Additional space necessary for new employees, construction could take place in the spring
By Barbie Porter
The Frazee City Hall may have an addition come spring.
During its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Nov. 15, options to accommodate the newest member of the city crew with a work space was discussed. The council agreed the best option, if financially feasible, would be to add onto the office space where City Administrator Jordin Roberts and Deputy Clerk Nancy Kiehl work.
The council had discussed other options, including building an office for the police department in one of the garage stalls with the intent of adding another garage stall in the future. Then, the current police office would be used by the public relations office staff member, Andrea Froeber.
The council also briefly broached the idea of utilizing one of the two offices currently used by the Frazee Fire Department in the fire hall (which is attached to the city hall). At the council meeting, the idea was discussed further. The thought was to knock out the wall separating the two, add the office currently used by the fire chief and assist the fire chief to city hall and move the fire chief to the office across the hall.
Councilwoman Nicole Strand said she felt utilizing the fire hall office was the most fiscally responsible, and would not disrupt the police office. She added the council could budget any necessary needs the fire department would have to outfit the other office space for them.
Councilman Mark Kemper asked the fire department representative attending the meeting, Nathan Matejka, if there was opposition to moving the chief to the other office.
Matejka said the other office is smaller and a lot of work would need to be done. He added the current space is well organized and suits their needs.
Councilman Mark Flemmer said he liked the idea of putting in an addition next to where the current city administrator’s office is located. He noted the addition wouldn’t disrupt either the fire or police departments.
Kemper questioned if the cost justified the addition. While bids have yet to be collected, Kemper said he wouldn’t be surprised if the addition cost more than $100,000.
“I can’t see that for adding space,” he said, noting the money belongs to the taxpayers and questioned if there wasn’t a better way to spend those funds to benefit the taxpayers.
It was noted the expenditure would have funds appropriated to the city by the state, which the state received from the federal government to help weather the financial storm that COVID-19 caused to cities, its businesses and residents.
Frazee City Administrator Jordin Roberts stated the city of Frazee is set to receive $146,000 in COVID-19 relief funds and the city has until 2024 to spend it. The funds do come with restrictions as to what it can be spent on, and a list of items where the funds could be used was requested.
According to the U.S. Department of Treasury page titled “Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds,” local governments will receive funds in two tranches, with 50 percent provided in May 2021 and the balance delivered approximately 12 months later.
The website stated the funds could be used to:
• Support public health expenditures, by, for example, funding COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral healthcare, and certain public health and safety staff.
• Address negative economic impacts caused by the public health emergency, including economic harms to workers, households, small businesses, impacted industries, and the public sector.
• Replace lost public sector revenue, using this funding to provide government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue experienced due to the pandemic.
• Provide premium pay for essential workers, offering additional support to those who have and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical infrastructure sectors.
• Invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, making necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, support vital wastewater and storm water infrastructure, and to expand access to broadband internet.
“Within these overall categories, recipients have broad flexibility to decide how best to use this funding to meet the needs of their communities,” the website states.
It should be noted these limitations were on the federal website, and the state may have additional explanations on how the funds can be spent.
The council approved a motion to build an addition on the west side of city hall, as long as the expense does not exceed the COVID-19 funds the city receives.
Kemper was the only councilman to oppose the motion.
Roberts said she would begin the process of obtaining bids for the addition.