By Lorrie Ham
FOR THE LAKER
At the first Spring Park City Council meeting of the new year on Jan. 3, Mayor Jerry Rockvam, along with Councilmembers Catherine Kane Palen and Megan Pavot took the oath of office from City Clerk Theresa Schyma. Following the formalities, Rockvam quickly guided the council through the first organizational meeting of the year.
Following the mayor’s suggestion, the council changed the time of the regularly scheduled meetings on the first and third Mondays from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. In addition, scheduled work sessions will now be held on the third Monday of the month at 6 p.m., prior to the regular council meeting.
Rockvam also shared his philosophy that the council should be giving more direction to staff regarding city tasks that need to be completed. “We have a very competent staff and I would like to see us utilize our staff more than we have been lately,” he said. Rockvam said that staff members were fully capable of accomplishing tasks and reporting back to the council, and the council agreed.
On another staff note, Palen said she would like to see updated communications equipment for staff. She suggested that the staff could make recommendations on possible upgrades to phone and computer equipment.
Rockvam “wholeheartedly” agreed and asked City Administrator Dan Tolsma if he could prepare a report for the next meeting with some recommendations as to what would best suit staff members’ needs. Tolsma acknowledged that there had been some issues with the city’s “antiquated” phone system.
Councilmember Gary Hughes asked Tolsma about a planned projector and updates to city hall security. Tolsma said that the Lake Minnetonka Cable Commission is scheduled to install the projector soon. Security updates are planned, but proposals need to be finalized, he added.
Tolsma explained that the city is following recommendations from the League of Minnesota Cities at city hall which are meant to keep public space somewhat separate from city staff areas, which will mean turning the hallway into primarily the public area. Other components include updates to the fire alarm system and a dual entry alarm system, he added. Those upgrades are expected to happen within the next couple of months.
In another matter, the council approved an agreement with Sambatek, Inc., the city’s engineering firm, to provide the engineering components needed for the city’s required comprehensive plan update. Tolsma said the estimated cost of the engineer’s portion of the grade is estimated at $13,000. The council has already approved an agreement with the city planner at an estimated cost of $30,000 for his share of the project.
Tolsma reported that the $40,000 to $45,000 total expense for the comp plan upgrade was originally proposed to be paid from the capital improvement fund. “This is a one-time capital outlay cost which meets our criteria as a capital project,” he said. Rockvam said he had no problem paying the expense from the capital improvement fund, but felt that the council needed to have a plan to pay it back. The matter will be discussed at the next work session.