Rugby City Council voted to place construction company owner Neil Lotvedt to a vacant council seat on September 7
Lotvedt took the vacancy in Ward 1 left by former council member Jackie Albrecht, who resigned in July. Albrecht’s term expires in June 2022, when neighborhood voters choose a representative for the seat.
Lotvedt and Bruce Rheault both attended the meeting. Everyone had expressed an interest in taking the seat. Both candidates had interviewed board members for the seat in August.
After board members congratulated the two candidates on their qualifications, board member Maurus Brossart appointed Lotvedt to fill the position. Board members Gary Kraft, Joel Berg, Frank LaRocque and Brossart voted for Lotvedt to take the seat, while board members Wayne Trottier, Dave Bednarz and Matt Lunde voted “no.”
Council members approved the financial statements and minutes of the August meetings, giving the go-ahead for the transfer of a $ 102,256 certificate of deposit from the City’s general fund to a capital fund for the purchase of a new fire pump truck. Council member Gary Kraft estimated that a new truck would be purchased in the distant future, once the ministry reimburses the new fire station.
“By the time we get to replace our current city truck, the fire station should be paid for, in my opinion” Kraft board member, a volunteer firefighter, said. âIt’s just a matter of putting aside a CD and assigning it to a truck in the future. We are a long way from going out and considering buying a truck.
Council member Wayne Trottier reviewed financial data for August and asked Jim Olson of engineering firm AE2S about a mileage report he submitted for work done on the infrastructure of sewer a weekend. Olson said he “to be happy to” submit any documentation for any questions Trottier had.
Rugby Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Laurie Odden submitted minutes and a budget for the CVB. Odden noted that the CVB’s license for their one-year 50/50 draw would expire at the end of September. “I brought tickets tonight” Odden said to the council, smiling. “They’re just a dollar luckily.”
Odden said repairs to the Rugby Geographic Center monument and the Northern Lights Tower had been ” work in progress “. Odden asked council members if the current location of the monument would be “permanent.” Mayor Sue Steinke, Lotvedt and others have said Anytime Fitness owns the property where the monument is located. However, council members suggested that part of the property could belong to the North Dakota Department of Transportation.
“It was just a question I had” said Odden. âSomeone thought maybe we could move it. Everyone has lots of ideas. “
Odden said the ideas were “Just a few things to think about. Nothing’s happening so soon.
Odden reported on a career fair organized by the Chamber of Commerce and CVB âIt was a success. It was held at (Rugby) High School. It was a good turnout. It was educational for the kids.
“We plan to do it twice a year”, Odden said of the job fair. “We’ll probably do a fall and a spring one.” Odden said local businesses expressed “excitation” about a Spring Career Fair, as they hoped it would help them recruit high school graduates.
Odden said the Chamber and CVB are eagerly awaiting a wine march scheduled for September 16.
The board unanimously approved Odden’s reports and financial statements.
Rugby Job Development Authority director Karl Frigaard spoke to council members about the critical need for affordable housing for workers and the need to attract workers to rugby. Trottier asked Frigaard how he came to the conclusion that affordable housing is a critical need for rugby workers.
“I am looking for data specific to Rugby,” said Trottier. âYou generalize. How to make the data more specific to Rugby? This is my concern as a board member.
Lotvedt suggested affordable housing was already available in Rugby Town rather than in newer developments on the outskirts of town. He added that many workers are already commuting to work from surrounding areas such as Rolette.
The board approved the minutes and financial statements of the JDA.
The committee chairs reported to the board. Recreation committee member LaRocque told the board that the committee has updated job descriptions for the recreation director and recreation director positions. LaRocque also reported that conditions on the softball fields had improved with the recent rains. He added that measures would be taken to control weeds on the property of the recreation complex.
Kraft, who chairs the finance committee, said members had finalized the city’s 2022 budget.
The president of public works, Bednarz, informed the members of the works carried out on the hydraulic infrastructures and the works on the gutters of the city center. Bednarz also reported that workers are putting asphalt in an alley near Ely Elementary School. Bednarz added that mosquito spraying would start again in the city, depending on the wind conditions.
LaRocque, who chairs the public safety committee, told council members that electronic speed limit signs have been placed in high traffic areas around the city. He also informed the members of a new job description drafted for a police sergeant position.
Brossart told council that the buildings committee approved funding for the purchase and installation of wall ties for the Rugby Pool building. Council voted to accept the joist and installation bid submitted by contractor Mike Swanson for $ 14,800.
The council also approved the bids for repairs to the city dockyard roof and pool building submitted by contractor Minot A&R Roofing. The cost of $ 159,850 for repairs to the armory roof would come from the 2022 budget, while funds for the pool roof had been set aside in previous budgets. The pool roof repair estimate was $ 108,810.
The current white roof of the pool will be replaced with a black roof, which Olson says would be more economical and efficient. âWe had a suggestion to paint the pool orange so we could have Panther black and orange (Rugby) colors, put Panther decals on the side and it would line up perfectly with our water tower. “ said Steinke laughing.
Olson presented a schedule of planned projects for the city’s water and sewer infrastructure and buildings. Members discussed a project jointly funded by the city and the North Dakota DOT for work on a section of North Dakota Highway 3 through Rugby. City auditor Jennifer Stewart told council $ 350,000 has been set aside for the municipal portion of the project. DOT officials first presented their roadwork plans to council in 2018. Multiple delays have put the project on hold until spring 2022. City auditor Jennifer Stewart and Steinke said the full cost of the project could s ‘amount to more than $ 5 million, the majority paid for by the state.
Rugby City Attorney Bill Hartl told council the city and resident Larry Vetsch have reached a legal settlement on the cleanup of items from Vetsch’s property. Hartl and the board had met with Vetsch’s lawyer in a closed-door executive session on August 30.
LaRocque brought human resource issues among City employees to council. He presented documents on a public works employee’s job performance, pointing out the lack of detail to substantiate claims of below-normal performance in the document. LaRocque also spoke of a lack of training for effective supervision and employee evaluation for city workers.
Hartl weighed in on the matter, telling council when he learned the city would fire the employee, he “Was under the impression” the public works committee voted to fire the employee. However, only the chairman of the Bednarz committee decided to fire the employee.
Hartl added he was out of town when Bednarz told the employee he had been fired. Hartl said he saw the employee working on his return, so he was initially unaware of any attempted dismissal of the employee.
Hartl said after learning that board member Brossart questioned the dismissal, he said he “Learned that there had been no committee meeting to approve the dismissal.” Hartl contacted other city officials and recommended that an executive session be held to reinstate the employee.
LaRocque also pointed out that the employee in the supervisory role did not follow the city employee handbook. LaRocque and Trottier recommended that the council staff committee hold more meetings in the future. The committee meets infrequently and has gone without meeting for up to a year in the past.
Trottier also recommended more structure for human resources issues. “It’s unfortunate that we have to come to this” Trottier said of the situation.
“I agree that the city has never, ever put much emphasis on training or other issues with their human capital”, said Steinke.
In other matters, the council approved the first reading of municipal ordinance 432, which concerns the appropriations for the annual budget. New board member Lotvedt abstained from the vote, saying he had not read the ordinance.
The city also voted to approve an easement application to place a well in an alley near the property of council member Brossart, located in the Chalmers Addition subdivision of Rugby. Maurus and Sandy Brossart would bear all costs associated with the easement.
Council members also voted in favor of sending Steinke to represent Rugby at redistribution meetings to be convened by state lawmakers. Members also voted to write a letter of support for the Pierce County Courthouse to receive funding from the North Dakota Cultural Heritage Grant.
The council also approved a proclamation submitted by area resident Steve Fritel designating October 6 as German-American Rugby Day.
The council will hold its next regular meeting on October 4 at 7:30 p.m. at Rugby Town Hall.