Council revisits library, softball association items

MARSHALL – A pair of past items of business came back before the Marshall City Council on Tuesday night. Council members considered decisions that would affect the Marshall-Lyon County Library in one item and beer sales at Marshall softball events in another.

A question of whether to provide the library with additional funds to help implement new staff pay standards came back to the council at its regular meeting. Previously, the council had voted to contribute two-thirds of the needed funds if Lyon County contributed the remaining third. The Lyon County Board, however, said no to the proposal last week.

About $29,000 is needed to implement pay increases for library staff, in compliance with scales set by a city compensation study completed in January. The study found that some full-time library staff have taken on increased work responsibilities, while other staff members are being paid below the study’s new recommended level.

Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig said council members should consider what to do next. The library will still need to implement the pay increases, but the city doesn’t necessarily have to provide the money for it.

The library uses city standards for determining employee pay, Martig said, but it is administrated separately from the city. The library board would make the ultimate decisions as to how to fund the new pay increases.

Council members said they weren’t keen on paying two-thirds of the additional funding without the county’s participation.

Council member Jennie Hulsizer said the library currently has about $322,000 in reserves and $51,000 in undesignated funds.

“Are you suggesting the entire amount come from reserves?” asked Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes.

“I think it’s up to (the library board),” Hulsizer said. However, she said it could be possible for the library to use reserves for the pay raises this year and take the increase into consideration for its 2014 budget cycle and funding requests. “I don’t think we would leave them in a hard place.”

Council member John DeCramer said even if the library used reserve funds, some of that money would have originally come from the city. He was “leaning toward taking no action at this point,” he said.

Council consensus was not to take action on the matter.

Later in the meeting, the council re-examined an issue it had tabled earlier this spring. Council member Glenn Bayerkohler had requested more information on the Marshall Softball Association, after the organization had applied for a temporary license to sell 3.2 percent malt liquor. Bayerkohler questioned whether the association was an official non-profit organization and whether that would affect whether the city could issue the license.

Marshall City Attorney Dennis Simpson said Bayerkohler’s concerns turned out to be correct. In order to be granted a liquor license, the Marshall Softball Association has to be a registered non-profit. The association can become registered, but the process will take time.

City Clerk Tom Meulebroeck said the Marshall Softball Association withdrew its application for the beer license. In the meantime, he said the Marshall Baseball Association, which is a registered non-profit, agreed to take on the responsibilities for two beer vending licenses. One would be for Legion Field over the summer, and one would be for the softball complex during the summer.

“Are you fairly comfortable with having more than one site?” Bayerkohler asked.

Simpson replied that he had no problems with the requests, as both licenses were for specific times and places only.

The council voted unanimously to pass the Legion Field license and 6-1 in favor of the softball complex license. Council member Mike Boedigheimer cast the vote against.

In other business Tuesday, council members voted to put a temporary moratorium on fees to apply for parking variances for certain kinds of businesses. Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson said the fee moratorium would be in effect while city staff work on alternatives to Marshall’s current requirements for number of parking spaces, which local business owners have criticized as excessive.

Olson said city staff members also disagree with the current codes.

“It just seems to be overkill,” he said.

Working out new code requirements would take some time, Olson said. In the meantime, fees won’t be required for parking variance applications for manufacturing, motor vehicle sales and self-storage businesses. Those three areas of business seem like they have been hardest hit by current parking requirements, he said.