UPDATE: RESPONSE FROM CITY CLERK DEB LITTE on the question of City emails being public record:
Government Data Practices Chapter 13 governs all City data. The specific section related to your question is as follows:
Section 13.601 Subd. 2. Correspondence. Correspondence between individuals and elected officials is private data on individuals, but may be made public by either the sender or the recipient.
In addition, there are a variety of other types of data that they may be within the correspondence that would make all or a portion of it classified as confidential, private, nonpublic, or protected nonpublic. A few examples might be property complaints, investigative data, data related to a civil legal action or pending civil legal action, etc.
The Northfield City Council postponed a vote on their Rules of Business until March 21st. The sticking point is Public Comment. Councilor Zweifel said, “I favor trying having just an open comment section for all comments and people would know when to show up and all the comments would come at once”. Council is contemplating only allowing those who fill out a registration card by 6pm to get to comment on regular agenda items saying that this would make the meetings more efficient and would not lend them to reactive comment. Councilor Peterson White agreed with a single comment period at the beginning. She added that, to her, the guiding principle of their meetings comes from the League of Cities, “which reminds us that the purpose of our meeting
here is to do the people’s business and the primary purpose of our meeting is not, in fact, to take public comment”. She said it wasn’t a waste of time to listen to the public, and that all of them are available outside of the meetings. She said allowing public comment at each agenda item is what she would call an “infringement on the democratic form”. The Council should listen to their constituents but not at the public meetings because, “I think we are allowing voices which are not duly elected to frame those conversations and I think that’s a problem for democracy”. Additionally she said, “if the comments throughout the meeting are primarily used by individuals who have the privilege and resources to come and spend an evening here on a Tuesday night, unfettered by responsibilities, for instance, childcare or eldercare or a 2nd or 3rd shift job, then we are effectively privileging a very narrow set of voices in our community because we are giving them a microphone”. Those who attend the meetings would not view it in that light but rather as concerned citizens/Council watchdogs. The public is allowed 2 minutes to comment, rarely have I witnessed inefficiency due to public comment. In fact, more often than not, it’s trying to reword documents from the dais as they did this week. Councilor Ness was opposed to any limiting of comment. Mayor Pownell mentioned that they often get comment from the public through email, phone calls and in person, however that is NOT public record. I’ve asked for clarification as to whether their City email address correspondence is public record. If you have an opinion on this item, let us know by emailing NEWS@kymnradio.net and contact the Mayor and Councilors. Their phone numbers and emails are on the City’s website. Listen below to hear the quotes. I’ve attached council material: Rules of Business 2017 Proposed v2 after work session Rules of Decorum Appendix B Rules of Order Appendix A
Nfld woman faces 5 charges after hitting a stop sign
A Northfield woman is in jail after crashing her car and knocking down a stop sign on Jefferson Pkwy Monday night. According to the criminal complaint, 18 year old Tori Lauseng told officers that she must’ve fell asleep when she hit the sign. The officer saw a half empty bottle of vodka on the front passenger side floor board. A breath test at the scene showed an alcohol level at twice the legal limit. Lauseng also had marijuana wax. She’s charged with 5th degree possession of drugs, dwi, open bottle, underage drinking and no proof of insurance. A court appearance is scheduled for March 21st. Lauseng complaint
Community garden plots will be offered
The City of Northfield will be finalizing the Fargaze Meadows Community Gardens at the Park Board meeting next week. The plan is to have the rental agreement and application on the City Website Friday, March 17. Streets and Parks Manager Tim Behrendt, said residents will submit an application to his Department to reserve a plot. The garden plots will be on a first come first serve basis. There will be ten 10’X10’ and thirty-three 10’X20’ garden plots this year. The plan is to see how this year goes and possibly add more garden plots next year. The gardens will be ready for planting on April 28.