The Clarkfield City Council approved a new contract with Olson Sanitation. The three year agreement is significant because the contract is signed directly with the city, meaning that Clarkfield residents will begin paying their garbage bill as part of their monthly city utility bill starting in March.

According to Joe Olson, who presented the new contract to the council, residents will see few changes in their service. pick-up days and times will remain the same and prices should stay virtually unchanged. Olson addressed concerns about walk-up service for residents who needed it, saying, “I have no problem of helping people who need it,” and promised to make such determinations on a case by case basis.

Those residents who have prepaid their garbage bill for the whole year will receive a complete refund from Olson for services after March. These changes will only impact residential homes. Commercial customers will still negotiate their contracts directly with Olson Sanitation.

The council also debated a new Peddlers and Solicitors ordinance. The ordinance is the result of a recent decision to adopt the Minnesota Basic Code. Council members were initially concerned that the language might exclude solicitation from non-profit entities like the Girl Scouts or school fundraising. However, Luepke read sections of the new ordinance that gave special permission to those groups. Eventually, the council voted unanimously to pass the new ordinance.

Donations amounting to $82.21 were accepted by the council on behalf of the library. The council expressed their gratitude for the donations in their resolution accepting the donations. The council also approved the appointment of Hazel Hanson to the library board. Her term will run from now through December 31, 2020.

The council also voted to authorize signature powers. F&M Bank will remain as the designated depository for the City of Clarkfield. Luepke, Mayor Dale Stringer III, and council member Emily Bruflat were each authorized to draw upon the general city bank account. Any combination of two of the three authorized signers is required for issuing checks.

The council voted to approve letters that will be sent out in the coming weeks to rental owners informing them of changes to the city code. One significant change that landlords will see is the introduction of mandatory house inspections to receive a rental license. Those with questions are encourage to contact Administrator Luepke, or to call the city office at 320-669-4435.

Luepke also shared her plans for hiring a new administrative assistant with the council. She said the new position will assume the responsibilities of the current Deputy Clerk position. Luepke explained that in past years, the clerk position was known as an administrative assistant, and she felt this label was more appropriate for the role.

The new assistant will work on a variety of office support roles and will provide assistance to the administrative office and the public works department. The position is full-time and rated at pay grade 3 ($15.39 - $20.08). Luepke will hold interviews in early February and hopes that the council will give final approval by February 6.