Red Wing City Council briefsRed Wing City Council briefs for the May 14, 2012, meeting
Barrel House could shut down
Red Wing’s Barrel House bar could be shut down after two state law violations, and the city may take its own action as well.
The Main Street bar has been operating without a valid food and beverage license since July, City Clerk Kathy Johnson said. The state is working through civil legal action to shut down the bar until it gets the proper license, and the city can take steps to sanction the bar’s local license as well.
Barrel House owner Matthew Parker was notified by the Minnesota Department of Health of the violations and the state’s legal action, but did not respond. The city was notified last month of the issues, Johnson said.
She said the city contacted Parker, who assured staff he would pay the fines and fees associated with the license, but has not done so.
The bar owner also purchased liquor from another retailer, which is illegal, city attorney Amy Mace said Monday night.
The council created a three-person committee that will set and hold a hearing on the violations to determine any city action.
The city can suspend or revoke the license.
The Barrel House owner was not available for comment Tuesday.
Bridge project costs upped again
As construction on the East Fifth Street bridge moves forward, costs are adding up.
On Monday, the council approved a contract for moving affected fiber optic cables in the area, but noted the project is getting more and more expensive.
Rogers Telecom, the fiber company, did not want to put a cap on the city’s costs for the work, Engineering Director Ron Rosenthal said. But the council added one at 10 percent above the estimate of about $195,500.
“It just makes me very nervous,” Council member Lisa Bayley said of not having a cap, and others agreed.
Council member Mike Schultz voted against the contract approval.
Members also approved plans to work with Goodhue County and a consulting firm to assist with inspections, engineering and other aspects of the project.
Sand transport questions raised
Council members raised concerns about talk of transporting sand at the Little River bulkhead. The Port Authority had been approached about loading unprocessed sand from Wisconsin mines onto barges at the bulkhead, next to the Xcel Energy steam plant.
The city attorney is looking into whether that is allowed under contracts and the lease for the bulkhead.
Planning Director Brian Peterson said the committee studying sand mining operations in Red Wing during the city’s moratorium is looking at all angles of the operations, from transportation to mining to processing.
Ordinance stems lawsuit
The owner of Red Wing Smoke Shop is filing a lawsuit against the city over its newly passed drug paraphernalia ordinance, Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann told the council Monday.
The owner’s lawyer is seeking an injunction to put off enforcement while his client challenges the ordinance. Shop owner Moe Wazwaz had told the city before the ordinance was approved last month that he would take legal action if it passed.
Kuhlmann said an attorney from the League of Minnesota Cities will help Red Wing through the process.
Water shutoffs could be reduced
The city is looking into not using water shutoffs as the main way to get late utility payments. Currently water services are shut off and a fee is attached if the bill isn’t paid, but that causes a lot of extra work for staff and problems for residents, Bob Stark, Red Wing Public Works deputy director, said.
Staff proposed only charging late fees, but would still shut off water if a certain amount is racked up in bills and fees.
“I think in many ways this approach is more consumer-friendly,” Finance Director Marshall Hallock said.
Council will discuss more details at its next meeting.
Last alley to be paved
The council unanimously ordered in a project to pave a gravel alley from 12th to Norwood streets in between Phelps and Sylvan streets. Engineering Director Ron Rosenthal said this is the last gravel alley the city knows of that needs to be paved.
“It’s a tremendous improvement in our community,” Council member Mike Schultz said of city-wide alley paving.
In other news…
• As part of the consent agenda, the council unanimously adopted an ordinance allowing for brewpub licensing in Red Wing. Members had introduced the ordinance at the last meeting.
• The council unanimously approved the appointment of Teresa Cheberiak to the Sister Cities Commission for a first term expiring December 31, 2014.
Monday’s City Council meeting lasted about three hours and 10 minutes before going into a closed session to discuss Minnesota Public Utilities administrative hearings that include Xcel Energy and the city. All members were present.
--Compiled by Danielle Nordine, staff writer