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'Department Updates'

Jan 09

Council Highlights - January 8, 2024

Posted to Monticello City Council Highlights on January 9, 2024 at 1:48 PM by Haley Foster

Moment of Silence 

Mayor Lloyd Hilgart asked for a moment of silence for three pillars of the Monticello community: Dr. Phil White, Roger Pribyl, and Dan Mielke; all of whom passed away in December.

“[They were] three very significant members of our community, it’s a big loss. They gave [so much] to the community, they’re going to be missed,” said Mayor Hilgart.

Annual update from the City Clerk

The City Clerk manages the City Code, provides City Council support, oversees animal control, permits and licensing, data requests, records retention and maintenance, reception and the front desk, and elections management. Highlights from 2023 include:

  • Converted over 1,397,324 pages, 142,280 documents, and 17,410 folders were converted from paper documents into digital format when they were scanned into the City’s digital archiving system, Laserfiche.
  • Issued 71 various licenses (for example liquor or massage licenses), compared to 63 in 2022; and 129 permits (such as special event permits, food trucks, or ATVs) versus 127 in 2022.
  • Completed 51 data requests compared to 27 in 2022.

2024 Election Administration

As part of her update, the City Clerk noted the 3 upcoming elections in 2024. The first is MN’s Presidential Nomination Primary Election on Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

Early voting for the Presidential Nomination Presidential Nomination Primary election begins January 19, 2024.

Only presidential candidates from major parties will be listed and each party will have its own separate ballot. There are three major parties: Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Legal Marijuana Now Party, and the Republican Party of Minnesota.

  • City of Monticello residents can vote at their polling place on presidential primary day or vote early at City Hall.
  • A voter can also request a ballot be mailed to them.
  • Voters must request the ballot of the party of their choice.
  • If a voter refuses to select a party, they will not be able to vote in the presidential nomination primary.

A voter’s choice of party ballot will be recorded and is private data. The information will not be part of the voter’s registration record but will be part of their voting history and provided to the chair of each major political party. How a voter voted on a ballot is secret.

Precinct caucuses and local and state nominating conventions will still take place to conduct other party business.

Upcoming Election Dates:

  • January 19 – Early Voting Begins for the Presidential Nomination Primary Election
  • March 5 – Presidential Nomination Primary Election Day
  • June 28 - Early Voting Begins for the Primary Election
  • July 30-August 13 – Candidate Filing Period for elected officials: City Council (2) & the Mayor.
    1. There are two City Council seats and the Mayor seat on the general election ballot. The term for City Council is four years, the term for Mayor is two years.
  • August 13 – Primary Election Day
  • September 20 - Early Voting Begins for the General Election
  • November 5 – General Election Day

You can view the City Clerk’s full presentation on the City’s website in the Agenda Center or watch the recording online

Council accepted a $48,000 grant from Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for the City’s Comprehensive Safety Action Plan

In January 2023, we were awarded $200,000 in federal funding to complete a Safe Streets 4 All (SS4A) Comprehensive Safety Action Plan. The grant required a 20% local match, or $50,000.

In October, staff applied for MNDOT’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) Match Program which provides matching funds to grant recipients of federal funds for transportation projects. The City of Monticello was awarded a total of $48,000 in IIJA funding to use for the City’s local match requirement for the SS4A Action Plan Grant project. The remaining $2,000 of the required local match will come from the City.

The goal of the Comprehensive Safety Action Plan is to help identify improvements to increase transportation safety, eliminating serious injury, and fatality accidents in Monticello. 

Once complete, the plan will provide a framework of strategies and actions to reduce fatal and serious crashes for all roadway users.

2024 City Council Appointments

Each year, the Mayor assigns council members to represent the Council on various boards and commissions. They act as liaisons to the committees, participate in discussions, and bring information back to share with the rest of the City Council. 

Each committee/commission has one councilmember (two for the EDA and the MOAA) at their board attending meetings.

Jan 09

Council Highlights - November 27, 2023

Posted to Monticello City Council Highlights on January 9, 2024 at 1:47 PM by Haley Foster

Annual update from the Monticello Public Library

Council received an update from Library Services Coordinator, Marla Scherber. Some highlights from 2023 include:

  • Over 116,100 items checked out in 2023 so far (January-October).
  • The library hosted 76 programs attended by 971 individuals.
    • Partnerships with the schools, Senior Center, and the Community Center.
  • The summer & winter reading programs had over 980 participants
  • The library has monthly therapy dog visits from Willow and Desi.
  • The continuation of institutional delivery to seniors who live in CentraCare’s Monticello Care Center and the St. Benedict’s Community

You can view the full presentation on the City’s website in the Agenda Center or watch the recording online

Council accepted two donations from local businesses

The City received a $1,000 donation from Mindful Gardens owner Marilee Giron for MontiArts’ newest creation: a meditation tree sculpture in the Mindful Gardens lobby area. Giron says she has been interested in the activities of MontiArts and the community-building efforts downtown. After witnessing our artists’ work in the DMV lobby, she approached MontiArts to create a piece of art out of a similar post in her business’ lobby.

The City also received a $1,500 donation from Liberty Bank for the Visit with Santa at Bertram event on Saturday, December 2. The donation will cover the costs of Santa and the professional photographer.

Council approved the 2024 Monticello Fire Department Officer Appointments

The Monticello Fire Department has six officer positions that provide leadership within the department: the Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, and four Captains. The following elected officers were appointed to serve:

  • Mike Mossey, Fire Chief
  • Dustin Craig, Assistant Fire Chief
  • Scott Gearey, Captain 1
  • Josh Samelson, Captain 2
  • Kurt Liefert, Captain 3
  • Dennis Joerg, Captain 4

 Mayor Hilgart congratulated the new officers and noted how fortunate our community is to have volunteers willing to serve Monticello.

 “I just wanted to say thanks to all the volunteers in the department that put in the time to keep us safe and deal with tragedies and accidents that occur. We’re very fortunate to have the department we have, not all communities are [as fortunate].”

Council set two additional Public Hearings during the regular Council meeting at 6:30 p.m. on December 11, 2023

  • Council accepted the Feasibility Report and set a public hearing for December 11, 2023, for the 7th Street Retaining Wall, Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacon, and Sidewalk Improvements Project.
  • Council also accepted the Feasibility Report and set a public hearing for December 11, 2023, for the Broadway Street Roadway and Utility Improvement Project.
  • There is a public hearing to adopt an ordinance for the City’s 2024 fee schedule.
  • There is also a Truth-in-Taxation Public Hearing on December 11, 2023. Residents will have an opportunity to speak about the proposed tax levy and voice their opinions to City Council. Following the public hearing, the City Council will adopt the final 2024 property tax levy and 2024 budget.

You can learn more about the proposed projects in the Council’s November 27 Agenda. To learn more about the proposed 2024 levy, check out this blog post. Additional information about all four public hearings will be available in the December 11 Council Agenda. Agendas are posted the Thursday before (Dec. 8, 2023) meeting dates to give Council and the public time to review.

Council approved a grant application submission

City Council approved the submission of an application for a Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) grant on behalf of the City. The LRIP grant is solicited by MNDOT and is designed to assist local governments in completing a variety of local road improvement projects. The proposed grant application would facilitate the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of CSAH 39 and Chelsea Road.

 You can learn more about the grant and the proposed project in the Council’s Agenda.

 Council adopted Ordinance 817, amending Chapter 70 to include updates to the 2023-2024 Snowplowing and Ice Removal Policy

There is NO PARKING allowed on city streets from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. November 15, 2023 through April 1, 2024.

The overnight parking restriction allows crews to perform snowplow operations efficiently and effectively throughout the winter. In 2022 the City opted to limit on-street parking only during declared snow events but found the consistent nightly restriction was more effective at keeping public streets free of parked cars during snowfalls.

The city will continue to declare snow events as needed outside of the November 15 or April 1 timeline, or if large accumulation requires parking restrictions outside of the standard 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. window. The snow event alerts will include the time frame for no on-street parking, and the news will be communicated in a variety of ways, including the City’s website, opt-in text or email alerts, social media, and local news outlets.

Council gave the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) Municipal Consent for their upcoming I-94 Gap Project

The proposed project would last two and a half years, or 3 construction seasons and includes:

  • Expanding I-94 to three lanes in each direction from Monticello to Albertville with an additional auxiliary lane westbound I-94 between the on ramp for County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 18, Fenning Avenue, and Trunk Highway (TH) 25.
  • Noise walls are proposed to be installed along the north side of I-94 just south of the intersection of Haug Avenue and 90th Street west to the Broadway Avenue underpass. Noise walls are also proposed along the south side of I- 94 starting at Freeway Fields to west to the CSAH 18, Fenning Avenue on-ramp.
  • ADA improvements within the I-94 right-of-way for Broadway Avenue and Fenning Avenue and 7th Street as well as Chelsea Avenue are also included as part of this project.

You can learn more about MNDOT’s proposed project in the Council’s November 27 Agenda, or on MNDOT’s project page.

Jan 24

City Council Highlights - January 9, 2023

Posted to Monticello City Council Highlights on January 24, 2023 at 4:39 PM by Haley Foster

City Council Highlights – January 9, 2023

Monticello, meet your City Council! Mayor Lloyd Hilgart (center), L to R - Councilmembers Charlotte Gabler, Sam Murdoff, Lee Martie, and Tracy Hinz.Full Council 2023

The Oath of Office was administered at first City Council meeting of the year on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023.

  • Mayor Lloyd Hilgart will serve another 2-year term (term expires 12/31/2024).
  • Councilmember Charlotte Gabler will serve another 4-year term (term expires 12/31/2026).
  • Councilmember Tracy Hinz will serve a 4-year term (term expires 12/31/2026).
  • Councilmember Lee Martie was sworn in on Nov. 28, 2022 to fill the seat vacated by Councilmember Jim Davidson. He will serve the remainder of Jim Davidson’s 4-year term (term expires 12/31/2024).
  • Councilmember Sam Murdoff is currently serving his 4-year term (term expires 12/31/2024).

Join us in welcoming them to the Monticello City Council!

Understanding Radon

Wright County Public Health gave an update on Radon. Radon is a colorless and odorless gas found in the soil and common throughout Minnesota. Because soil is porous, radon moves up from the soil and into the home. The gas can accumulate in the air we breathe becoming a health concern. Exposure to radon over a long period of time can lead to lung cancer. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and two in five Minnesota homes have high radon levels. 

The MN Department of Health recommends all Minnesotans test their home for radon. You can test your home yourself. Start with a short-term test. Your local health department or government agency may offer test kits at reduced prices. You can also order a short-term radon test kit at mn.radon.com.

Radon GraphicIf the radon is high, hire a licensed radon professional to install a radon mitigation system. Licensed radon professionals are on MDH’s website at mn.gov/radonpro.

You can find more information on radon, including ordering a radon test kit and how to understand your radon test result, at mn.gov/radon.


DMV Annual Update

 Manager Carolyn Granger gave an annual update for the Monticello DMV. Some highlights included the staff’s dedication to serving customers efficiently and well. Granger noted, “DMV is a connection between the customers and the state of Minnesota, there are things we can do in a matter of minutes that would take customers significantly longer.”

Granger also wanted to remind residents that by renewing their registration locally, it puts money back into their community, whereas if you do it online, the state gets their filing fee.

The Monticello DMV offers a variety of services ranging from hunting and fishing licenses, vehicle registration renewals, special plates, and for just $3, they offer a notary service, which has been an increasingly popular service.

The Monticello DMV is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. And Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

 Hi-Way Liquors Annual Update

 Manager Randall Johnsen gave the annual update for Hi-Way Liquors. As the City’s municipal liquor store, Johnsen highlighted that they, “pour all their profits back into the community.” Just last year, they gave one million dollars to the City of Monticello for various projects and improvements throughout our community.

 Hi-Way Liquors had another successful year. According to the Minnesota Office of the State Auditor’s 2021 Report on municipal liquor sales, Monticello ranked 15th in total sales out of all 177 municipal liquor stores in the State of Minnesota. They were also 3rd in off-sale single location municipalities, and 33rd out of 177 in their overall net profit.

 If you stop by Hi-Way Liquors, you may see some new faces this year. The department now has seven full-time staff members and 13 part-time. Johnsen noted they unexpectedly had to add some new staff members this year for better coverage during the store’s hours of service. Johnsen noted the addition has been immensely helpful in keeping the doors open to serve customers during regular operating hours.

 Hi-Way Liquors is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.