Northfield Council’s Rules of Business have had a makeover and one of those areas was Disorderly Conduct. City Attorney Chris Hood kicked off the discussion first by stating that the Supreme Court, last September, invalidated a portion of the State Statute regarding conduct at meetings such as Council, Boards and Commissions. He and colleagues worked on language for a new ordinance that would meet the goals of Council and the State to put in City Code an “enforcement mechanism” when/if there is a person that is “intentionally seeking to engage in conduct
that will interfere with the orderly function of a meeting”. This provides for an opportunity to remove the person IF they don’t stop. Hood said it sets up a 3 prong process starting with a warning from the Presiding Officer, a warning and directive from the Officer for the person to leave the meeting and then, if the conduct continues, the Officer could direct Law Enforcement to remove the person. At that point it’s up the Police if they choose to cite the person. This pertains to conduct, not speech. This item had been on the Consent agenda but was moved so that it could be discussed in the public arena. There are few cities that have dealt with this ordinance which is why Hood framed the ordinance much as the Supreme Court. The Councils Rules of Business were tweaked in relation process of removing items on the Consent agenda, supplemental memos regarding meetings and more. One item for the public is that questions at the open mic will not be responded to right away as staff need adequate time and the supplemental memos will be posted on their website. Disorderly Conduct ordinance amendment 1- Rules of Business with Appendices Draft 01 17 2019
Crowd calls for overpass at Hwy 52 and 8 Interchange
MnDOT officials met last week with farmers, commercial truck drivers and others who have to cross Highway 52 in the southern section between Cannon Falls and Zumbrota to gather input as they plan improvements. According to the Kenyon Leader, about 70 attended the meeting at Urland Church in Cannon Falls. Project Manager Jai Kalsy got an earful from representatives of farms, ag support businesses, townships, cities, school districts, busing companies, trucking companies and more. Much of the commentary focused on the Hader interchange where County Road 8 crosses Highway 52. Bruce Johnson of Hader Farms is a large-scale crop farmer with a fleet of trucks and farm equipment just south of Hader on Highway 57. He said they cross that intersection with trucks, trailers, combines, etc. at least 250 times in the fall. It is a constant challenge to get equipment across. The vast majority of the group was asking for an overpass at that intersection. Kalsy said MnDOT is considering several options for the Hader intersection, taking into account both safety and cost. A Reduced Conflict Intersection, also called a J-turn, would be the lower-cost option at $3 million compared to $8.8 million for an overpass. A J-turn only allows right hand turns. That option was not welcome by the crowd. The project includes replacement of the Highway 60 bridge over 52 in Zumbrota. The planning and designing is expected through this winter with construction scheduled to begin in 2021.
Charter gets new member
James Pritchard will be joining the Northfield Charter Commission for tonight’s monthly meeting. He was appointed by Judge Williamson last month after Greg Colby was removed by the Judge in November for multiple unexcused absences. Current members include Lance Heisler, David Ludescher, Scott Oney, Judith Schotzko, Peter Swift and Jon Denison.