MARSHALL - The Marshall City Council approved the sale of more than $11 million in bonds Tuesday night at its regular meeting. The bonds would help pay for upcoming utility improvements and city projects.
Marshall Municipal Utilities General Manager Brad Roos said the city utilities commission recommended the sale of a total of $7.9 million in public utility bonds. Roos said the utility bonds would be smaller than anticipated this year because of a change in planned utility projects. MMU had anticipated bonding for the construction of a water main to a new city well field. However, he said that project is still waiting to go through the permit process and won't be started this year. Instead, he said MMU would focus on finishing the city's conversion to underground power lines.
"We are anxious to complete that," Roos said.
The bonds would have a term of 15 years.
The council voted to approve the utility bonds.
Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig said the city was recommending the sale of a total of $4.4 million in general obligation bonds for several city improvement projects. Martig said the city would also be moving its bonding timeline earlier in the year to help with cash flow for city projects. The bonds would be sold May 8 and have a 15-year term.
Council member Charlie Sanow said he didn't approve of the city taking on more debt with the bonds, and wouldn't be voting in favor of them. The council voted to approve the bonds 4-1, with Sanow casting the no vote.
Council members revisited an amendment to city personnel policies that was approved at the council's March 13 meeting. The amendment makes non-exempt city employees ineligible to serve in paid on-call positions, like the Marshall Fire Department or the Chemical Assessment Team. This would avoid overtime and other possible concerns raised by employees being on-call in addition to having full-time positions with the city.
Council member Mike Boedigheimer was not in favor of the amendment, saying all city employees should be restricted from on-call positions.
Boedigheimer requested the issue come back before the council.
Martig presented the council with a list of city positions exempt from overtime requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It included a total of 16 positions, like the city administrator, division directors like the director of public safety and director of public works, and other supervisory positions like the city liquor store manager and parks supervisor. Martig said city staff recommended amending the personnel policies again to restrict the city administrator and division director titles from on-call work, but allowing the other exempt personnel to work on-call.
Boedigheimer said he still had concerns about the proposed amendment. For example, he said, what would happen if an employee stepped down from an exempt position but still worked for the city? Would they have to choose between the city position and being on the fire department or hazmat team?
Martig said the amendment didn't address that kind of situation specifically. Both Marshall Fire Chief Marc Klaith and council member Larry Doom said they thought it wasn't likely to happen.
"I think we could review this on a case-by-case basis," Doom said.
The council approved the additional amendment 4-1, with Boedigheimer casting the no vote.