Royalton City Council discusses Fire Hall ownership

by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer


The ownership of the Royalton Fire Hall was once again a topic of discussion at the City Council meeting Tuesday.

Bellevue Township paid $4,058 annually for 12 years starting in 1996, and asked late last year to have their ownership in the hall considered.

The Council is exploring whether Bellevue Township and the city could possibly be listed as co-owners and what steps would need to be taken to make that official.

“We could share ownership, but I don’t know how to come up with a formula for how to do that,” said Council Member Al Libke. “I’m open that we continue the discussion.”

“We could ask Bellevue Township to come up with a viable figure,” said Council Member Ed Zimny.

Neither the city nor the township have a contract regarding the arrangement.

“Why wouldn’t the city want to own their own fire department?” asked Planning and Zoning supervisor Tim Majaski. “Why doesn’t the city buy them out; that would end the whole controversy.”

The topic was tabled pending the receipt of more information while former fire chiefs and township board members are sought for their input.

“We will have a conversation with our attorney,” said Mayor Andrea Lauer. “We want to make sure we’re covering all of our bases before we make a decision.”


Other business that came before the Royalton City Council Tuesday included:

• Approving the annual review and pay increase of $.33 per hour for Police Officer Tom Franklin;

• Approving the addition of a safety officer/assistant training officer to the Fire and Rescue Department;

• Approving the recommendation made by Karen Dubbin of the Rescue Department to add four people to the roster: Kimberly Cogswell, Damian Lenarz, Michelle Stevens and Ted VanHove;

• Approving the expenditure of $500 per member for the new members to receive training. Central Minnesota Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Region offers a reimbursement of $170 each if the class is completed by May;

• Listening to a presentation by freshman Autumn Lanners regarding a proposed used oil recycling station in the high school’s student parking lot;

• Approving the annual Arbor Day proclamation, supporting Royalton’s Tree City USA status by supporting the community’s forestry program;

• Approving the payment of a $10 donation to the Arbor Day Foundation;

• Approving Police Chief Adam Gunderson’s participation in the state’s police chief association conference. Gunderson will receive education credits for his attendance;

• Approving the renewal of the fire contract between the city of Royalton and Langola Township for a stand-by fee of $6,660.91, a truck and equipment fund fee of $1,500 and the payment of 10 percent of expenses for the emergency vehicles;

• Approving the annual audit as presented by Jackie Knowles of Kern, Dewenter, Viere LTD of St. Cloud. The city was given an unqualified opinion, “the best you can get,” said Knowles. “It is consistent with prior years, with recommendations common to small- and mid-size cities. It was a great, clean audit by the staff, which we really appreciate;”

• Approving a $250 budgeted donation to the Morrison County Fair;

• Approving up to three city leaders to attend a Safety and Loss Control Workshop sponsored by the League of Minnesota Cities April 23;

• Adopting a resolution designating February as Teen Dating and Violence Prevention and Awareness Month;

• Approving an exempt gambling permit for Holy Trinity church for a raffle May 1;

• Approving a permit for the Royals Wrestling Club fundraiser Friday, Aug. 2 at the 10-Spot Bar and Lounge, which will include a raffle, paddlewheels, pull-tabs and tripboards;

• Approving a resolution accepting the 74 donations made to date, totalling $77,041.59, toward the Splash Park project;

• Calling for a public hearing on the proposed alternative energy ordinance Tuesday, April 2, at 7:15 p.m. Following that will be a public hearing on the proposed noise ordinance April 2, at 7:30 p.m.;

• Tabling discussion on changes to the subdivision ordinance originally approved in 1980; and

 • Hearing that a plan has been approved by both the city council and the Smieja family for the city to purchase 1.62 acres of land in the 700 block of North Birch Street for a new city well. “We’re taking care of the survey and then all we need to do is get a clean title and pay them,” said Council Member Ron Verley.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Royalton City Council will be Tuesday, April 2 at 7 p.m. at the City Complex.