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City Council Rescinds Previous Motions

By Staff | Sep 25, 2008

Two weeks ago, Emmetsburg City Council awarded the bid to build a new terminal building at Emmetsburg Municipal Airport. They also created the position of golf course superintendent and hired a person for that position at a set salary. Those motions were rescinded Monday by Emmetsburg City Council.

“We have to unwind and re-do two actions from the Sept. 8 council meeting that either were not in the proper form, or subsequent events have rendered moot,” John Schad said in his mayor’s report to the council.

Action to award a contract to Gramowski Construction to build a new terminal building at the airport was nullified when the project cost exceeded $100,000. To be eligible for 25/75-percent matching funds grant money from Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation (PACGDC), the project must be under that amount.

At the Sept. 8 meeting, City Administrator John Bird told the council that only one bid had been submitted for the project. Submitted by Gramowski Construction, the bid was for $118,525. Bird told the council he would send a letter to PACGDC explaining that the bid had come in over the engineer’s estimate and proposing that the city would fund the difference.

PACGDC responded to the city, noting that their request could not be granted. Bill Lapczenski, President, wrote: “The grant was scored and approved for $97,262 with 75% funding from PACGDC and 25% matching funds from the city. The PACGDC policies and procedures will not allow us to fund the grant for $118,525 at 75%. A project of this size would have had to have 50% matching funds. It is the hope of PACGDC that you, along with the Airport Commission, are able to find a way to comply with the grant as originally written.”

Mayor John Schad addressed in-kind donations that have been proposed toward the terminal building project. The county has offered to do earth moving, two building suppliers have offered to provide lumber at their cost, and two individuals have volunteered to do the wiring. That would reduce the cost of the project and would give the city an opportunity to request an extension on PACGDC’s deadline.

“I talked to City Attorney Brian Thul and he recommended we table action on that,” said Mayor John Schad.

“It’s three weeks until our next council meeting,” said Councilman Gramowski. “We could have frost in the ground.”

Council representative Sandy Pelzer questioned why bids were let in the fall rather than last spring.

Tracey Mattice, a member of the Airport Commission, explained that the people set up to do the drawings got backed up and the project was then given over to an engineering firm that does work for the airport. They, too, were delayed.

Later in the meeting, Schad noted that the bid should be let by resolution instead of by motion. He again stated that the city attorney advised that the council should take their time and look at it.

“I would rather table it than pass a resolution with strings attached,” said Councilman Brian Campbell.

The council voted to table making a decision on the resolution.

The matter of creating the position of golf course superintendent and hiring a person for that position at a set salary was also rescinded. Mike Knight, who worked for Wild Rose Golf Club, was hired in anticipation of the city taking over operations of the golf course Oct. 1.

Mayor Schad pointed out that a resolution is required to create the position. The mayor also stated that Steve Finer, chairman of the interim golf committee, had made a statement that the golf course needs to be viewed as a business. Schad requested that Finer and committee prepare projected revenue by income category for a three year period and projected expenses over that same period.

“We don’t need an extensive business plan, but at least an outline of potential revenue sources from the golf course and club house, and projected costs,” said Schad.

“It will have a lot to do with what direction we take with the facility,” Finer said. “We have quite a few expenses identified. A lot will depend on whether we rent out the facility and how much revenue comes from the bar.”

“The golf course part is separate from the club house,” said council representative Pam Smith. “We don’t know if we’re going to even have a bar there.”

Council representative Sandy Pelzer read her concerns regarding the differences of philosophy demonstrated at the last council meeting, which drew applause from a group attending the meeting. Council representative Pelzer’s statement is printed in an adjoining story in its entirety.

Edna O’Connor of Emmetsburg addressed the council with questions on the golf course, noting that she is interested in the running of the club.

She asked: “Is the city going to buy a liquor license and a cigarette permit? Are you going to offer food? You will be going into competition with several establishments that are trying to make a living.”

O’Connor also questioned where the city gets its money, other than from taxpayers. She hoped that the city was not going to dip into Emmetsburg Municipal Utility money.

Council discussion then centered on a resolution creating the position of a golf course superintendent.

Council representative Pelzer noted that a Storm-type meeting is being scheduled. She wondered if the community vision would be different than what the council establishes.

“When we appointed the interim board, it was with a limited scope to golf,” said Mayor Schad. “This resolution accomplishes that. In the next few meetings we need to establish a community board, something extending beyond the golf course.”

The mayor wondered if a single resolution could address all three things: creating the position of golf course superintendent, setting the superintendent’s salary, and hiring the superintendent. Other city employees are hired by motion and not by resolution.

“It might not be an issue right now, but it could be down the road,” said Campbell.

Council representative Smith had concerns about unanswered questions. She noted that scheduling and grounds keeping could be done on a contract basis.

Mayor Schad proposed a three-tier approach:

– a meeting of the interim golf committee between now (Monday) and a special meeting.

– set up a special council meeting

– put these items on as separate issues

Finer expressed frustration from his committee members who are trying to get the golf course ready for winter.

“I’m not trying to make a problem for you,” said Schad. “We want you to hire Mike (Knight) at $35,000 salary before the end of the month.”

A motion was passed to table resolution 08-29, which would have created the position of golf course superintendent, set the compensation, and named Mike Knight to the position. Voting yes were Pam Smith, Sandy Pelzer and Brian Campbell. Councilmen Steve Finer and Corey Gramowski abstained. Councilman Pat Degen was not present.

A meeting of the interim golf committee was set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30, in the Council Chambers of City Hall. A special meeting of Emmetsburg City Council will follow at 7 p.m.