City of Hampton

5265 238th Street East • P.O. BOX 128 • Hampton, MN 55031 • United States of America • 651.437.8846

Hampton City Council Meetings Happen Every Second Tuesday of the Month.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Hampton City Council Regular Meeting Minutes for April 12, 2016

The Hampton City Council met on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at the Hampton City Hall for the regular scheduled meeting. Present were Mayor Skog; Council Members John Knetter, David Luhring, Jerry Huddleston, and Amanda Jensrud. Also present were Cory Bienfang, City Engineer; Marlin Reinardy, Water and Sewer Superintendent; and Scott Qualle, City Building Inspector. 

Regular Meeting Called to Order - Mayor Skog called the Regular Scheduled Meeting to order at 7:01 p.m.

Disclosure of Interest – None. 

Approval of March 8, 2016 Regular Scheduled Meeting Minutes – Motion by Knetter seconded by Luhring to approve the March 8, 2016 Regular Scheduled Meeting Minutes. All voted in favor. None opposed. Motion passed 5:0. 

Approval of Disbursements – Motion by Knetter seconded by Luhring to approve the April disbursements excluding John Knetter‘s. All voted in favor. None opposed. Motion passed 5:0. Motion by Luhring seconded by Huddleston to approve John Knetter’s April disbursement. All voted in favor. None opposed. Motion passed 4:0. Knetter abstained from voting. 

Public Comment – Steve Hamilton with the Randolph / Hampton Fire Department stated that Mayor Skog had requested a donation of $3,500.00 for a band to play at his Hampton Community Days and confirmed that the Fire Department had declined to participate at this time. 

Petitions, Requests, and Communications - Annual Internal Audit
Council Members Luhring and Huddleston volunteered to conduct the annual audit along with Chris Meyer, City Treasurer; and Wendy Carpenter, City Clerk. 

Reports of Officers, Boards, and Committees 

Engineer Report – Cory Bienfang, City Engineer confirmed that the grant application for the trail along Highway 50 was submitted and that the amount requested was $100,000.00 as he felt that Hampton would have a better chance of being awarded a grant at that level. Cory explained that the City could expect a response in June or July, however; MnDOT required a commitment by June 20 as the project is being federally funded and that an environmental impact statement would need to be modified due to the trail. The City Engineer recommended the next step be contacting the property owners that would be impacted to see if there was a potential to work with them on the project and after verifying with the City Attorney that a public hearing was not required, still felt that it may be a good idea and opportunity to provide transparency. Huddleston confirmed that the projected cost had gone down as Cory said that he had to justify specific cost when completing the grant application and found there to be less engineering fees and the assumed easement needs had decreased after MnDOT started their process of acquiring the right-of-way and as easements are still being determined while records are being researched and cleaned up. Knetter mentioned that current infrastructure needs should take precedence. Skog recommended holding a public hearing. Bienfang provided the Council a tentative schedule with June being a critical month to look at at both a CIP update and a final decision on the trail project and recommended inviting Shannon Sweeny to attend and provide financial advice. Cory stated that the MDH grant application had been successfully submitted in the amount of $6,400.00 and hoped it to fully fund cutting the hole in the old city hall and coring down to determine the abandoned well sealing. Bienfang also commented that he and Luhring had met to look at options to repair some of the problem areas on the City streets and felt that potholes could be filled and patched with a hot mix for approximately $2,000.00 and suggested the City collect quotes to patch this spring. Luhring agreed to address them with a short term fix and plan a complete street project for 2017. 

Water / Sewer Report - Marlin Reinardy, Water and Sewer Superintendent stated that he had received information on the Wellhead Protection Plan update that will need to be completed and that MN Rural Water may be able to provide assistance and that he would be researching that option. Reinardy said that hydrants would be flushed the week of April 18 and although there had been issues with rust along Belmont and the frontage road, it has been much better lately. Marlin mentioned that the sewer samples had been sent in and after results were received, discharging could begin and estimated that process would also start the week of April 18. Reinardy congratulated John Knetter on acquiring his water license and said that he was scheduled to take the exam for the sewer in June. 

Park Report – Huddleston said that the park plan would be discussed at the April 28 Planning Commission meeting and that an open house to gather input from the public was planned in May. Huddleston also commented that Anderson Lawn Care would soon begin lawn and weed maintenance as they had one more year remaining on their contract. 

Street Report - Luhring suggested that the electronic signs were now active and has noticed reduced speeds along County Road 47. Knetter mentioned perhaps checking with the City of Hastings as they may have equipment that they would allow Hampton to use to fill potholes and would provide the contact information to Luhring. 
The Deputy Sheriff said an individual was traveling and parking around Hampton in a Winnebago and as family had been contacted, the issue was resolved. 

Unfinished Business – 

Planning Commission Appointments-Luhring stated that he had been misquoted by Skog in his Hampton news and that he did not request letters of resignation from Reinardy or Jensrud. Marlin Reinardy said that he may consider stepping down from the Commission. Motion by Knetter seconded by Luhring to close the discussion until any resignations were submitted as all current terms were approved in January. All voted in favor. None opposed. Motion passed 5:0. 

New Business - 

Rental Ordinance Compliance - Scott Qualle, City Building Inspector provided the Council with a summary of permits and valuations and requested direction and guidance on non-complying landlords and stated that some landlords have not yet addressed issues required for a final inspection and in addition a few have not even applied for a license and have just ignored the ordinance. Qualle asked if the Council wanted to look into modifying the ordinance or request the City Attorney to uphold the current one. Jensrud felt that the ordinance should be enforced. Skog commented that it could be expensive. Knetter said that the ordinance had been put in place some years ago due to a property that the owner had let run down and requested the City Clerk to address the lawn maintenance of the two properties that were of concern last year. Council felt a letter from the Attorney directed to the rental properties would be a good start. Luhring questioned if the ordinance in place regarding property upkeep could cover the rental issues as well. Qualle said that some aspects may be the same but the rental ordinance is more detailed and dealt with issues inside the buildings as well as the exterior. 

Public Nuisance Property / Vehicles Ordinance Compliance - Luhring felt that City Officials or neighbors could send any concerns they may have to City Hall. Jensrud said that if any issues are determined to be in violation of the Code of Ordinances, that City Staff could then make a call or send a letter. Luhring requested that the Council work together and make a commitment moving forward as in the past there had been an ordinance upheld just to have the Mayor overturn that action. Steve Hamilton questioned if there was a procedure to amend ordinances. Jensrud stated that these types of ordinances can be amended starting with the Council. Scott Qualle recommended checking into a fee or citation program and reminded the Council that he takes direction from them as a whole and not just one individual. Jensrud agreed and thanked Qualle for pointing that out. 

Social Media Policy - Jensrud provided a draft code of conduct and wanted to discuss the policy and setting a fee in the event of a violation. Skog questioned if this was in regards to the Facebook page. Jensrud said that comments on Facebook can be deleted and that this was for Elected Officials and City Employees. Skog stated that the policy was unconstitutional and that it violated his 1st Amendment rights. Wendy Carpenter, City Clerk stated that the City Attorney did assist in the draft of the policy to ensure it was legal and that if approved would be adopted as an ordinance. Huddleston said that the main goal was to update the code of conduct to include social media and promote transparency and pointed out that everyone has a right to their comments but they need to identify that it is their own opinion and not the position of the City. Skog commented that this issue had already been addressed in 2006, 2009, and 2012 and any similar logos mentioned are owned by him. Knetter suggested the City change their logo and perhaps have a local logo contest. Jensrud explained that she had residents inquire on information posted on Twitter and as she was blocked from Skog’s account was not able to respond. Skog interrupted that he was allowed to block her and the Council. Jensrud called Point of Order and continued saying she was just requesting more separation as it was confusing to residents. Skog said that he was within his rights and as none of the Council were his friends, he could block any of them. Skog felt it was disgusting how he was attacked for his paper at meetings. Knetter explained that no one was attacking him and that it was simply a code of conduct update to include social media. Huddleston reiterated that if officials want to comment on city business, you should state that it is not the City Council’s word and mentioned that if all of the Council are blocked from your account, there would be no way to hold you accountable for your actions. Jensrud commented that in the past Skog had attempted to conduct city business on Twitter without Council approval. Skog said that he did not need to comply with any policy or set fines. Luhring brought attention to Skog’s email as “Hampton News” and that as he was in fact the Mayor it was misrepresentation. Jensrud mentioned that she had read that the Sheriff had been asked by the Mayor to provide a quarterly report in the Hampton News and that as he was receiving personal gain from that, it was a conflict of interest. Skog said that the Council talking about this subject could affect his business and the City would be liable. Carpenter inquired on an additional website with city business listed without approval. Skog said that he owned the domain and if the City wanted control, they should buy it from him and that he really even forgot that it was live. Jensrud stated that she remembered a website being discussed, but a proposal to design and manage was never approved nor was official city business approved to be posted. Council agreed that an ordinance should be drafted with a fee not to exceed $500.00 and the City Clerk asked if Skog could work with the Staff to avoid any more expense. Skog responded “I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing”. 

Zoning Ordinance Amendment to Increase Allowed Maximum Square Footage of Accessory Buildings - Skog questioned how this would benefit Knetter. Jensrud called point of order. Knetter said that he had no intention of building anything at this time but had an inquiry on a lot in town and wanted to look at the current ordinance to see if an amendment or variance may be an option to allow a larger garage. Motion by Jensrud seconded by Huddleston to request the Planning Commission to research the issue. All voted in favor. None opposed. Motion passed 5:0. 

Hampton TIF Policy Discussion - Skog felt that adopting a TIF would be a way to entice business development in the Industrial Park and Main Street. Knetter mentioned it could be incorporated with the Comprehensive Plan update and requested the City Treasurer provide input. Motion by Jensrud seconded by Knetter to have the City Treasurer research the TIF policy. All voted in favor. None opposed. Motion passed 5:0. 

Hampton City Code Enforcer - Skog mentioned hiring an individual to make rounds and check on residents that may be violating the City Code. Steve Hamilton stated that he was not in favor of policing other’s property and those issues should go through the Council. Luhring stated that complaints are currently brought to the City Clerk’s office and if a violation is determined, there is an avenue for the City Staff to take. Skog said that the City needed a “Barney Fife.” Knetter confirmed that Luhring was appointed as Ordinance Compliance Officer and addresses the current problems with City Staff. Jensrud felt that the City should move forward with setting administrative citations. 

Hampton Clean-Up Day - Skog provided quotes on dumpsters to allow residents to clean up old electronics and brush that is collected this time of year and said that he would oversee it and check licenses. Marlin Reinardy confirmed with Skog items such as microwaves and paint were accepted. Skog assumed that they were allowed. Motion by Jensrud seconded by Knetter to hire Highland to provide a dumpster on May 21 contingent on specifics being supplied on acceptable items. All voted in favor. None opposed. Motion passed 5:0. 

Adjournment - Motion by Luhring seconded by Knetter to adjourn the meeting. All voted in favor. None opposed. Motion passed 5:0. The meeting adjourned at 8:36 p.m. 

Respectfully submitted, Wendy Carpenter