund for purchasing the equipment.
  • Council and the H.I.P. group discussed purchasing two picnic tables for this area also but both decided to hold off on the purchase.
  • The H.I.P. group present Council with three different options for playground equipment. They also mentioned that the ground area will have to be redone to meet code.
  • Council discussed the proposals and decided to remove the old swing set then have the H.I.P. group purchase the playground equipment after the Shop driveway project is completed. The H.I.P. group should work with Councilmember Barnes who is in charge of Parks and have him come back to Council with the final plans.
  • The H.I.P. group has no future community plans to raise money except for the recycling of the pop cans.


Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)

(Maintenance Worker Byerly was absent – City Clerk Gruenhagen presented report.)


City Lawnmower – Estimates/Purchase

  • Council discussed leasing or purchasing a lawnmower. If they purchase what brand and who to purchase from.
  • Council decided to purchase the eXmark from Waconia Farm Supply in Waconia, MN.


  • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to purchase the eXmark lawnmower with the Kawasaki 29HP 60"deck from the Waconia Farm Supply in the amount of $4,594.56 with two extra blades and oil and oil filter, Councilmember Trebesch seconded and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.
  • Mayor Malz will pick up the lawnmower and see if he can make a deal on the blades, oil, and oil filter.

K & K Construction

  • Kip Trebesch present Council with an estimate of $600 to $800 to fix the leak in the roof above the Community Center women's bathroom.
    Mr. Trebesch had also looked at the damaged Hall canopy and gave his ideas on how to fix the problem.
  • Council decided to get more estimates before making a decision.

Crack Sealing (City Streets) and Seal Coating (Donald Avenue)

  • Council decided to table these items until a later date.

Estimates for Sidewalk Replacement (Parkside Tavern)

  • Council decided to start gathering quotes for the sidewalk replacement.
    • Councilmember Cummiskey volunteered to get some estimates.

Part-time Seasonal Help

  • The city office has received 15 applications.
  • City Clerk Gruenhagen will set up a meeting time with Councilmember Trebesch, Councilmember Barnes, and Maintenance Worker Byerly to go over the applications.

MDH Drinking Water Report

  • All community water systems must distribute a drinking water report annually to their customers. A copy of the CCR must be kept for tree years. Failure to produce and distribute a CCR as required, as well as failure to return a copy to MDH by July 1, 2010 may result in enforcement actions, including fines.
    • This has been completed.

Ziegler Power Systems (Annual Preventive Maintenance)

  • The cities emergency generator is due for its annual preventive maintenance check up. The total cost to do the work was $6,080.
  • Council briefly discussed and decided not to have Ziegler due the check up. Maintenance Worker Byerly will be able to do the work himself.

City Shop Driveway Repairs

  • Henning's have been contact to come out and do the shop driveway repairs.


Deputy Clerk Report


Delinquent Utility Bills

  • Council discussed the delinquent water bills and decided to have the delinquent accounts certified to the home owners' taxes.
  • At the last council meeting Councilmember Barnes asked what the Level and Total Level on the Delinquency Report represent.
    • Deputy Clerk Block reported that the Level is "the number of times the account has been penalized without paying off the amount due" and Total Level is "the number of times the account has paid late".




Email from Richard Odoms – 150 Jacob Street

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen informed Council that he had received another email from Mr. Odoms requesting Deputy Clerk Block's full name and date of birth. City Clerk Gruenhagen noted that he did respond to this email giving Deputy Clerk Block's complete name which is public but not her date of birth. Her date of birth is not on here job application therefore it is not public information.

MCFOA Conference – July 12, 2010 to July 16, 2010

  • Deputy Clerk Block received a $150 grant to attend the MCFOA Conference in July cutting the cost of attending from $410 to $260.
  • Deputy Clerk Block requested Councils approval to stay at the Crowne Plaza during the conference.
    • Councilmember Cummiskey moved to allow, and pay for, Deputy Clerk Block the four night stay at the Crowne Plaza North in Bloomington during the five day MCFOA Conference from July 12, 2010 to July 16, 2010, Councilmember Mueller seconded and motion carried. Councilmember Barnes abstained. All Council members were present.


Clerk/Treasurer Report


I/I Abatement Program – Easements

  • City Clerk Gruenhagen gave a brief up date on the number of easements that were signed and resident's requests for more information.

Donation of Optic IIIP Eagle Voting Equipment

  • The Carver County Taxpayer Services requested the City of Hamburg donation of the outdated Optech III Eagle voting machines that the County has in storage. There office was contacted by Brown County in Wisconsin expressing an interest in obtaining these machines for spare parts. Carver County Taxpayer Services had discussed any potential market value of the outdated machines with there vendor and were informed that there is little or no potential for receiving any monetary compensation for the machines.
  • Councilmember Barnes moved to approve the donation of the Optic IIIP Eagle Voting Equipment to Brown County, seconded by Councilmember Trebesch and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.

Letter from Sheriff Bud Olson

  • Carver County Sheriff's Office will be providing a Child Safety & Drug Prevention Education Program to provide child safety and drug prevention material for children. The Sheriff's Office was asking the Council for a donation to help provide this material.
    • Members of Council decided not to participate in this program.

League of Minnesota Cities Letter - Budget Cuts (MVHC & LGA)

  • Last week Governor Pawlenty signed into law the first supplemental budget bill. This bill will further reduce Market Value Homestead Credit (MVHC) and Local Government Aid (LGA) by $52.5 million in 2010. This is on top of the $128 million in cuts to MVHA and LGA that cities have already taken into account in their adopted 2010 budgets. However, the signing of Chapter 215 does not eliminate the possibility of additional cuts for cities in 2010.

Brush Pile Site Dates – Sign Up Sheet

  • Council members signed up on what date they wanted to close the gate out at the lagoons.






City Council Reports


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

Councilmember Cummiskey (Streets)

  • Councilmember Cummiskey updated Council on the Handicap Bathroom for the Hall. He did receive an estimate from Swanson Plumbing.
    • Councilmember Trebesch and Councilmember Barnes both recommended getting one more quote before making a decision.

Councilmember Trebesch (Buildings) – had nothing further to report.

Councilmember Barnes (Parks) – had nothing further to report.

Mayor Malz – had nothing further to report.


Approve Claims List for April 2010


Claims List for April 2010

  • Councilmember Barnes questioned claim #14371, $5,563.32, to repair the Fire Departments 1979 Ford transmission. He questioned why this was not noticed before the purchase of the newer Rescue Truck.
    • Fire Chief Droege had left the council meeting so Councilmember Barnes was unable to receive an answer.

Councilmember Trebesch moved to approve April 2010 four ACH payments and April claim numbers 14356 through 14387 with one addition of check number 14388, seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.


Councilmember Barnes moved to adjourn the Hamburg City Council meeting at 10:20 p.m., seconded by Councilmember Mueller and motion unanimously carried. All Council members were present.



                                                                            Submitted by:



                                                                            Sue Block

                                                                             Deputy Clerk

Pride Festival allows Brian Johnson to partake

Over the weekend the Twin Cities saw the GLBT community celebrate with a "Pride Festival". Last week the group was looking to bar Brian Johnson from being involved because of his views on homosexuality. After hearing of "Pride Festival" stance, I wrote the following to the Star Tribune (which was published in Saturday's paper):

The feud over Johnson smacks of hypocrisy. The Pride festival touts, on its website, that "nearly 400 vendors and exhibitors set up at the Pride Festival each year. From food and beverage to arts and crafts, employee groups and local nonprofit organizations, you can find just about anything you're looking for at the Pride Festival." But if the judge had not ruled, you would not have been able to find Brian Johnson.

Where did the tolerance, diversity and compassion go with Pride organizers? Jim Kelley, Pride festival manager, stated in the Star Tribune that "free speech and liberty belong to everyone. We are leasing this space, and if someone came into your home and started telling you what an awful family you have, [they] can have that opinion; [they] just can't have it in your house."

Again, where is the tolerance? What better place to discuss, openly, the topics concerning the community than at Pride? Or is tolerance of others only saved for the oppressed, downtrodden and castoffs of society?

When I opened the Sunday paper I was happy to hear that Johnson and his group were allowed to walk among the Pride Festival. From all accounts that I have read both yesterday and today, of the Pride Festival is that Johnson's group did not create the type of disruption that officials thought might take place.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Moral Fortitude: Can it exist without Regulations?

The blog entry of "Many see President Obama as off the mark with Oil Speech" has morphed into a philosophical debate of moral fortitude. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines morality as (

  1. Descriptively to refer to a code of conduct put forward by a society or,
    1. Some other group, such as religion, or
    2. Accepted by an individual for her own behavior or
  2. Normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.

While I believe in allowing Free Market forces to work unabated by regulations, I do recognize that Free Will and the lack of a common moral fortitude creates challenges for Free Market Forces. A Anonymous commenter mentioned that "Since we all have a different idea of what morality is, those with opposing morals can still carry them with fortitude, regulations are always necessary" and when on to pose the question of "And you mean your morals, correct?" James Rachels, in his book The Elements of Moral Philosophy, attempts to define morality by quoting Socrates, from Plato's Republic, "We are discussing no small matter, but how we ought to live."

Rachels goes on in the book to discuss Moral Relativism in regards that cultures differ as much as their moral standards do. "Should we eat the bodies of the dead or burn them?" Rachels posed. To which Rachels responds with, "If you were Greek, one answer would seem obviously correct; but if you were a Callatian, the opposite would seem equally certain." Now, does this say in the business world a standard of universal morality cannot be established? Are we not establishing those moral standards via regulations? If that is the case, why not remove the regulations while leaving the morality established by them in place?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hamburg City Council Agenda – June 22, 2010




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

  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Miscellaneous Business (Public Comments)
  • Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption
  • Approve Minutes for April 27, 2010, May 2010, June 8, 2010
  • Review Claims List for June 2010
  • Old City Business (Memo)


7:10. Fire Department Report

  • Retirement Recognition of Firefighter Tim Mueller
  • 2010 FEMA Grant/US Fish & Wildlife Grant/DNR Grant
  • Amended By-Laws of the Hamburg Firefighters Relief Association
  • 2010 Zummerfest Celebration
  • Floor Scrubber for Fire Hall
  • National Night Out


7:20. MNSPECT – Ty Turnquist

  • What Things Do I Need a Permit For?
  • Legislative Update


7:40. Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)

  • Estimates to Replace City Shop Driveway/Sidewalk
  • Community Hall Ramp Canopy Repairs (Estimates)
  • Estimates for Re-Siding Park Food Stand
  • Water Tower Stand Pipe Repair
  • Water Wells Usage – Water Consumption for 2010
  • Project List (Added Items)


8:10. Deputy Clerk Report

  • Delinquent Utility Bills Report
  • Expenses/Hours for MCFOA Clerk's Conference


8:15. City Clerk/Treasurer Report

  • I/I Abatement Program (Sanitary Sewer/Storm Water Improvements)
    • Easements for Project
      • Purchase of Property for Storm Water Pond
    • 2011 Intended Use Plan Deadline (June 4, 2010 Deadline)
      • Funding for Sanitary Sewer/Storm Water Improvements
    • Project Schedule for 2010/2011
    • Engineer Billing Rates through March 31, 2011
  • TCW Disposal, Inc. Conditional Use Permit Violation
    • Letter from Carver County Land Management Department
  • Estimate for Automatic Door Opener for Polling Place
  • City Purchasing Policy (Bids/Quotes Guidelines)
  • Draft Reissued NPDES/State Disposal Permit for MN Pipe Line Corridor & Clearbrook & Cottage Grove Terminals

8:35. 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


8:55. Approve Added Claims for June 2010


9:00. Adjourn Meeting



"The times set forth above are estimated.  Some subjects may take a longer time to discuss and take action on; some subjects may take less time than set forth."





Thursday, June 17, 2010

Many see President Obama as off the mark with Oil Speech

I have been reading a lot of backlash from all sides of the aisle after President Obama gave his speech last night. The headlines are:


President of Change Unwilling to Tackle US Oil Addiction – Der Spiegel

Obama should be thanking BP, not demonizing it – The Telegraph

No gushing over Obama's oil spill spiel – The Guardian

Even long standing ardent supports of Obama spoke out against the speech. Olbermann quipped after the speech, "It was a great speech if you were on another planet for the last 57 days." Matthews quipped after the speech, "I don't sense executive command" and even compared Obama to President Carter. Howard Fineman was the tamest of the trio after the speech by quipping, "He wasn't specific enough." Did President Obama fall short? Did President Obama convince the American public and those directly affected by the oil spill?

I did not get to watch the spiel but I did read the transcript. President Obama is correct that we need to wane ourselves from our addiction on foreign oil. The President was a bit off on the amount of oil we have available in North America and why rigs are forced into deeper waters. While writing this blog entry BP announced that it would set up a $20 billion fund to assist those affected by the oil spill. President Obama announced that one of his Czar's would oversee the fund. But I digress. The way to help American's with their addiction of oil is to give them more.

Hear me out. Per President Obama, America uses 20% of the oil consumed in the world. It is time that America increases their use to push the green agenda. If the goal is to really move toward only green energy we need to deplete the resource that feeds our addiction. Let's drill all the oil we can from North America and use it like the gluttons we are. Bring back the SUV's that get 13 mpg and demand that all Americans drive these vehicles only for the next ten years to burn up as much oil as we can. I know this an out of the box idea but let's use our strength's as America to push the green agenda.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

President Obama addresses the nation

In case you missed it. Here is what President Obama said to the nation on Tuesday night.


Good evening. As we speak, our nation faces a multitude of challenges. At home, our top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession that has touched the lives of nearly every American. Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to Al Qaeda wherever it exists.

And tonight, I've returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we're waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens.

On April 20, an explosion ripped through BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, about 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Eleven workers lost their lives. Seventeen others were injured. And soon, nearly a mile beneath the surface of the ocean, oil began spewing into the water.

Because there's never been a leak this size at this depth, stopping it has tested the limits of human technology. That's why, just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation's best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge, a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation's secretary of energy. Scientists at our national labs and experts from academia and other oil companies have also provided ideas and advice.

As a result of these efforts, we've directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology. And in the coming weeks and days, these efforts should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well. This is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that's expected to stop the leak completely.

Already, this oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced. And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, it's not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days. The millions of gallons of oil that have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico are more like an epidemic, one that we will be fighting for months and even years.

But make no mistake: We will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long it takes. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. And we will do whatever's necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy.

Tonight, I'd like to lay out for you what our battle plan is going forward: what we're doing to clean up the oil, what we're doing to help our neighbors in the Gulf, and what we're doing to make sure that a catastrophe like this never happens again.

First, the cleanup.

From the very beginning of this crisis, the federal government has been in charge of the largest environmental cleanup effort in our nation's history, an effort led by Adm. Thad Allen, who has almost 40 years of experience responding to disasters. We now have nearly 30,000 personnel who are working across four states to contain and clean up the oil.

Thousands of ships and other vessels are responding in the Gulf. And I've authorized the deployment of over 17,000 National Guard members along the coast. These servicemen and women are ready to help stop the oil from coming ashore, they're ready to help clean the beaches, train response workers, or even help with processing claims, and I urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible.

Because of our efforts, millions of gallons of oil have already been removed from the water through burning, skimming and other collection methods. Over 5.5 million feet of boom has been laid across the water to block and absorb the approaching oil. We've approved the construction of new barrier islands in Louisiana to try to stop the oil before it reaches the shore, and we're working with Alabama, Mississippi and Florida to implement creative approaches to their unique coastlines.

As the cleanup continues, we will offer whatever additional resources and assistance our coastal states may need.

Now, a mobilization of this speed and magnitude will never be perfect, and new challenges will always arise. I saw and heard evidence of that during this trip. So if something isn't working, we want to hear about it. If there are problems in the operation, we will fix them.

But we have to recognize that, despite our best efforts, oil has already caused damage to our coastline and its wildlife. And sadly, no matter how effective our response is, there will be more oil and more damage before this siege is done.

That's why the second thing we're focused on is the recovery and restoration of the Gulf Coast.

You know, for generations, men and women who call this region home have made their living from the water. That living is now in jeopardy. I've talked to shrimpers and fishermen who don't know how they're going to support their families this year. I've seen empty docks and restaurants with fewer customers, even in areas where the beaches are not yet affected.

I've talked to owners of shops and hotels who wonder when the tourists might start coming back. The sadness and the anger they feel is not just about the money they've lost; it's about a wrenching anxiety that their way of life may be lost.

I refuse to let that happen. Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company's recklessness.

And this fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent third party.

Beyond compensating the people of the Gulf in the short term, it's also clear we need a long-term plan to restore the unique beauty and bounty of this region. The oil spill represents just the latest blow to a place that's already suffered multiple economic disasters and decades of environmental degradation that has led to disappearing wetlands and habitats.

And the region still hasn't recovered from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. That's why we must make a commitment to the Gulf Coast that goes beyond responding to the crisis of the moment.

I make that commitment tonight.

Earlier, I asked Ray Mabus, the secretary of the Navy, who's also a former governor of Mississippi and a son of the Gulf Coast, to develop a long-term Gulf Coast restoration plan as soon as possible. The plan will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists and other Gulf residents. And BP will pay for the impact this spill has had on the region.

The third part of our response plan is the steps we're taking to ensure that a disaster like this does not happen again.

A few months ago, I approved a proposal to consider new, limited offshore drilling under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe, that the proper technology would be in place and the necessary precautions would be taken.

That obviously was not the case in the Deepwater Horizon rig, and I want to know why. The American people deserve to know why. The families I met with last week who lost their loved ones in the explosion, these families deserve to know why.

And so I've established a national commission to understand the causes of this disaster and offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards we need to put in place. Already I've issued a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling.

I know this creates difficulty for the people who work on these rigs, but for the sake of their safety and for the sake of the entire region, we need to know the facts before we allow deepwater drilling to continue. And while I urge the commission to complete its work as quickly as possible, I expect them to do that work thoroughly and impartially.

Now, one place we've already begun to take action is at the agency in charge of regulating drilling and issuing permits, known as the Minerals Management Service.

Over the last decade, this agency has become emblematic of a failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility, a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves.

At this agency, industry insiders were put in charge of industry oversight. Oil companies showered regulators with gifts and favors and were essentially allowed to conduct their own safety inspections and write their own regulations.

And when Ken Salazar became my secretary of the Interior, one of his very first acts was to clean up the worst of the corruption at this agency. But it's now clear that the problem there ran much deeper and the pace of reform was just too slow.

And so Secretary Salazar and I are bringing in new leadership at the agency: Michael Bromwich, who was a tough federal prosecutor and inspector general. And his charge over the next few months is to build an organization that acts as the oil industry's watchdog, not its partner.

So one of the lessons we've learned from this spill is that we need better regulations, better safety standards, and better enforcement when it comes to offshore drilling. But a larger lesson is that, no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, drilling for oil these days entails greater risk.

After all, oil is a finite resource. We consume more than 20 percent of the world's oil, but have less than 2 percent of the world's oil reserves. And that's part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean: because we're running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.

For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we've talked and talked about the need to end America's century-long addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we have failed to act with the sense of urgency that this challenge requires.

Time and again, the path forward has been blocked, not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by a lack of political courage and candor.

The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean-energy jobs and industries that should be right here in America. Each day, we send nearly $1 billion of our wealth to foreign countries for their oil. And today, as we look to the Gulf, we see an entire way of life being threatened by a menacing cloud of black crude.

We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean-energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America's innovation and seize control of our own destiny.

This is not some distant vision for America. The transition away from fossil fuels is going to take some time. But over the last year- and-a-half, we've already taken unprecedented action to jump-start the clean-energy industry.

As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows and small businesses are making solar panels. Consumers are buying more efficient cars and trucks, and families are making their homes more energy-efficient. Scientists and researchers are discovering clean-energy technologies that someday will lead to entire new industries.

Each of us has a part to play in a new future that will benefit all of us. As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs, but only if we accelerate that transition, only if we seize the moment, and only if we rally together and act as one nation: workers and entrepreneurs, scientists and citizens, the public and private sectors.

You know, when I was a candidate for this office, I laid out a set of principles that would move our country towards energy independence. Last year, the House of Representatives acted on these principles by passing a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill, a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America's businesses.

Now, there are costs associated with this transition, and there are some who believe that we can't afford those costs right now. I say we can't afford not to change how we produce and use energy, because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security and our environment are far greater.

So I'm happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party, as long as they seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels. Some have suggested raising efficiency standards in our buildings, like we did in our cars and trucks. Some believe we should set standards to ensure that more of our electricity comes from wind and solar power. Others wonder why the energy industry only spends a fraction of what the high-tech industry does on research and development, and want to rapidly boost our investments in such research and development.

All of these approaches have merit and deserve a fair hearing in the months ahead. But the one approach I will not accept is inaction. The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is somehow too big and too difficult to meet.

You know, the same thing was said about our ability to produce enough planes and tanks in World War II. The same thing was said about our ability to harness the science and technology to land a man safely on the surface of the moon.

And yet, time and again, we have refused to settle for the paltry limits of conventional wisdom.

Instead, what has defined us as a nation since our founding is the capacity to shape our destiny, our determination to fight for the America we want for our children. Even if we're unsure exactly what that looks like, even if we don't yet precisely know how we're going to get there, we know we'll get there.

It's a faith in the future that sustains us as a people. It is that same faith that sustains our neighbors in the Gulf right now.

Each year, at the beginning of shrimping season, the region's fishermen take part in a tradition that was brought to America long ago by fishing immigrants from Europe. It's called "The Blessing of the Fleet," and today it's a celebration where clergy from different religions gather to say a prayer for the safety and success of the men and women who will soon head out to sea, some for weeks at a time.

The ceremony goes on in good times and in bad. It took place after Katrina, and it took place a few weeks ago, at the beginning of the most difficult season these fishermen have ever faced.

And still, they came and they prayed.

For as a priest and former fisherman once said of the tradition, "The blessing is not that God has promised to remove all obstacles and dangers. The blessing is that he is with us always," a blessing that's granted "even in the midst of the storm."

The oil spill is not the last crisis America will face. This nation has known hard times before, and we will surely know them again. What sees us through -- what has always seen us through -- is our strength, our resilience, and our unyielding faith that something better awaits us if we summon the courage to reach for it.

Tonight, we pray for that courage, we pray for the people of the Gulf, and we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Why another $50 billion, Mr. Obama?

The Coast Guard has given BP a 48 hour mandate to show improvement or else. Not sure what that or else will be. At the same time President Obama is pushing congressional leaders to pass additional $50B to assist states and local governments. The additional money will be used to keep layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters. I know when the original stimulus bill was passed many, including myself, warned that it was a temporary fix. When will the Obama administration understand that government spending will not bring us out of the recession?

Government needs to re-prioritize their goals. Hamburg faced a threat of losing Local Government Assistance (LGA) from the state of Minnesota in order to balance the budget. After the dust settled, Hamburg did see a cut in LGA funds but not as deep as originally anticipated. The ripple effect we experience is that local governments have become dependent on LGA, the state government dependant on Federal handouts, and where does that leave the Federal government?

I know that people rail against the TEA Party movement for their demands of smaller government. The extra money that Obama is looking for is the exact reason why TEA Party supporters are demanding smaller government. Now, smaller government does not have to mean less government; rather it means smarter government. We cannot sustain the trajectory of government employment, we cannot sustain the trajectory of spending that we have seen over the past four year, and we cannot sustain the trajectory of lost freedoms in a free society. Congress is correct to ignore the extra money Obama is requesting of them. The United States cannot continue to bailout poor financial decisions of all levels of government. Hard choices need to be made and it is time for Americans to demand that of government at every level.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nationalized Risk of Wall Street done by Congress not Wall Street

Recently, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was heckled by members of ADAPT, a disability rights group, as she addressed a progressive audience this past Tuesday. According to the Politico ADAPT, and other groups, heckled Pelosi for about 20 minutes. As Pelosi wrapped up her speech she, again, accused the ills of the United States economy on the Bush administration. When does the blaming of a prior administration end? Did Pelosi forget that in Bush's final two years the Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress? I understand the blame game is part of politics and is an attempt to keep Americans polarized too.

The most troubling part of her speech was the words she had for Wall Street. "No longer will recklessness on Wall Street be able to cause joblessness on Main Street. No longer will those on Wall Street be able to privatize the gain and nationalize the risk" ( WHAT?!?!?! How can Wall Street nationalize the risk? It is Congress that passed the bailouts and not Wall Street. One can make an argument that lobbyist for Wall Street influenced the process but the lobbyist nor Wall Street actually cast a vote or sign on the dotted line. Granted TARP was signed by Bush but it was passed by Pelosi/Reed led Congress. Our current politicians failed America by nationalizing the risk that Wall Street takes.

The dotcom bubble was not nationalized yet Congress chooses to nationalize the housing bubble; why is that? Did the dotcom's not give enough money to Congress? There is nothing wrong with Wall Street in privatizing gains. Remember the increased profits and stock appreciation of Wall Street fuels our 401K's, IRA's and our nest eggs. I do agree with Speaker Pelosi that we cannot nationalize the risk but be honest as to who is nationalizing the risk. It is Congress that is nationalizing risk and the President rubber stamps it.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hamburg City Council Agenda - June 8, 2008


Here is what our City Council discussed last night


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

  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • Miscellaneous Business (Public Comments)
  • Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption
  • Approve Minutes for April 27, 2010 & May 11, 2010
  • Review Claims List for June 2010
  • Old City Business (Memo)


7:10. Fire Department Report

  • Retirement of Firefighter Tim Mueller
  • 2010 FEMA Grant/US Fish & Wildlife Grant/DNR Grant
  • Amended By-Laws of the Hamburg Firefighters Relief Association
  • Rescue Number 11/Engine Number 11 & 12 Repairs
  • Reimbursement from Green Isle for July 2 & 3, 2008 Fire Service Call
  • Regional Grant for Pagers
    • Thank You Letter (Board of County Commissioners)


7:20. Brett & Julie Gamber (851 William Street)

  • Annexation of Property
    • Inground Pool


7:35. Doug Parrott – S.E.H. Inc.

  • I/I Abatement Program (Sanitary Sewer/Storm Water Improvements)
    • Easements for Project
      • Purchase of Property for Storm Water Pond
    • 2011 Intended Use Plan Deadline (June 4, 2010 Deadline)
      • Funding for Sanitary Sewer/Storm Water Improvements
    • Project Schedule for 2010/2011


8:05. Dennis' Report (Public Works & Utilities)

  • Part-time Seasonal Help
  • Community Hall Ramp Canopy Repairs (Estimates)
  • Estimates for Re-Siding Park Food Stand
  • Estimates for Seal Coating (Donald Avenue) & Crack Sealing
  • Estimates to Replace City Shop Driveway/Sidewalk
  • LMC Loss Control Visit (May 21, 2010)
  • Water Wells Usage – Water Consumption for 2010
  • Project List (Added Items)


8:35. Deputy Clerk Report

  • Delinquent Utility Bills Report


8:40. City Clerk/Treasurer Report

  • Liquor License Renewals (July 1st, 2008 to June 30th, 2009)
    • Parkside Tavern (On-Sale, Special Sunday On-Sale, Off-Sale)
    • Hamburg Lions Club (3.2 Malt Liquor)
    • Hamburg Baseball Club (3.2 Malt Liquor)
  • Metropolitan Council Population & Household Estimates for 2009


8:50. City Council Reports

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


9:05. Approve Claims for June 2010


9:10. Adjourn Meeting


"The times set forth above are estimated.  Some subjects may take a longer time to discuss and take action on; some subjects may take less time than set forth."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Obama to Rely on Shallow Water Exploration for Gulf Coast Economic Recovery

The Gulf Coast of the United States is devastated by the explosion of the oil rig some 50 days ago. As oil washes up on shores, as far away as Florida, many industries in the Gulf are being impacted. President Obama announced they are working to establish new safety requirements that will allow offshore oil and gas exploration in shallow waters. One of the biggest obstacles to capping the thousands of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf is the depth at which the well head is at. Several articles have been written about the lax of rules by regulators and company officials alike. A lot of blame is to go around but, perhaps, the biggest factor is the depth that the United States government has pushed companies drilling for oil to.

The concept of NIMBY creeps into play when discussing shallow water drilling. No one wants to sit on a beach when large oil rigs dot the horizon thus it forces those rigs further out into deeper waters which increases the environmental impact when an oil spill occurs. The White House is reconsidering shallow water exploration because of the loss of jobs and income to the Gulf Coast. President Obama pointed out when he met with Cabinet officials, "What is clear is that the economic impact of this disaster is going to be substantial and it is going to be ongoing" ( Finally, the White House understands that in order for economic depressed areas to recover is through private industry.

The new regulations expected to be implemented is to "require drillers to have independent operators certify that the blowout preventers work as designed to shut off the flow of oil; that independent operators certify the well design plans is adequate, including proper casing, or cement lining…" ( Now the question is will regulators, over time, slowly retreat to the cozy relationship that exists now with drilling companies? Regulators must share the blame for the explosion since they allowed, by signing off, for the lax in deep water drilling regulations. We are a country dependant on oil and constantly looking for independence from foreign oil. While the oil spill and damage from it has given environmentalists new ammo to fight for renewable energy it is interesting that a huge wind farm proposed off the coast of Cape Cod has been nixed.

I applaud President Obama for recognizing that oil is still our best option right now and private industry is the true method to creating and sustaining jobs that drive economic recovery. Rumors swirl about a second stimulus bill with more government spending, why doesn't President Obama apply the same logic for reopening shallow water exploration to the rest of the economy?