At this weeks Granite Falls City Council Meeting the council started by welcoming a new police officer, Marcus Bruflat. Bruflat is filling the position of an officer that left to join the Yellow Medicine County Sheriff's department. Bruflat previously worked for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s department but wanted to be closer to family so her moved back to Granite Falls.
The council held a presentation of helmets ceremony for four new firefighters, Derrick Grund, Nathan Stewart, Jared Bakken, and Tim McRae. Fire Chief Craig Opdahl discussed the rigorous process each new firefighter goes through which includes 144 hours of training, not including the drills and meetings the Granite Falls department itself holds twice a month. After the ceremony Chief Opdahl and Upper Sioux Community Chairman Kevin Jensvold discussed a donation to the Granite Falls Fire Department.
The Upper Sioux Community is looking to purchase and donate a vehicle, either a grass rig or a humvee, to the department. “This is really a group effort and a great opportunity to work with the Upper Sioux Community.” Opdahl said. Chairman Jensvold spoke about the donation, “The Upper Sioux Community is in a unique position from time to time we have access to Federal Government programs that we believe can enhance our fire department.” Jensvold continued, “I was the first tribal member to on the Granite Falls department and now there are three tribal members, so it's good to see there is a growing interest.” Jensvoled finished by saying, “We certainly want to put forth our best efforts to be a good neighbor and support the department … we are looking to enhance all of our lives not just Upper Sioux.”
Mayor Dave Smiglewski thanked Jensen and the Upper Sioux Community for the generous donation and said it was a great opportunity to work together. The council voted to accept the donation unanimously.
The Granite Falls heritage partnership, which was recently formed to prepare for the 100th anniversary of the Volstead Act, came to the council with a proposal to hire Tamara Isfeld to do a prohibition art project. Isfeld would create six paintings that would tell the story of prohibition, the art would include newspaper clippings and other original materials from that period of time. Funding would come from the Heritage Partnership Grant so there wouldn’t be any cost to the city. The Council unanimously approved hiring Isfeld to work on the project.
City Engineer Mike Amborn discussed an order change with the Council for work on Barbers Circle and Daniels Drive. The proposed change to the project would add a drain under the road’s base to help prolong the sub base of the road. This would add $30,724.50 to the project costs. The Council voted to proceed with the change.
The council approved a local book clubs proposal for the placement of a lending library box at the corner of 9th Avenue and Prentice Street. A lending library box allows people to put books in and share with others or take a book out and read it. The book club will make sure the box remains stocked. Vandalism was the councils only concern with the proposal but agreed it was a great idea.
Ashlie Johnson from Countryside Public Health came to the council with two proposed ordinances. The first proposal was to amend the city’s tobacco ordinance, a number of language changes were made to come into compliance with state policy, but there were a number of optional changes the council had issues with. Not allowing coupons to be used at retailers, raising the minimum 99 cent cigar price to 4 dollars, punishments and some of the language used in the ordinance were all not well received by the council.
The council thought this would hurt regular buyers rather than prevent youth from purchasing tobacco products and it would interfere with businesses. The second proposal was a clean indoor air ordinance, the city already had a similar form of this ordinance passed but this would expand it to cover E-cigarettes. The Minnesota State Senate passed a clean indoor air bill that covers E-cigarettes and this will likely come to Granite soon anyway. The council decided to table both ordinances and look into them more before making any final decisions. It’s likely aspects of both ordinances will change before the council votes on them again.
In Other News:
•The council received a Memorial Park update on phase one and two work
•The council approved the execution of a Cooperative Construction Agreement for a Highway 67 flashing pedestrian beacon at Memorial Park
•The council authorized the execution of a contract for professional services for Memorial Park phase four improvements
•The council approved moving forward with a water tower design for the main tower that matches the recently painted tower in color and font
•The council forgave interest on 2018 street/utility assessments for Minnesota West Community and Technical College
•The council Called for a public hearing on the City Charter changes and updates that will be held on May 20th at 7:15PM