Orono Council approves shifts in city staff

By Adam Quandt
[email protected]

The regular meeting of the Orono City Council featured a lot of movement within city employees.

During the regular Council meeting on June 12, the Council appointed John Thiesse to his third three-year term to serve on the Orono Planning Commission.

Orono’s Public Works Department employs six full-time positions of public maintenance workers. However, a couple months ago a vacancy opened on the staff. During the June 12 City Council meeting, the Council approved that the position be filled by Brian Clark.

Clark is an Orono resident with 20 years of experience. “I’m excited at the opportunity,” Clark said during the meeting.

The meeting’s consent agenda also featured the resignation of Orono’s Administrative Support Assistant, Rachel Dodge.

Dodge has worked for the city of Orono for the last 16 years. During the meeting, Mayor Dennis Walsh and the Council passed a resolution recognizing Dodge for her years of service to the City of Orono.

During the meeting, the mayor and council addressed a variety of other items.

In 1998, the City Council passed a resolution to acquire four tax-forefeited parcels of land for conservation purposes. However, the transfer to city ownership of the land never occurred.

During the June 12 meeting, the council approved the resolution to authorize the payment of conveyance fees on the land. The conveyance fee per lot was $250, bringing the total payment from the city to $1000.

The original intent of the city to acquire the property was to negate the possibility of the land ever being developed. The four lots involved are “heavily encumbered by wetbacks, slopes and poor soils,” according to the City Council resolution document.

After recommendation from City Administrator Doug Reeder, the Council was asked to discuss a memo from Long Lake Fire Chief Van Eyll. The memo from the fire chief addressed a contract that Orono currently holds with the Wayzata Fire Department to cover a small section of Orono.

In the memo, Chief Van Eyll said that the Long Lake Fire Department could cover that section of Orono without having to acquire additional equipment or support.

Despite the possible change, it would not change the shared effort of all of the surrounding fire departments, depending on the severity of the emergency.

During the discussion, some residents voiced their concern for the possible change, stating “why change something that is working.” Other residents voiced concern to the fact that many of the residents of the impacted area were unaware of the possible change.

In order to make the change, the City of Orono is required to give notice to those involved in the contract six months prior to the contract expiration, which comes at the end of this month.

The Council passed a motion to provide notice to the Wayzata Fire Department for a discontinuation of their service to Orono next year with a t 5-0 vote.

The next regular meeting of the Orono City Council will take place at 7 p.m. on June 26 in the council chambers at Orono City Hall.