Council proceeds with legal action

The North Branch city council formally approved taking legal action to prevent the disconnection of the fire department from the ARMER radio system by Chisago County, but not before a last-ditch request to the county.

After holding a closed meeting in the middle of the regular city council meeting on Tuesday, June 25, the council unanimously approved a motion that first instructs the city attorney to send a draft of the temporary restraining order to the county with the request that they voluntarily give an “indefinite extension of time” for the city to use the ARMER system or make “some amendment acceptable to the council” during their July 3 county commissioners meeting.

“If (that request is not met), the city attorney will then be authorized to file the summons and complaint and related motion documents and schedule and attend a motion hearing as soon as possible,” city administrator Renae Fry said in summarizing the closed meeting.

The motion was approved unanimously.

City gets clean audit

During the city’s annual financial audit presentation, the city received some positive news regarding its current status.

According to Miranda Wendlandt, of Clifton Larson Allen, the city received a “clean opinion” for 2018. 

“That’s the highest level of assurance an audit can provide,” she said.

Wendlandt explained that the auditors don’t look at every transaction made by the city, just “accounts that have significant balances and accounts that have significant class of transactions or a significant number of transactions running through the account.”

She went on to give a summary of the general results of the city’s revenues and expenditures, which yielded the most positive news. For the year 2018, North Branch was able to increase its revenues by $413,000, while at the same time decreased their expenditures by approximately $710,000.

The reason for these positive changes was an increase in license and permits made to the city, along with a reduction in the interest payments made for the year “as the city continues to pay down their debt,” Wendlandt said.

Blomquist resigns from Water and Light

Following a second closed meeting, the council approved the resignation of council member Kathy Blomquist from her position as the council representative to the three-person North Branch Water & Light Commission. The council then approved naming council member Kelly Neider to fill the open seat.

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