Minto City Council delays municipal court
Sheriff recommends ordinance updates
The new municipal court for the City of Minto will be delayed as the council works to update the ordinances already on the books.
The vote to delay the court was taken after Sheriff Lauren Wild spoke with the council regarding his concerns over the status of the city’s ordinances.
“Good job on establishing a municipal court,” Wild said. “But what I would prefer you do is to bring your ordinances up to date first. I don’t want a scenario where we use an ordinance that is too outdated or unconstitutional.”
In a discussion regarding which ordinances the council wants enforced, Minto Mayor Lane Kelley indicated most are the public nuisance type ordinances or those involving zoning issues.
“Ordinances regarding rubbish, animals at large, and those related to planning and zoning are those discussed around this table most often,” Kelley said.
Council member Craig Nice indicated he had received questions regarding the municipal court dealing with traffic violations.
“We won’t be bringing traffic violations to the municipal court,” he said.
Wild explained that traffic violations are already enforced by the sheriff’s department under North Dakota Century Code and are brought to the district court. Under the current policing contract with the city, the sheriff’s department will serve summons and citations to city residents. They will also discuss issues such as nuisance dogs with city residents, but can’t act on any city ordinances without a municipal court in place.
The city council asked that their contract be amended to include enforcement of municipal ordinances through the municipal court. Council member Jim Lobsinger moved and council member Larry Jamieson seconded a motion to accept the amended contract for sheriff’s department policing. The motion passed on a unanimous vote. Council members Lobsinger, Jamieson, Nice and Keith Shutt were in attendance.
Kelley presented the current city ordinance documents and proposed the city council use a template for updating and organizing city ordinances provided by the League of Cities. After a discussion on how the council should proceed with updating the ordinances, Nice moved and Lobsinger seconded a motion to postpone the municipal court until the ordinance books are updated using the League of Cities template. The vote was unanimous.
Mayor Kelley will get copies of the ordinance template to all council members. The council will have two weeks to get familiar with the template and a special meeting will be called to begin the updates. Once the updates are complete, they will be presented as one document for first and second readings in front of the council.
In other ordinance business, the council reviewed the city’s ordinance regarding dogs at large and discussed their options. In a motion from Nice and a second from Shutt, the council voted unanimously to take animals at large to the Park River Veterinary Clinic. In accordance with the city ordinance, the animal will be put down in six days if not retrieved by the owner. The owner will be responsible for any fees accrued. Once the court is in place, owners will also be held responsible for any fines.
Public Works Director Sam Shutt presented information regarding the purchase options for a new street sweeper. Nice moved and Lobsinger seconded a motion to purchase a new street sweeper on the 10 year lease plan. The motion passed on a unanimous vote.
A tax sale parcel available from the county was discussed. The parcel available would have to be surveyed, as the description provided by the county is unclear. A motion to not survey the parcel died for lack of a second. No other motions were made.
City employees will receive a $250 Christmas bonus on a motion from Lobsinger, seconded by Jamieson and approved by a unanimous vote.
After months of waiting for dead tree removal, it was decided to cancel the pending contract and to seek out another tree service contractor. A motion from Nice, seconded by Jamieson, was approved on a unanimous vote.
The council heard from Lee Sobolik regarding the cleaning of a ditch that is supposed to carry overflow from the city lagoon to the Harriet Drain. The ditch is plugged and water flows onto adjacent farmland. After a discussion regarding the history of the ditch, the council decided to clean the ditch next spring. Lobsinger moved and Shutt seconded the motion that passed on a unanimous vote.
In other action, the council approved special liquor permits for events to be held at the Community Center and heard from Shannon Brazil regarding an idea to add signage regarding the Guiness World Record to the current city signage. Council members thanked Brazil for her work and asked her to continue researching signage ideas. Council member Jamieson will ask the contractor who built the current signs for ideas and the council will discuss this again in the spring.