The Jenkins City Council approved a contract of shared services agreement with Sourcewell, effectively hiring the Staples organization for planning and zoning services on an as-needed basis, according to unapproved draft minutes from the council's Monday, June 14, meeting.

This contract differs from past contracts where the city paid a yearly contract price. Now the city will only pay for requested services with a potential for a savings over past years. Many of the requested services for preparing conditional use permits and variances will be paid for by residents requesting those rather than the city itself.

The city will still be responsible for any services it requests specifically due to lack of having formally trained planning and zoning staff.

During the May meeting, council member Andrew Rudlang noted that contracting with Sourcewell has saved the city significantly when compared to paying a dedicated staff for the same services. The decision on the contract was tabled at that time over concerns by council members Donna Stricker and Kim Bachmann that Sourcewell might not be making decisions that were in the best interest of the city in regard to zoning issues.

During the June meeting, Stricker asked for clarification on the scope of work Sourcewell provides for the city. Resident Steve Stricker asked if Sourcewell was only involved in community development when requested by the city. Council member Charles Hoffman asked if there was a city protocol for requesting the organization's services.

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The detailed discussions surrounding the decision were not listed in the draft minutes.

Mayor Jon Lubke said the city has not had past negative experiences with Sourcewell. Rudlang, who is a planning commissioner, said he never felt a lack of control when dealing with Sourcewell. The council voted 3-2 in favor of contracting with Sourcewell with Stricker and Bachmann opposed.

In other business June 14, the council:

  • Agreed to update the Jenkins COVID-19 preparedness plan.
  • Approved a plan for use of city hall.
  • Agreed to seek tree removal bids for a large dead tree near the picnic pavilion at Veterans Park.
  • Received a clean audit report from Jon Roscoe with Miller McDonald.
  • Renewed the city's membership in Minnesota Rural Waters and Minnesota Association of Small Cities.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.