During last week’s Clarkfield City Council meeting, the council reviewed technology and software options for the Clarkfield Care Center. The review comes as part of a larger transition process triggered earlier this summer when the council voted to change management contracts from Ecumen to Minnewaska Community Health Services. Because of licensing concerns, the Care Center will need to change aspects of their technology and software set-up to accommodate the new management company.

Minnewaska Community Health Services Administrator Chris Knoll walked the council through two proposals drawn-up by XS Consulting Group. The first proposal relies on smaller serves and cuts out redundant computers, bringing the total cost to $35,471. Under this proposal, two on site servers costing $10,022 will support an array of computers, tablets, and mobile stations.

The second proposal uses cloud-based services instead of an on-site server in addition to traditional desktop and laptop computers. Because this proposal requires 25 new Microsoft Surface Laptops, costing a total of $24,975. The total cost for this proposal is $41,268, slightly higher than the first proposal.

Knoll said that the second proposal will “put computers in the hands of caregivers,” an advantage in the increasingly tech savvy healthy industry. He explained that either way, the transition promises to be very complex, and urged the council to make a final decision sooner rather than later.

Because state statute requires three bids or more on contracts over $25,000, Knoll said he would find additional bids before the next council meeting, at which point the city would make a final decision.

In other news:

The council voted unanimously to approve a loan request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the amount of $8,268,000. The decision comes after months of debate over the appropriate scope for the city infrastructure project and the amount the city was willing to spend. The current proposal is substantially smaller than initial drafts, and focuses exclusively and must need improvements to streets and water.

The council also voted to approve an application for the Wastewater Infrastructure Fund Grant from the Minnesota Public Facilities A Authority. Clarkfield is eligible for up to 65% of the eligible grant funding as determined by Rural Development.

City Administrator Amanda Luepke reminded the public that the window for filing for city office is July 31 until August 12. There are two seats open this election, along with the Mayor’s seat.

The Budget Committee reviewed the sound system proposal and recommended the city pursue a smaller system for this year. The new sound system will cost $270 with the option of a speaker if needed. The system has been ordered and is expected to arrive in time for next week’s city council meeting.

The Clarkfield School Task force approved the final Request for Proposal (RFP) for professional consulting services. The consultant will oversee the competitive bidding process to obtain non-biased single bids for the demolition of the old school building. The RFP deadline is August 24 and the Task Force will make their selection by the end of the month. The City of Clarkfield will then make their recommendation to the Yellow Medicine Board of Commissioners. A final decision will be made by September 24.

The council also accepted two donations. Nancy and Robert Wiskur donated $50 for the Parks Department and Chad and Emily Bruflat donated $237.72 for a new volleyball net at North Park.

The council decided to rescind their request (passed during the last meeting) that Bob and Ron Schlenner pay in full for repairs to the Clarkfield Area Charter School lift pump (which is on their property). Bob Schlenner angrily demanded to know why he was being billed, since he was the one who initially installed the lift pump as a service to the city. After discussion, council members took his side and agreed that the city would pay for the repairs.