The Houston City Council decided to pay the training expenses of those wishing to become trained paramedics at their regular council meeting on December 13, 2021. Individuals training to become paramedics are asked to invest nearly 200 hours of their time for training. They meet in person once a week during the course and complete the rest online at their convenience. The training expense for each EMT is $1,560 with bridging training for healthcare workers costing $425. Three people are currently interested in their program; two others are possibilities. The city hopes to encourage and train a total of 10 paramedics; the paid training offer will be for the year 2022.
City Administrator Michelle Quinn presented the city’s current financial situation at the Truth in Taxation meeting. Quinn reported that LGA funding has been increased from $5,600 to $380,500 for next year. The city had originally budgeted for a 3% increase in levies; Quinn informed the public the levy could be lowered to 2%. With no questions from the public, the Tax Truth meeting was adjourned and the board adopted the final budget and 2% levy for a total levy of $548,800.
Matt Mohs of Bolton & Menk presented claim number 8 for the WWTP (wastewater treatment plant) rehabilitation project. The board approved the payment of $176,882.94.
Mohs shared that the lift station work would be done after the holidays. He informed the council that the Main Route 16 project is currently scheduled for 2030, but could be moved to 2028. He noted that the state is aware of the utility concerns and is trying to get it up on the list of projects.
The council has agreed an ambulance collection agreement with AAA Collection Agency. This will provide another option for the collection of unpaid ambulance bills; there will be no charge unless the City of Houston chooses to issue an invoice to the agency.
Amanda Langheinrich’s resignation as caretaker has been accepted by the board. The caretaker position is currently open. The job pays $14.44 an hour for about 15 hours a week; the custodian will ensure the day-to-day maintenance of the municipal park, the community centre, the municipal offices and the library.
Police Chief Brett Hurley said he has several candidates for the full-time police position. He also shared that Houston County law enforcement will again be asking Santa to deliver gifts to some families in the area.
City Administrator Quinn told the council that tourism group Explore Minnesota now requires proof of vaccinations or a COVID testing plan for city staff members signing the group’s agreement. This group offered free tourist material to give away at the Nature Center as well as the inclusion of the city and the Nature Center in their guidebook in exchange for attendance data collected at the centre. The council’s consensus was that the city would not return this paperwork at this time, choosing not to impose such a requirement on employees.
In other cases counsel:
• Issuance of gaming permits to the Firemen’s Relief Association and the Sheldon Valley Sportsmen Club;
•Defining the new community center as a polling place for the city;
• Adopted the calendars of meetings for 2022;
• Acceptance of additional money ($1,671.97) from Federal ARPA Covid funds to potentially be used for water line lining on Cedar Street;
• Passed a Loan Resolution Guarantee Agreement for the fire truck loan and agreed to continue to allow Michelle Quinn and Mayor David Olson to sign the necessary paperwork.
The next Houston City Council meeting will be held in the City Hall Council Meeting Room at 105 West Maple Street at 6 p.m. on January 10, 2022. Junior college wrestlers use the community center to train until at 5:30 p.m. in the evening. Council’s plan is to meet at City Hall from now on, unless it turns out that the council meeting will have a lot of citizens. In this case, the meeting would be moved to the community center. The public is invited to attend; the citizen feedback portion of the meeting is at the end of the meeting.